In Memory of Carmen

As I sit here typing this short blog in memory of Carmen, I find myself still overcome with an incredible amount of sadness over the fate this wonderful cat was dealt two years ago.

Carmen Wertman

Carmen was a healthy energetic 17 year old cat who would run all over the house still playing with her toys and chatting loudly when she wanted to show us what she had found.  She lived her life on Fancy Feast which we jokingly call “kitty crack” and had some of the best blood work numbers our veterinarian had seen for a cat her age.  She was never on medications and was only sick twice–once from a Hartz flee powder poisoning, and another poisoning from eating flowers in the home.


Shortly after we moved to Seattle in August of 2012, Carmen became more finicky with her food.  I didn’t believe it was anything serious, but I continued to monitor her and provided  other options.  Around Christmas I noticed she was having difficulty chewing on one side.  I thought she was having a problem with her teeth so I made a vet appointment after the first of the year.  The results from the appointment were devastating, Carmen had oral mouth cancer and the cancer was on her palate making it extremely difficult to remove and treat.

Throughout our short journey, we visited three vets in the Seattle area, along with having three telephone conversations which included a specialist and our prior vet from Phoenix and it was concluded that only palliative care should be provided due to her age and the area of the cancer.

Over the next month my husband and I syringe fed, provided subcutaneous fluids and administered pain injections to Carmen.  We continued to try to find some miracle treatment all while this horrible rapidly growing cancer continued to grow in her mouth.  It was heart breaking to see what Carmen was going through with her mouth.  She was still energetic and playing up until the last week of her life when we had to make a very difficult decision or face an emergency situation as our veterinarian stated.  Carmen died on February 2, 2013 at the age of 18. She had been with us her entire life.

Oral mouth cancer is absolutely horrible.  I’ve read over-and-over similar situations.  The cats blood work is fine, their playing, grooming, using the litter box but this horrible disease is taking away their ability to eat and drink–and they are trying.

Each month I send out a tweet encouraging people to perform a nose to tail examination of their companion animals–this includes the much overlooked mouth.  With oral mouth cancer, like most cancers, early intervention is key.  Examine the gums, palate, teeth and tongue no matter how difficult this may be because you just may be saving their life.

Learn the early warning signs of cancer at PetCancerAwareness.org and if you have any questions on oral mouth cancer, local veterinarians or need a great local compounding pharmacy, please feel free to email me. I am also currently dealing with other felines in my home with asthma, hyperthyroidism and food sensitivity and may be able to provide suggestions for you. I can be reached at debi@wildwestrunning.com

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