When Fisher, the adventurous Maine coon cat, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, he was referred to BluePearl for a comprehensive and collaborative treatment plan.

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Fisher is a four-year-old Maine coon cat living in Tampa Bay. He loves water – and you can regularly find him enjoying boat rides or taking waterfront walks on his harness with his owner, Lorraine. He has a big personality and a tremendous sense of adventure.

One evening, Lorraine found a small, hard lump along Fisher’s ribcage. She immediately knew that something wasn’t right.

She made an appointment with their family veterinarian, where testing revealed a diagnosis that no pet owner ever wants to hear:

Fisher had vaccine-site sarcoma – a rare cancer affecting cats.

An orange cat with eager green eyes is wearing a white bandana with orange stars on it.

Knowing Fisher was about to embark on a multi-faceted cancer treatment journey, their primary veterinarian suggested he be treated by a collaborative specialty team for the best care and potential outcome.

“They recommended we go to BluePearl for comprehensive treatment,” said Lorraine.

Fisher was referred to Dr. Jen Coyle, a board-certified veterinary oncologist at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Tampa. She administered a CT scan to assess the tumor and recommended surgery as the first step in his treatment plan.

Fisher had his tumor removed by BluePearl’s surgery team within the same facility, and the procedure went smoothly. Once his incision healed, the oncology team began the next phase in Fisher’s treatment.

“Knowing the tumor was in an area where we couldn’t get wide, wide margins, we knew we were going to have to do radiation afterward,” explained Dr. Coyle.

The radiation process is performed under anesthesia, which is a difference compared to human medicine. Each treatment is fairly quick – about 20 minutes total – and Fisher was free to return home after each session.

“I did his treatment. He came Monday through Friday for about 20 sessions,” said Tiffany Tracey, a certified veterinary technician. “The idea is to get the microscopic disease that’s left behind after the removal.”

A leashed orange cat wearing a bandana eagerly reaches up to receive a treat from a man in a black shirt.

Like many cancer journeys, Fisher’s experience came with its ups and downs, and ultimately he recovered well and returned back to his adventurous life on the water.

Fisher quickly began looking like himself again and putting on weight. He also started feeling excited about his normal routine again, including walking with his family and going out to fun and new places.

“It just makes our hearts happy. One of the most amazing parts of this experience were the doctors,” said Lorraine. “There was nothing else brought into the exam room other than ‘How are we going to work with Fisher? How are we going to help him? How are we going to help you?’”

During Fisher’s time at BluePearl, he received care from the diagnostic imaging, surgery and oncology teams all under one roof. His treatment plan involved the collaboration of multiple veterinarians who combined their expertise to create the best outcome for his unique case – which is exactly the goal of multi-specialty veterinary medicine.

“I love the feeling that we had as a group of people who all wanted to work together for the best of the animal,” said Dr. Coyle.

“All of the veterinarians took an incredible amount of time,” said Lorraine. “We were all in this together. We felt really motivated and they helped us through this.”