Sadly Leo has always been a bit unlucky since the early years of his life. He had surgery when he was barely 1 year old due to some issues with his ankles, he had to be intubated for few days even, but, with a lot of love and physiotherapy, he managed to recover quite well from it.
But Leo's misfortune were just at the beginning. Last October we started noticing a change of behaviour in our lovely cat: he stopped playing or purring and after a while he even stopped eating. He was all day sleeping or laying around with a very sad expression on his tiny cute face.
Quite worried about all of that we rushed Leo to the Veterinary who after few blood tests and exams admitted our cat to the hospital. There he went through an x-ray and a CT scan, which showed a mass close to the intestine... You now could imagine our worries, everything was pointing towards cancer, so the doctors decided to do an explorative laparotomy (cut Leo's tiny pink belly open) to have a clear look on what was going on with him. They found a black bleeding mass in the intestine which was sent to the laboratory for examinations.
Days passes with our worries building up hour by hour, till one week later, close to Leo's 3rd birthday, finally we received the long awaited call from the hospital with a final diagnosis: it was not cancer, it was Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
You maybe now think that we were feeling relieved by this news, but it was completely the opposite. FIP is viral disease transmitted by the feline coronavirus, which usually replicate in the intestine of the animal and is considered armless. In 10% of the world cat population though this virus mutates and infect macrophages – one of the important cells of the immune system. The virus spreads throughout the body, and if replication is not contained by a good immune response the cat develop FIP which is lethal for the poor cat. Leo's FIP was the "wet" form: in this case there is accumulation of fluid within the abdominal cavity (resulting in abdominal distension) and/or the chest cavity (resulting in breathing difficulties). The fluid accumulates because infection with the feline coronavirus causes damage to and inflammation of blood vessels (called ‘vasculitis’) which results in fluid leaking from the blood into the abdomen or chest. Cases that develop fluid accumulation in the abdomen are responsible for the original name of this disease, ‘peritonitis’ referring to the inflammation that occurs in the lining of the abdominal cavity.
As I said before this disease is lethal so not much different from a cancer, but in 2019 an experimental treatment was discovered in US. Apparently this treatment has an efficacy of 90%, but being experimental it is very expensive and also not covered by insurance.
Now you can imagine how we felt in that moment: our cat has a fatal disease that could be treatable with a very expensive medication and not being able to afford it. The life of this cute innocent creature was just a matter of pounds. We managed to afford the first part of the treatments with our saving but we need help to take the last part and finish saving Leo life.
Please help us save Leo, he needs you.
- Laura Gallo
- Matteo Cangialosi
- Jacqui Rhodes
Fundraising team (4)
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