Suspected IBD or Lymphoma... is surgery worth it?

daftcat75

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Oscar loves wet food, and before switching to I/D he barely ever ate dry food! I don't think he would have noticed then if I removed the dry food suddenly one day, when he was always eating the fancy feast savory centers. But he seems to prefer the dry food of the I/D now, so he was pretty annoyed with me for that. You're completely right about not trying to make the change so suddenly, though, and also just sticking to it until he's used to it.
The other issue here is I do have another cat. He is only 2 1/2 and eats totally different food (just regular old dry food), obviously. But now they have this power play thing going where they get pissed at each other when one of them is eating a different food, and they both try to sneakily eat the others' food. It's a constant game of picking up and putting down the right food for the right boy and keeping eyes on them when one is eating. Oscar in particular is also a major grazer, so he wants to be fed about 453123 times a day. The other can go much longer stretches without getting antsy for food. (He's the weird one that is not food-motivated at all.)
Timed feeders sounds like a dream, especially for me, the one that is woken 53987452038945 times a night by Oscar needing a fresher snack (vs my wife who could literally sleep through a nuclear blast). But I wonder what your experience is with those and multiple cats who need different foods?
Which also brings me to what Margot Lane said about the chemo drugs and poop... would be worried about my other cat's exposure to things!
Aaand the questions just keep piling up!
I don’t have multiple cats. I couldn’t tell you how feeders work with multiple cats. It might just be easier for both cats to go on the same food and same feeding schedule. Dry food isn’t necessary at all. The other cat may end up avoiding future health issues by not eating a lifetime of dry.

As for the chemo and poop, it’s not that big a deal. It will be diluted by the cat first. As long as your other cat isn’t eating or playing with the poop, he should be fine.
 
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rockitorknockit

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I don’t have multiple cats. I couldn’t tell you how feeders work with multiple cats. It might just be easier for both cats to go on the same food and same feeding schedule. Dry food isn’t necessary at all. The other cat may end up avoiding future health issues by not eating a lifetime of dry.

As for the chemo and poop, it’s not that big a deal. It will be diluted by the cat first. As long as your other cat isn’t eating or playing with the poop, he should be fine.
Thank you! I had the same thought about just feeding the other cat the same thing as Oscar... probably better for him, It's just expensive, and currently Oscar gets prescription food and the other doesn't have a "prescription" for it.. But might make life a lot easier, which is worth money to me. And if we change their diets dramatically, the prescription food might not be used much anyway. Also, thanks for the reassurance about the chemo drug stuff!
 

Margot Lane

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Thank you! I had the same thought about just feeding the other cat the same thing as Oscar... probably better for him, It's just expensive, and currently Oscar gets prescription food and the other doesn't have a "prescription" for it.. But might make life a lot easier, which is worth money to me. And if we change their diets dramatically, the prescription food might not be used much anyway. Also, thanks for the reassurance about the chemo drug stuff!
Sorry to freak you out there…just what came w my instructions! On a different note I wanted to mention that. Zorro has really gotten into 2 things: me singing karaoke for him, and also playing “purring cats” YouTube videos! He loves it! Comes right up to me for “music time.” Sofar big hits include “Say a little prayer,” “Where is love?” And “The Girl from Ipanema.” Yes this sounds nuts but it is as true as Oscar loving paper. Perhaps certain tones tickle their ears.
 

daftcat75

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Sorry to freak you out there…just what came w my instructions! On a different note I wanted to mention that. Zorro has really gotten into 2 things: me singing karaoke for him, and also playing “purring cats” YouTube videos! He loves it! Comes right up to me for “music time.” Sofar big hits include “Say a little prayer,” “Where is love?” And “The Girl from Ipanema.” Yes this sounds nuts but it is as true as Oscar loving paper. Perhaps certain tones tickle their ears.
Also have a look at Music For Cats. This guy research and tested what sounds cats like and made two albums of them. Krista spent so many of her days sleeping against the soundbar when I had this on for her. I've even calmed a captive stray with a portable speaker playing Music For Cats. I called it Krista's "cat rock." I still have it come on every morning as ambient music on the soundbar during the days.

