Gouda, named after the cheese, has happily moved across six western states with her owner, Tara, over the last seven years.
“I rescued Gouda from a shelter in Flagstaff, Ariz., when she was nine months old,” said Tara. “Her name was originally Autumn, but it didn’t fit her and when I tried out Gouda, she looked right at me.”
Almost instantly, Tara enjoyed Gouda’s cuddly nature and companionship. Tara’s been especially grateful for Gouda’s flexibility and adaptability as they moved from state to state for Tara’s career in archaeology. “She’s at home anywhere, even in hotel rooms,” said Tara.
In the spring of 2016, while the pair were living in Washington, Gouda started sneezing sporadically. After several months, the sneezing increased and in September 2016, Tara noticed bloody discharge. “She had a sneezing fit one night and her nose was dripping with blood,” said Tara. “I took her to our veterinarian and she recommended a CT scan.”
Based on irregularities in the CT images, Gouda’s veterinarian suggested a biopsy. Testing revealed nasal adenocarcinoma, or cancer of the lining of the inside of her nasal passage. At the time, Tara had just accepted a job in Colorado and they were planning their move in just a few weeks.
“The timing of our relocation was perfect,” said Tara. “I knew we would have better treatment options at CSU, so I scheduled an appointment.”
In October, Tara and Gouda visited the Flint Animal Cancer Center. After review of her original tests and an examination, the FACC team confirmed the diagnosis. This type of cancer is rare in cats, but is believed to behave similarly to the same cancer in dogs. Gouda’s care team recommended Stereotactic Radiation Therapy (SRT), a high dose radiation treatment that precisely targets tumors. Over the course of three consecutive days, Gouda received three doses of SRT.
“Gouda is one of those special patients you can't help but remember,” said Dr. Carolynne Kruckman, radiation oncology resident. “She is such a trooper, and no matter how many times we needed to examine, poke and prod, she maintained her sweet demeanor. I am so glad that our oncology team was able to help improve Gouda's quality of life. Since nasal tumors in cats are so rare, I know our experience with Gouda will also help direct treatments for future feline patients.”
The Flint Animal Cancer Center was the first veterinary oncology service in the world to offer this treatment protocol. SRT was successful in shrinking Gouda’s tumor and reducing her symptoms.
“Her treatment went so smoothly,” said Tara. “I’m really grateful for the amazing staff at Flint Animal Cancer Center,” said Tara. “As a scientist, I appreciated all of the information they provided and the opportunity to see Gouda’s scans and tour the facility.”
Gouda returns to the FACC every six months for rechecks, and continues to do well.
“Other than bringing me more gifts in the form of live little animals she’s captured in the yard, Gouda is the same as she was before the cancer diagnosis,” said Tara. “She’s a really special cat and I’m lucky to have her in my life.”
Your gift to the Flint Animal Cancer Center will support our mission to improve the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer in beloved pets like Gouda. Please join our team of hope. Together we can make a difference; together we can work toward a cure.