Meet Buttercup, a young domestic long hair cat, adopted from a Rescue in Kentucky. Her story is a sad one, but her pet parents are fighting for her to regain her health and live a fantastically spoiled long life. (Updates are added to the end of this page)
On an early morning in December 2014, I opened my email as usual and there was an email from AdoptAPet. (If anyone isn’t familiar with adoptapet.com, it is similar to petfinder.com ,but you can subscribe to specific cats or descriptions and when one matches your request it will be emailed to you.) On this particular morning… there was a picture of this young, sweet, dilute calico in the email . (Personal reasons I was looking for a dilute calico will be shared at another time, another page. This page is for Buttercup)
With tears flowing down my cheeks, I immediately emailed the rescue. They rescue pets out of high kill shelters in Kentucky and bring them to Maryland for adoptions. Buttercup wasn’t in one of those shelters, but the rescue was asked to help find her a good home. Buttercup’s story starts on the streets with her sister. A poor elderly woman saw these kittens hanging around her porch. She had an indoor cat. She would share her cat’s food with these kittens outside. She contacted the rescue since she didn’t have money for food for everyone, and the rescue contacted a foster mom to take the kittens until a good home could be found. The kittens were spayed and cared for at the foster mom’s home. This is how Buttercup and her sister ended up on adoptapet.
We filled out the pre-approval forms and emailed them in. Phone calls and interviews were done and we were placed #1 to visit and have first chance at adopting her if she is a match during the meet and greet. We drove 2 1/2 hours to the meet and greet. Of course we fell in love with her immediately and brought her home! Poor little girl had quite a ride that day… from Kentucky to Maryland, and then another 2 1/2 hours to our home, but she traveled very well.
We took her to meet our vet in the next couple days for the required exam. The vet found some health issues, along with lumps in the inguinal area. The first thought was this was something from the spay and she was prescribed antibiotics for 10 days.
The inguinal lumps continued to grow and became the size of small chicken eggs, one abscessed and oozed. Our vets were baffled. They did cultures and biopsies of the lumps. While we were waiting for the results, the vet put her on a different antibiotic as a precaution. Meanwhile, we were asked to see if we could find anything out from the rescue about the environment she was kept in, etc., that may give us a clue where to go with treatment.
My vets never saw this condition before. I made several calls and emailed to any place I could find in Kentucky that might know if there is something specific to that area that could cause this. All the replies I got said they never heard of this either, and weren’t familiar with anything that might be specific to the warmer Kentucky climate that may cause this. The replies I received were disheartening. Vet clinics down there also never heard of this before and didn’t know of anything specific to Kentucky that might cause this.
The culture results came back and showed nothing. We waited an additional week for the biopsies’ results. A diagnosis came back with the results, severe pyogranuloma of the inguinal fat pads. The biopsies did not show what might be causing this. Our vet consulted with an animal dermatologist. He said if this is mycobacterial or nocardia, 70% of the time no stain used in a biopsy will show them and that he usually has to go by presentation of symptoms. With Buttercup’s presentation, he feels this is what it is. Unfortunately there is only a 50% chance of survival because cats with this have to undergo a long duration of antibiotics and most can’t take it, or the lumps keep growing and causes intense pain and oozing, etc. For people who can’t afford the sensitivity test to identify which antibiotic might have the most success ($500 test), he goes right away to Veraflox ($50 a month). He has had cat patients on it for 2 years already. This is a long term condition if she lasts through it, and there is always the danger of her coming out of remission and the bacteria *winning* again if she is one of the surviving 50%.
Now that we had an idea of what this could be, we spent a lot of time researching to see what we could do to bring the odds more in her favor. I will share links of what I’ve found at the end of this page. Please be patient for me to organize them and add them. We are hoping to bring an awareness to this condition and educate on the essential aftercare of spaying/neutering.
I will update this page, below, as we go through her treatment, add pictures and more links.
Updates are posted below.
(Scroll below for links to health information)
Update March 17, 2015: Buttercup is taking her medicine like a champ, she goes back to the vet for a checkup, to measure the lumps and CBC. I will report back on how things are going with her treatment and add some more pictures of my gorgeous little girl. ♥ We are thinking of putting up a facebook page for her. Any thoughts? Good idea, bad idea?
Update April 9, 2015: The last couple days we’ve been finding some tracts scabbing over. So she has been oozing some… BUT, they are scabbing over and not continuing to ooze. That has to be something positive. We will keep on with her treatment and supplements and share what the next vet visit shows.