Home | Music for Cats | David Teie
 

__caitlin

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Thank you! I had the same thought about just feeding the other cat the same thing as Oscar... probably better for him, It's just expensive, and currently Oscar gets prescription food and the other doesn't have a "prescription" for it.. But might make life a lot easier, which is worth money to me. And if we change their diets dramatically, the prescription food might not be used much anyway. Also, thanks for the reassurance about the chemo drug stuff!
I ran into the same problem re: multiple cats and timed feeders. I ultimately opted not to do it -- and have just been foregoing sleep and sanity instead feeding Max every 4 hours. :/ I also work from home and have been known to feed him while off-camera in meetings.

But one thing I did consider is -- do your other cats self-regulate in terms of their eating? Or will they eat the other cats' portions if allowed?

Max's sister, my only other cat, does self-regulate and won't overeat in one session when she's not hungry. She already eats whatever he's eating (I wasn't able to control for that) -- so in theory, I could get 2 timed feeders and just make sure to have 2 portions out at all times, on the assumption that his sister won't overeat and there will still be some left for him. I know that makes the venture more expensive and more complicated, but if you're becoming sleep deprived (like I am) or simply not able to feed him on the schedule you want, it's something to think about?
 

daftcat75

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I ran into the same problem re: multiple cats and timed feeders. I ultimately opted not to do it -- and have just been foregoing sleep and sanity instead feeding Max every 4 hours. :/ I also work from home and have been known to feed him while off-camera in meetings.

But one thing I did consider is -- do your other cats self-regulate in terms of their eating? Or will they eat the other cats' portions if allowed?

Max's sister, my only other cat, does self-regulate and won't overeat in one session when she's not hungry. She already eats whatever he's eating (I wasn't able to control for that) -- so in theory, I could get 2 timed feeders and just make sure to have 2 portions out at all times, on the assumption that his sister won't overeat and there will still be some left for him. I know that makes the venture more expensive and more complicated, but if you're becoming sleep deprived (like I am) or simply not able to feed him on the schedule you want, it's something to think about?
Timed feeders are affordable. I recommend buying and using them in pairs anyway. Failures are rare—maybe 3 in 1000+ uses—but if the cost of a failure is an acid barf, redundancy is a fair price to pay.

My one concern is that these timers aren’t exact. If you set two of them to the same increment of 30 minutes, they may open at the same time. They may be separated by some time. Egg timers aren’t quality time pieces. If you think his sister could wait until hers opens if he takes the first one, then it’s likely not an issue. They do have a side by side with digital timer. But the construction feels cheap enough to be defeated by a motivated cat. Also, would your cats eat from a side by side? I’d rather take a chance on separate clamshells.
These are the ones I recommend:
PAWISE Automatic Pet Feeder for Dogs and Cats, 1.5 Cup Food Dispenser Feeder with 48-Hour Timer - Single https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FT93YM2/?tag=thecatsite
 
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rockitorknockit

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What is a typical cost range of chemo/cancer treatments for cats with small cell lymphoma?
 

daftcat75

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What is a typical cost range of chemo/cancer treatments for cats with small cell lymphoma?
It was about $50 for the chlorambucil after having it compounded into a flavored oil. You need to get it compounded into a form your cat will voluntarily take. Because of the cytotoxic nature of the drug, there can be no pilling wrestling matches and you have to handle the medicine with gloves. I got Krista’s medicine compounded into a highly concentrated anchovy flavored oil. Concentrated so that I didn’t have to give very much. Instead of 1 mL, I was able to mix 0.1 mL with an equally small amount of salmon oil for about a nickel’s worth of oil she made disappear on her own every time.
 

