So the somewhat depressing background - My otherwise fairly healthy ( slightly bad teeth not withstanding ) seventeen year-old small female orange-tabby has developed a sizeable non-vaccine related fibrosarcoma ( highly probable initial diagnosis from a quick tissue scan ) on her right-rear leg, just above the foot. It appears to have sprung up very rapidly ( I’m thinking the last couple of weeks, though maybe I’m deluding myself as to how observant I am ), though absolute confirmation on type, level of cell differentiation and mitotic index is awaiting the result of a biopsy she is scheduled to undergo Tuesday. It is wrapped around about 60% of the metatarsus and given the locally invasivene nature of fibrosarcomas, it can be assumed that it is in the tendons, bones, etc. . Accordingly, the only real option appears to be amputation.
After ruminating on this a few days and discussing the issue with my folks ( who she lived with for awhile ), I’ve tentatively come to the conclusion that the next step all depends on the quality of life issue. If she was ten, I wouldn’t hesitate to try a variety of options. But she is rather elderly for a cat and if it comes down to a recommendation of chemotherapy and/or radiation, I don’t think I want her to go through that on top of loosing a leg. So if x-rays on Tuesday show distant metastasis for example, I’m thinking that will be it.
What I’m torn over, still, is if the recommendation from the oncologist is that a simple amputation with no additional treatment will be curative ( or at least buy a couple of years ), whether it will be worth it from the point of view of my cat’s comfort in her last years.
So anyone have any experience with cat fibrosarcoma and/or amputations? Do cats adjust fairly well to three-leggedness? Any experience of reoccurrence after a amputation vs. amputation plus chemotherapy/radiation?
Aw, Tamerlane, that’s a tough one. My cat Bo had a possibly vaccine related lump, about the size of a pea, (I’d have to look it up in his papers to see exactly what it was) a few years ago, and it scared the cr@p out of me. It developed very fast, and when I brought him in for surgery it was the size of a 50 cent piece.
The vet got it all, and when they tested it it came back as ‘very malignant’. That was over two years ago, and Bo has remained cancer-free.
I don’t know what to tell you, I would probably go through with the amputation myself, but after a lot of hard thought.
Hi, Tamerlane - My dog Kate had a malignancy (I honestly don’t remember what kind) that would normally occur on a limb but was on her side. Since she was elderly, my vet and I discussed possible treatments since amputation wasn’t possible. We decided to surgically remove what we could. Although there was a 50% chance that it would come back within 2 years, we decided that even if it did, 2 years was worth it. IN the end, it wasn’t the cancer that finally killed her. I’m very glad I made my decision.
I’d say going through with the surgery is a good decision. If she doesn’t recover, you can face that when you come to it.
Cats and dogs adjust very well to three-leggedness. Unlike humans, who cannot walk on just one leg, losing one leg is not a big problem for dogs and cats as three legs are perfectly conducive to normal locomotion. (How’s that for trying to use big words?)
My friend has a three-legged cat (he calls it “Tripod”) who runs around the house just as you would expect any cat to.
I’m told the only problem with three-leggedness is for cats who are grossly overweight. If that’s the case, a diet may be in order!
Wow, that’s tough (we just lost a cat to vaccine-related sarcoma).
17 is definitely old for a cat but for a couple more years, surgery might be worth it.
In our case, the vet felt that surgery would only prolong Julie’s life by about three months; we opted not to operate and she lived comfortably for about six months after the diagnosis. The primary difference here was the tumor location–she experienced some difficulty breathing at the end because the tumor invaded her lungs.