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Norwich Bulletin - 11/26/2006

A Thanksgiving For Mac

Everyone reflects on the things they are thankful for at Thanksgiving. At my own table, my family remembered the wonderful cats who left us this past year and offered thanks that we were allowed to know them, whether it was for 16 years or 6 months. And, of course, we are thankful for our good health, our children, and all our furry friends who are also in good health.

There was another family full of thanks this past weekend; and that would be the owners of Mac, a seven year old blue point Siamese who was in chronic renal failure. Mac was given as a kitten birthday present from the husband to the wife of his family. From the moment he came into their home, Mac was like their child. And so, they were determined to save him and started to find out how.

Kidney transplants for cats are relatively new. The University of Pennsylvania initiated the program in February of 1998 by Dr. Lillian Aronson, Assistant Professor of Small Animal Surgery. It is not a cure for renal failure, but rather a treatment. Renal transplantation helps to provide a good quality of life in an otherwise healthy cat.

Mac is such a cat. Dr. James Geer of Colchester Veterinary Hospital is Macís primary veterinarian. Because this cat has no underlying diseases and is healthy and strong in every other way, Dr. Geerís conclusion was that Mac was the best candidate for a kidney transplant that he has seen in his 34 years of practicing medicine!

Mac went through a series of tests before he could even be considered as a recipient. Tests included, but were not limited to, complete blood count, his serum chemistry profile, urinalysis, echocardiogram, and toxoplasmosis titer. In fact, there were so many tests that it felt very similar to the battery of tests a human would have to go through for the same type of operation!

Well, Mac passed with flying colors. The next step was the donor. Renal donors are healthy, young adult cats that are free of any underlying disease and is based on blood match compatibility. The University of Pennsylvania requires that the donor cat be adopted by the family of the recipient cat as no cat is ever euthanized for the program!

And so Mac was accepted into the program. Precautions were taken that made the possibility of success higher. And then the operation occurred. The surgery was performed by a specialist veterinarian who is familiar with vascular surgery. At the University of Pennsylvania, the donor and the recipient surgeries are performed simultaneously. From start to finish, the procedure takes approximately four to six hours.

Mac came through the surgery with flying colors. He will now require at least six months of follow up treatments to insure that his new kidney continues to function properly. And after six months he will still need a blood count and serum chemistry panel every three to four months.

Mac is dearly loved by his parents. These are not people with a lot of money. They are everyday people like you and me that were willing to max out their credit cards to save their catís life and worry about paying the bills later. They never thought twice about doing what they needed to do in order to try and keep their pet with them. The pre-care and surgery was approximately $8,000 and Macís follow up care will probably be at least another $2,000. This young married couple do not have the financial means to bear the whole cost.

Family members helped where they could and started the Mac fund, so people who wanted to help pay the medical bills, could do so with a donation. All donations can be sent to Margaret Ormond, 114 Bultertown Road, Waterford, Connecticut 06385. There is no donation that is too small and all will be appreciated.

Mac is doing well at this writing. He has no idea what a lucky cat he is to have ended up with the owners he has. Helping Paws wishes Mac a long and healthy life!

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