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My visiting vet had me be her sidekick today! Had to hold him by his scruff and extend his leg while she drew blood for the CBC. An intense experience, but definitely worth being an active participant. Advice: don’t let yourself be a softie for one minute or the chomp will come. Fortunately my buddy has one fang. And he does forgive you: he is staring at me adoringly as I type, so that’s a relief. …Pricewise where I am the meds are cheap but the 3 hour drive and overnight stay to the expensive vet is NOT. So am very grateful to the James and Jane Herriots of this world. Pilling a cat wise, don’t know if it’s cheating but for me it works: set the food down, straddle cat, and pill it—- all too eager to swallow anything to get at chow & it has become a routine we understand.
 

Margot Lane

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My hairstylist who has a cat named Q Tip (rent his lovely air bnb home anytime you’re in Santa Rosa, Ca and you get the cat as a bonus!) highly recommends an insurance company called ’Pets Best.‘ Not sure where anyone here is in the world, but perhaps it applies to you! He says it’s very cheap and worthwhile. For me it it is too late and I’m down the rabbit hole but for people w/ healthy cats reading this perhaps it applies….I am told that cats are twice as expensive as dogs, so worth investigating. (Onthe other hand, my friend takes care of 7 feral cats and a horse on $400 a month, but I think she has a much wilder philosophy about it….sort of like Elsa in Born Free).
 

Margot Lane

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I ran into the same problem re: multiple cats and timed feeders. I ultimately opted not to do it -- and have just been foregoing sleep and sanity instead feeding Max every 4 hours. :/ I also work from home and have been known to feed him while off-camera in meetings.

But one thing I did consider is -- do your other cats self-regulate in terms of their eating? Or will they eat the other cats' portions if allowed?

Max's sister, my only other cat, does self-regulate and won't overeat in one session when she's not hungry. She already eats whatever he's eating (I wasn't able to control for that) -- so in theory, I could get 2 timed feeders and just make sure to have 2 portions out at all times, on the assumption that his sister won't overeat and there will still be some left for him. I know that makes the venture more expensive and more complicated, but if you're becoming sleep deprived (like I am) or simply not able to feed him on the schedule you want, it's something to think about?
Agreed. I believe the sleep dep is worth it, as for better or worse you are with them in the moment. It sounds as if Oscar could use a timer, given his owner’s schedule though, and I wonder if certain cats could be ….portioned off to different areas? Maybe wall off a section w/ a self invented “wall?”
 

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Hey, I'm not sure if you already decided on the procedure, but I just wanted to add my insight as someone who has recently gone through something similar.
My cat also had suspected lymphoma and I was super hesitant to make her go through surgery at almost 15 years old. However, the vet explained to me that the other procedures didn't always yield accurate results. For example, FNA can miss the affected site as intestines move around, and turn a false-negative. Furthermore, it can only diagnose large-cell lymphoma, not small-cell lymphoma.
In regards to the endoscopy, the intestine has several layers, and with the endoscope they can only take a tissue sample of the inner layers. Furthermore, they cannot reach the ileum, which is the place where these infiltrative lesions are often located.
So even though I was absolutely terrified, I went with the surgery option. The waiting part was awful, but after about 2 hours it ended and I was able to see her. She was wobbly at first due to the anesthesia but after half an hour, she started slowly walking around and inspecting the place. Once she was completely awake, they allowed me to take her home. I want to add that I believe this is not usual, vets will often want the pet to remain hospitalized for at least one night, maybe I would have refused in that case. I was lucky there were no complications whatsoever, she slept through most of that day but during the following days she was in good spirits. I think pain-control is crucial, and they should also give her antibiotics. They gave her Convenia which is a long-acting antibiotic but I didn't know at that time that adverse effects have been reported, so in the future I'll probably opt for something else. Fortunately nothing bad happened to her after having that med, nor as a result of the surgery.
I know how scary it is, but I thought that I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if I had to put her through anesthesia again and further delay the treatment in case one of the less-invasive options turned an inconclusive result. It's a very personal choice, but I wouldn't discard it based on the cat's age alone. SCL has a very good prognosis and I've read cases of cats living several years while on pred+oral chemo.
I really hope everything turns out well for you and your beloved Oscar!
 

