While Smokey continues to thrive and enjoy his life as a happy 16 month old kitten, he faces another bump in his challenging young life. The drug trial that saved his life involved him receiving 186 painful injections over a 12 week period. Some of those caused small bumps of scar tissue to form well below his skin in his shoulder area. These calcium bumps can, in a small percentage of cats, turn cancerous over time. Usually they are just monitored and only removed if they start growing. However, given Smokeys history with FIP, his doctors felt the risk of the surgery was less than the risk of complications if he ever had to battle cancer. Because the bumps are deep, his vet decided a specialist surgeon should do the operation. Smokey met with his new doctor on Monday and as of now, his surgery is scheduled for July 17th. If all goes as planned, he will have a 4" incision on his back near his shoulder area and have to stay in the hospital at least one night. They expect a 2 week recovery period.
I feel bad that after all he has gone through, and when he is finally 100% healthy and strong and playful, he now has to go through this surgery. He has remained a loving and stoic cat that never ran away from his shots and always kept on trying to just play. I hope he understands we are seemingly setting him back in order to help his future.
The picture below is actually of The Professor surrounded by the 186 shots that Smokey endured. This picture was taken at Smokeys party we had after he completed the 12 week trial. We were very careful with the syringes and properly disposed of them after we took this picture. We felt it was important to show how many injections Smokey went though. Research is difficult and as the human guardians of these innocent lives, we have to decide how much they should endure and for what possible gain. Once this drug is commercialized it will be made into an easier form to take. But for the lucky kittens who made it into the UC Davis protieas inhibitor drug trial, they had to get twice daily painful injections. We are in no way complaining and never forget how lucky Smokey is to have received this chance. That said, it is never easy causing pain to another sentient being, especially when you cannot explain to your cat why they need to hurt before they can get better.