Update April 26, 2015: Now the details of Buttercup’s vet visit last week. The positive side is the left granuloma is a little bit smaller. Unfortunately the right one grew a little, but only on the bottom. Another positive, is Dr. Rosenberry (vet) said they don’t seem like they are angry anymore, it is as if they aren’t swollen and inflammed like they were. Buttercup’s blood work is still in the normal range, so her long term antibiotic therapy isn’t affecting her WBC or other things. Dr. R. added another antibiotic to take with the current one, so Buttercup is now on 2 antibiotics. 2 or even 3 antibiotics are recommended when dealing with vicious almost-indestructible myco-critters. Now that we see Buttercup can handle long term antibiotic therapy at this point, an additional antibiotic in her arsenal might fight these critters even more. Her next appointment is the end of May.
We came away feeling feeling good.
Update: December 23, 2015: We have been taking Buttercup to her favorite vet for all of these months and we continue to see improvement to the point that there is no lump on the left side anymore! WooHoo! The antibiotic and nutritional therapy are doing something! :-) Now if only the right side would cooperate as much. ;-) It is getting there, but just a little more stubborn than the left. We took down her facebook page. It didn’t bring the traffic we thought it would to get the word out about proper after spay care and the dangers of mycobacteria. Oh well.
Video of proper aftercare of spayed/neutered animals (Please consider the environment the newly altered pets will be in following surgery for at least a week, as well as limiting their activity level. Please keep them in as clean an environment as possible. It is very important, not just hype.)
What is AtypicalMycobacteriosis? (brief snippet) “The rapidly growing mycobacteria consist of a large group of bacteria that are normally present in the environment (soil, vegetation, standing bodies of water). They are introduced into the tissue when there is a break in the skin, most often secondary to a penetrating wound or bite. These infections have also been associated with surgical procedures and even injections. Cats often develop lesions in the inguinal fat pad, and the lesions tend to spread into surrounding tissues.”
Clinical Signs and Diagnosis of Atypical Mycobacteriosis (brief snippet) “In cats with AMP, the lesions are most frequently distributed over the inguinal and ventral abdominal fat pads. The group IV mycobacteria have a predilection for infecting adipose tissues and obese individuals.1,2 It has been suggested that the triglyceride-rich adipose tissue microenvironment serves as a preferential growth medium for rapidly growing mycobacteria7,8 or may protect the organisms from destruction by the host’s immune system.7,8 ”
Treatment, Monitoring, and Prognosis (brief snippet) “As some cases of AMP can be associated with disease that historically waxes and wanes, prolonged therapy is designed to eliminate clinically dormant organisms, and some cats require indefinite maintenance therapy to maintain remission.1,7,11 Bathing with antimicrobial shampoo and using Elizabethan collars and analgesics may improve a cat’s appearance and quality of life, but they do not seem to substantially affect the disease’s clinical course. Do not give affected cats immunosuppressive agents, such as corticosteroids. “
Vitamin A and D Inhibit Growth in Radiometric Culture (brief snippet) “We show that vitamin A, its metabolites Retinyl acetate, Retinoic acid and 13-cis Retinoic acid and vitamin D directly inhibit mycobacterial growth in culture.” (Please remember that what happens in a culture doesn’t always transfer over into living beings, but this does give some hope.)
Domesticated Cats with Active Mycobacteria Infections (brief snippet) “Serum 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations were significantly lower in cats with mycobacteriosis than in healthy cats (P < 0.001).”
Diarrhea in Cats (Cats on antibiotics can develop diarrhea so please plan for this. Make sure you give them probiotics and keep this recipe on hand)Recipe for *Gut Goop*
Mycobacterial Infections(brief snippet) “Other fast-growing opportunistic and species. Soil and water exposure; bite and puncture wounds; immunocompromised host Cutaneous and subcutaneous granulomas, especially inguinal region,ulcers, drainage, with regional spread only Surgical removal, wide excision, variable susceptibility to fluoroquinolones, doxycycline, aminoglycosides, clofazimine, clarithromycin,trimethoprim-sulfonamide”. This is a very large file, and worth downloading to read the entire thing.
Nutrient Acquisition By Mycobacteria (very interesting!!!) Long, detailed explanation how nutrients cross the barriers to feed these myco-critters. If you find it difficult to understand why treatments often fail… this will help you understand the fight we are up against with these well protected organisms. I highly recommend this reading.
Effects of Omega -3 and Omega -6 Fatty Acids on MycobacteriumThis had my hopes up at first, but perhaps if they continue their studies something definite can be determined.
More links and information to follow….
We sincerely thank everyone for their support and following along in Buttercup’s journey to health. Please continue to support and adopt from Rescues. What we are experiencing is not the norm, but it comes up from time to time. We view this experience as something to learn from, to benefit others, bring awareness so someone else doesn’t have to delay treatment because of being unsure what is going on… or worse yet… start a treatment that would be opposite of what should be done.
Thank you for taking the time to read Buttercup’s story.