Foreverlouiemylove

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Oh…😢😢😢 I will have time to read your long story to share mine. My lovely smart and human-like cat had a lymphoma. I bless for Both you and your sweet cat.
 
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rockitorknockit

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I appreciate you sharing your input, catxlady, since many here opted out of it. It sort of validates what I am about to say as well... which is that, after reading the email response from the internal medicine specialist, and discussing it further with a few close family members, I have decided to move forward with the surgical biopsy procedure. I am terrified of all of the random things that can go wrong and 'what ifs' of beyond, but I feel this is the best choice for us at this time.

So, on Friday the 19th, I'll have to drive him an hour to the clinic for a 7:15am drop off. They'll first run an echocardiogram to ensure he can withstand anesthesia. Assuming he can, he will then have the surgical biopsy at some point during the day. They will then, indeed, keep him overnight (absolute hate the idea of being away from him and not seeing him through all of this, but also suppose I am happy professionals will have eyes on him for the first 24 hours). Assuming all goes as planned, I should be able to pick him up during the day on the 20th. I've taken off work the 21st to make sure I have some close time with him to look after him as he begins to recover.

I appreciate everyone's insights and suggestions and resources and help. I will continue to look into diet-related things as we (hopefully) obtain a confident diagnosis of what's going on with him. I can also keep everyone updated! Especially as I continue to ride the roller coaster of ANXIETY AND FEAR!
 

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Glad to hear from you as Oscar has been on my mind a lot. Wot a sweet lil lion. I think you will find peace of mind w/ this procedure, it is better to KNOW. If they give you as much pred as my Zorro I recommend you stock up on wet cat food! (And if you want sleep a timed feeder). My vet says his first CBC is pretty good! Lo white cell count and red just a little low, but since I am transitioning him onto RAWZ will be curious to see if it’s better next time. Keep us posted: we ❤ Oscar!! —OFC (Oscar Fan Club).
 
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rockitorknockit

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Glad to hear from you as Oscar has been on my mind a lot. Wot a sweet lil lion. I think you will find peace of mind w/ this procedure, it is better to KNOW. If they give you as much pred as my Zorro I recommend you stock up on wet cat food! (And if you want sleep a timed feeder). My vet says his first CBC is pretty good! Lo white cell count and red just a little low, but since I am transitioning him onto RAWZ will be curious to see if it’s better next time. Keep us posted: we ❤ Oscar!! —OFC (Oscar Fan Club).
This was the absolute sweetest message!!! Oscar IS a sweet lil lion! You gave me a much needed smile and I had to immediately tell my wife (and Oscar, of course). Really appreciate the thoughts, well wishes, support, kind words. Feeling better about this decision... just waiting for Friday. THANK YOU! And also really hoping for good things for your baby Zorro! Keep me updated too!
 
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rockitorknockit

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Oscar is home.

I couldn't sleep at all Thursday night. Oscar was starving and whining and my head was spinning. We got up at 5am to start getting ready. Bitterly cold outside, but the distance between where we live and where the appointment was (1 hr) made for a beautiful sunrise drive. We dropped off Oscar. He was trembling. Lots of tears. We drove home and crawled into bed to wait.

The cardiologist called around 10am. Short of it: heart disease. I had an almost comical moment of knowing this would happen, that I'd hem and haw over the surgery and then he would not even be able to do it anyway due to his heart, but I had been operating like this wouldn't happen. Surgery to perform the biopsies on his intestines could potentially throw him into heart failure... Or not, but a higher risk. Lots of other details. She was incredibly kind and patient. I hung up to cry before calling back to tell her what I had already decided: Ultimately, a risk I was not willing to take. The cardiologist and the internal medicine doctor agreed it was the better choice not do it. More and more tears and tears and tears...

