Tabby Triumph: Mozart’s inspirational journey from paralysis to prancing

The harmonious life of Mozart, a 12-year-old tabby cat, took a turn for the worse in the early days of June. Kristen Slyman, Mozart’s owner, returned home to Laramie, Wyoming, finding him paralyzed in his hind legs.

On June 10, Slyman brought Mozart to Urgent Care at the Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. After his initial assessments, Mozart was transferred to the Neurology service.

He was diagnosed with a round-cell tumor on his T5 vertebrae, paralyzing the once sprightly cat. Mozart’s journey toward recovery was a collaborative symphony, with Urgent Care, Neurology, Radiation Oncology, and Rehabilitation.

This collaboration became the backbone of Mozart’s path to healing. “Everyone I spoke to, from the front desk to the residents to the students, was beyond what I expected from a veterinary hospital,” Slyman says.

Over the next three weeks, Mozart underwent a multi-faceted treatment plan. His weekdays were spent at the hospital, receiving radiation and physical therapy.

Mozart received a total of 10 radiation treatments, a combination of larger initial doses and subsequent fractions, said Dr. Cory Wakamatsu, a Radiation Oncology resident.

Mozart’s triumphant tale is not just a personal victory but a call to awareness. As November marks Pet Cancer Awareness Month, Mozart’s story underscores the importance of early detection, comprehensive veterinary care, and the invaluable role played by institutions such as the Flint Animal Cancer Center.

His journey from paralysis to mobility was marked by gradual yet remarkable progress. Slyman noticed improvements as early as 15 days into treatment, when Mozart was able to sit up with assistance. Day by day, he defied the odds – sitting on his own, scratching his ear, jumping onto the bed, and finally, walking unaided.

“Mozart’s story is an example where the collaboration of Neurology, Radiation Oncology and Rehabilitation all worked together to localize and identify the mass, treat the mass and help Mozart regain his strength,” Wakamatsu says.

Now, Mozart moves freely around the house without trouble. “He’s not wobbly at all. He navigates getting on and off the beds, the couch and even a tall cat tree!” Slyman says.

Slyman shares that her experience with the VTH was nothing short of positive. Daily updates, professional and caring staff and even photos of a veterinary technician sharing precious moments with Mozart while watching bird videos with him.

“It was really hard to leave him at the hospital each week, but knowing how loved and cared for he was, made it easier,” she says.

Beyond his medical journey, Mozart’s personality shines through. He is a big-hearted cat who loves to snuggle with his family, dogs and fellow feline friends. His days are filled with sun-soaked naps and a special bond with Malawi, the family’s tuxedo kitty.

Mozart’s melody of resilience serves as an inspiration, reminding pet owners to listen closely to their companions and seek timely veterinary care, harmonizing with the spirit of Pet Cancer Awareness Month.

Author: Kellen Bakovich


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