My recent post about our vet-irradiated cat Hector Half-Squid contained a visual joke about being able to find him in the dark, by showing a picture of his normal feline eye-shine generated by a camera flash. But there’s a real glow-in-the-dark kitty in the news: Mr. Green Genes. Here’s a picture of Mr. Green Genes glowing, in an excellent photo by Rusty Costanza of Newhouse News Service. The lab tabby fluoresces under ultraviolet light because of genetic material introduced into his cells by scientists at the Audubon Center for the Study of Endangered Species. They hope their findings will lead to methods of curing diseases by gene therapy. Check out the details in this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, including a picture of Mr Green Genes in regular light: he’s a standard marmalade tiger!
This is our black and white kitty, Hector Half-Squid. A while back the vet discovered he had a benign thyroid tumor which was making him thinner and thinner. We chose to treat it with medicine you swipe in his ear, he chose to develop a strong allergic reaction to the medicine. (Have you ever seen a kitty with swollen lips?)
So last week Hector underwent last chance treatment: the same procedure undergone last season by Diamondbacks pitcher Doug Davis, injection with Iodine-131. The only cells in the body that take on Iodine are those of the thyroid, which then don’t survive the isotope’s radioactivity.
The clinic keeps the treated kitties until their levels of radiation emission are safe and low enough to send them home (as determined by the Arizona State Nuclear Regulatory Commission). But for two weeks we need to wash our hands a lot and “limit snuggling time” to half-an-hour a day. This is hard on everybody because he’s a snuggly boy, and dear to us.
So far, so good; but only time will tell if the treatment has been effective. At least in the meantime we can always find him in the dark.
Photos by A. Shock