A 12 and a half year old Maine Coon, Mimi, has had major brain surgery to remove a cancerous tumour. Mimi’s balance and co-ordination started to deteriorate over a couple of months, then suddenly got much worse in February, to the extent that she was falling over all the time and could barely walk.

Mimi with Kerry, vet nurse, before she went home.

Mimi was quickly referred to the Animal Health Trust where a full neurological examination showed she wasn’t fully aware of where her feet were, causing her to stumble or fall every few steps. An MRI scan revealed a large brain tumour. Without surgery Mimi could have had just weeks to live, although surgery was not without risk, with brain swelling and bleeding being possible complications.

Given her age, and that Mimi was weakened by the tumour, she was also at risk of dying under the anaesthetic. However, as Mimi kept trying to walk and get about, and seemed to be fighting the tumour, her owners made the brave decision to go ahead with surgery.

AHT neurologist, Anita Shea, operated on Mimi the next day. The surgery was complicated by an artery close to the tumour, which meant Mimi lost quite a lot of blood. It was touch and go, and the first 48 hours after surgery were critical. But we’re pleased to say that Mimi is made of stern stuff. After a few days in intensive care and with the help of lots of TLC from her family, she is now doing brilliantly! Her balance is almost normal and at times she will play as if she was a much younger cat.

Mimi was lucky enough to enjoy a few extra days in our care post-op as the ‘Beast from East’ prevented Claire and Peter, her owners, from leaving their home in Kings Lynn to pick her up. During her time at the AHT our staff fell in love with Mimi (it is very hard to not spend hours giving chin-scratches when those big eyes look up at you!) and we’re all incredibly pleased that she has made such a magnificent recovery. Mimi’s tumour was cancerous, and is likely to grow back one day. However, we hope that Mimi will have an excellent quality of life in the meantime and the maximum time with her devoted family.

Claire, said: “We were shocked by Mimi’s diagnosis and couldn’t have given up on her. She is such a gentle and strong cat and we’re completely amazed at her recovery. Barely two months since the op and she is strutting around like nothing happened and jumping up on the furniture again!

“It was really distressing when she was struggling to walk – to even stand up before. We knew we did the right thing for Mimi and were so impressed by the AHT. The attention to detail, the depth of knowledge, how caring all the staff were. Anita was an absolute star throughout her treatment and when Mimi had to stay in longer, due to the snow, she gave us plenty of updates as we were missing her so much. I couldn’t imagine a better place for sick animals and we will be forever grateful to the AHT for the care Mimi received.”

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