So, I went and got him. I was so relieved that at least he didn't have to stay there overnight. That at least he didn't have to have a surgery right now. He quacked at me and I rubbed his head through the cat carrier the whole ride home.

Right now, he's okay. He seems like he's recovering from the stress of yesterday... we all are, having what my wife and I call "A F*ck All Day". You'd never know all of these things were brewing inside him if you looked at him or his behavior. This morning he smelled like himself again (not the hospital). He snuggled up and purred like he always does before we got up for the day. He ate all his medications without batting an eye. Unconditional trust and love.

Where we landed: No medication for his heart at this time, but keeping eyes on his symptoms there (I intend to research in this forum about that later, when I am less emotional). Full steroids, which we began today, for his guts. I have a phone check-in with the internal medicine doctor in two weeks. If he seems to be doing well, we could potentially lower the steroid dose. If he does not seem to be doing well, we could add in the chemo. He'll continue B12 injections regardless. She prescribed medicine for his belly if he does have a vomiting spurt.

If he's doing okay gut-wise, we will re-test all of that stuff in a month.
If he's doing okay heart-wise, we'll re-test that in 4-6 months.

So it all depends. Keeping eyes on him and seeing how everything progresses. So scary. Not wanting to lose this moment, the calm before the storm. Lots of unknowns. I do know I love him and am glad he's here right now, and that my wife is here to hold me while I cry, and that all the doctors were so very compassionate and helpful yesterday.

The cardiologist, whom I can only imagine works on countless animals, could not resist writing on his actual exam findings: "Oscar is such a sweet boy." My baby. 🧡

259361951_10108279932970006_5959697802507615255_n.jpg
 

Margot Lane

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Oscar is home.

I couldn't sleep at all Thursday night. Oscar was starving and whining and my head was spinning. We got up at 5am to start getting ready. Bitterly cold outside, but the distance between where we live and where the appointment was (1 hr) made for a beautiful sunrise drive. We dropped off Oscar. He was trembling. Lots of tears. We drove home and crawled into bed to wait.

The cardiologist called around 10am. Short of it: heart disease. I had an almost comical moment of knowing this would happen, that I'd hem and haw over the surgery and then he would not even be able to do it anyway due to his heart, but I had been operating like this wouldn't happen. Surgery to perform the biopsies on his intestines could potentially throw him into heart failure... Or not, but a higher risk. Lots of other details. She was incredibly kind and patient. I hung up to cry before calling back to tell her what I had already decided: Ultimately, a risk I was not willing to take. The cardiologist and the internal medicine doctor agreed it was the better choice not do it. More and more tears and tears and tears...

So, I went and got him. I was so relieved that at least he didn't have to stay there overnight. That at least he didn't have to have a surgery right now. He quacked at me and I rubbed his head through the cat carrier the whole ride home.

Right now, he's okay. He seems like he's recovering from the stress of yesterday... we all are, having what my wife and I call "A F*ck All Day". You'd never know all of these things were brewing inside him if you looked at him or his behavior. This morning he smelled like himself again (not the hospital). He snuggled up and purred like he always does before we got up for the day. He ate all his medications without batting an eye. Unconditional trust and love.

Where we landed: No medication for his heart at this time, but keeping eyes on his symptoms there (I intend to research in this forum about that later, when I am less emotional). Full steroids, which we began today, for his guts. I have a phone check-in with the internal medicine doctor in two weeks. If he seems to be doing well, we could potentially lower the steroid dose. If he does not seem to be doing well, we could add in the chemo. He'll continue B12 injections regardless. She prescribed medicine for his belly if he does have a vomiting spurt.

If he's doing okay gut-wise, we will re-test all of that stuff in a month.
If he's doing okay heart-wise, we'll re-test that in 4-6 months.

