Remembering a much loved feline, Lance Benach

A plea from Jaimee Benach

As many of you know, I lost my best friend, Lance, to an aortic thromboembolism (ATE) on April 22. ATE is a devastating, unpredictable and sudden disease. Lance was his sweet, happy, playful, talkative,  belly rub demanding self one second and in extreme pain the next.

At this time, there is no way to predict if a cat is at risk for an aortic thromboembolism and it is difficult to do research because cats are put down so quickly after it happens.  As a result, there is little research done.

I want to help animals with heart disease and the families who love them by increasing awareness and promoting research to try and prevent losing important members of the family too soon.

Donations will go to The Langford Trust for Animal Health & Welfare, which supports the  University of Bristol Veterinary School at Langford, North Somerset, England.

As mentioned above, there is very little research out there. However, Dr. Kieran Borgeat is a specialist veterinary Cardiologist doing amazing work at the University of Bristol and he could use our help. Links at the below to learn more.

The details:

Feline cardiogenic arterial thromboembolus  (ATE), also known as “saddle thrombus,” is a devastating complication of heart disease in cats. Heart disease can cause disturbances in blood flow through the heart that can lead to the formation of blood clots. In cats, these blood clots can travel downstream and become lodged in the femoral arteries – the main arteries that provide blood flow to the hind limbs. When a saddle thrombus occurs, there is a loss of blood flow to the hind legs causing pain, decreased pulses, cold limbs and paralysis. –

The above leads to additional complications such as liver failure, heart failure, increased potassium and more.  I have reached out to many vets who specialize in animal cardio and all agree: as of now, ATE is unpredictable, sudden, and life-ending.

An estimated 8% of all cats are at risk of ATE, and the mortality rate in the first 24 hours is approaching 60% – that’s a huge number of animals worldwide who may suffer a terrible condition, making this an incredibly important disease which we may be able to better prevent or treat if we knew more.  Once a cat experiences ATE for the first time, they will get it again. Most cats do not leave the hospital, and those who do get another aortic thromboembolism fairly soon after that they will likely not survive a 2nd time. Median survival with heart disease (which 90% of cats have with this condition) is 2.5 months, while the median survival without heart disease is less than 1 year.

More about Lance:

I adopted Lance 4 years ago when he was 3. Lance’s former owner brought him to Animal Care and Control because he was sick with a simple cold and they could not afford the vet.  While I am sad Lance had to go through that  (and was almost euthanized), I am so lucky that I got to adopt him and spend 4 years with him. May 9th would have been his 4 year adoptaversary and Iain and I celebrated by going out for sushi (Lance loved fish).

Thankfully Iain and I were home most of the weekend before we lost Lance. He got a ton of cuddles and belly rubs – what we call “the power purr” was in full force that weekend. Lance loved to be around everyone and, much to his dismay, let me dance with him whenever I wanted. Although many of my friends are “not cat people,” everyone loved Lance and he definitely changed a few people’s opinion of cats.

We lost Lance way too soon, but hopefully, in his memory, we can help other animals who need it.

– Jaimee

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