Alley cat has rare condition

A stray cat caught in Summerland has been diagnosed with an extremely rare condition.

According to veterinarian Julia Gray, Oreo, came to Jacobson Veterinary Services in Kelowna on Jan. 21 for a routine neuter.

"We do a lot of spay and neuters for AlleyCATS (Alliance), and at the time we noticed he was fairly small in stature with short legs and a broad face," she said. "He also had thick gum tissue covering most of his teeth. I was suspicious of a condition called congenital hypothyroidism, which is an extremely rare condition.

"We discussed with AlleyCATS, and they approved running some blood tests on him."

It turned out Oreo did have congenital hypothyroidism, which means his thyroid gland cannot synthesize thyroid hormone. It is a rare condition in cats, with there being only 60 or so reported cases.

"It's really rare, just a total fluke," said Gray. "Everyone I've told in the veterinary field is just amazed that we have this case."

But, with medication, Oreo can live out his nine lives.

"The good news is that with twice-a-day supplementation of thyroid hormone, he can lead a long happy life. He will even grow because their growth plates stay open longer than normal," she said. "As far as what’s going on with his mouth, there are no reported cases in cats. There are a few reported cases in humans, and it is called gingival fibromatosis."

Gray said Oreo is coming in on Thursday to have the thick gingival tissue removed. Full body and dental X-rays will also be taken.

Jacobson Veterinary Services will sponsor Oreo's care for the remainder of the time he is with AlleyCATS.

"I am going to be taking him to my house for foster care for the next four to six weeks to evaluate him and ensure he tolerates his medication," Gray said. "He will be likely up for adoption in a few months."


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