So it all depends. Keeping eyes on him and seeing how everything progresses. So scary. Not wanting to lose this moment, the calm before the storm. Lots of unknowns. I do know I love him and am glad he's here right now, and that my wife is here to hold me while I cry, and that all the doctors were so very compassionate and helpful yesterday.

The cardiologist, whom I can only imagine works on countless animals, could not resist writing on his actual exam findings: "Oscar is such a sweet boy." My baby. 🧡

View attachment 401994
Been feeling Oscar & your plight all day long. Thank you so much for letting us know! Let’s hope things change for the better: in the beginning I was told Zorro had a “pear shaped heart,” but a second vet deemed him good for surgery. 6 more chemo pills to go, & he looks fine. …We send all of our deepest purrs to Oscar the Trooper. ❤🐾 One day at a time!
 

catxlady

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Oscar is home.

I couldn't sleep at all Thursday night. Oscar was starving and whining and my head was spinning. We got up at 5am to start getting ready. Bitterly cold outside, but the distance between where we live and where the appointment was (1 hr) made for a beautiful sunrise drive. We dropped off Oscar. He was trembling. Lots of tears. We drove home and crawled into bed to wait.

The cardiologist called around 10am. Short of it: heart disease. I had an almost comical moment of knowing this would happen, that I'd hem and haw over the surgery and then he would not even be able to do it anyway due to his heart, but I had been operating like this wouldn't happen. Surgery to perform the biopsies on his intestines could potentially throw him into heart failure... Or not, but a higher risk. Lots of other details. She was incredibly kind and patient. I hung up to cry before calling back to tell her what I had already decided: Ultimately, a risk I was not willing to take. The cardiologist and the internal medicine doctor agreed it was the better choice not do it. More and more tears and tears and tears...

So, I went and got him. I was so relieved that at least he didn't have to stay there overnight. That at least he didn't have to have a surgery right now. He quacked at me and I rubbed his head through the cat carrier the whole ride home.

Right now, he's okay. He seems like he's recovering from the stress of yesterday... we all are, having what my wife and I call "A F*ck All Day". You'd never know all of these things were brewing inside him if you looked at him or his behavior. This morning he smelled like himself again (not the hospital). He snuggled up and purred like he always does before we got up for the day. He ate all his medications without batting an eye. Unconditional trust and love.

Where we landed: No medication for his heart at this time, but keeping eyes on his symptoms there (I intend to research in this forum about that later, when I am less emotional). Full steroids, which we began today, for his guts. I have a phone check-in with the internal medicine doctor in two weeks. If he seems to be doing well, we could potentially lower the steroid dose. If he does not seem to be doing well, we could add in the chemo. He'll continue B12 injections regardless. She prescribed medicine for his belly if he does have a vomiting spurt.

If he's doing okay gut-wise, we will re-test all of that stuff in a month.
If he's doing okay heart-wise, we'll re-test that in 4-6 months.

So it all depends. Keeping eyes on him and seeing how everything progresses. So scary. Not wanting to lose this moment, the calm before the storm. Lots of unknowns. I do know I love him and am glad he's here right now, and that my wife is here to hold me while I cry, and that all the doctors were so very compassionate and helpful yesterday.

The cardiologist, whom I can only imagine works on countless animals, could not resist writing on his actual exam findings: "Oscar is such a sweet boy." My baby. 🧡

View attachment 401994
Ohhhh I was going to ask about Oscar, I have been thinking about him all day! Thanks for taking a moment to let us know, I can't imagine the anxiety you went through.
I'm sorry to hear about his heart condition :( Hopefully it won't get in the way of his current treatment plan. Steroids are surely going to help with his appetite and to reduce inflammation. It can make them more thirsty so I suggest having several water bowls.
I'll keep sending good vibes your way, hope Oscar keeps feeling good and you are able to enjoy him for many years to come.

Btw he does look like a sweet boy, orange cats are something special ❤
 
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