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Feline Soft Tissue Sarcoma front left leg.
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Michigan
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11 July 2016 - 8:59 am
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Our just turned 6 year old Gold tiger cat Purrkins has been diagnosed with Soft Tissue Sarcoma on his front leg.
We discovered the first lump February, did needle biopsy which was inconclusive. Vet said we would watch and see. Bump would was almost gone then  another bump above the first showed up. We did the surgical biopsy results devastating Soft Tissue Sarcoma.
We were sent top MSU Veterinary College Oncology.
We had chest xray, ultrasound and bloodwork done all results came back with no apparent spread. Although it was mentioned it still could of spread and its too early for it to be showing up.

Our options going forward are surgery to remove as much of the 2 masses as possible. Followed by radiation 16-20 treatments that would be every day Monday thru Friday weekends off. He would have to be sedated daily. With a guarantee of 2 years of keeping it under control. The cost of the surgery would be $1400 cost of radiation would be between $7,000 - $9,000.
If the cancer returns we could then amputate.( we don’t have the amputation cost yet)

Our other option is to amputate now.
We want the best life possible for Purrkins and this doesn’t seem right to put him thru all of the surgery and radiation with 2yr guarantee ! The best shot we have we think is to amputate now. This is obviously a sickening descison.

We are also being told by our vet and holistic Cats adjust very well with 3 legs. 
Either way we are borrowing money to do this and can’t imagine putting Purrkins thru daily radiation and 7-9000 to amputate later.   The toll it would take on him going every day being sedated daily, he already quivers evertime we go to the vet since his biopsy surgery .

We would love to hear opinions if anyone has gone thru something similar. We are gathering all of our research & information to make the best informed decision.

Most important is to give Purrkins the best quality of life. I wish he could tell us what he would chose. We can do nothing and try chinese medicine and holistic options and take a chance it will spread to his lungs. (not an option to me)

Our holistic Vet suggested to get rid of the source (cancer/arm) and Supplements to increase his immune system , which we are already doing.

Any opinions we would love to hear in trying to make this decision. Purrkins is healthy otherwise & young !

Also any suggestions to help him to transition better after surgery. We have his litter mate brother also. Concerned of the interactions as well afterwards. We have had some issues since Purrkins has been going to the vet and post biopsy.
Thank you in advance,

Virginia
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11 July 2016 - 2:13 pm
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Geez, so sorry you find yourself here. Under the circumstances however, you will find there is no better place to be for support and information and understanding.

We have many kitty .embers and I'm sure they'll chime in shortly.

Kitty Mona is a shining example of how well cats handle three legs. Her mom, Kerren, is quite well versed on all the ups and downs of recovery.

You clearly love Purrkins very much and are comitted to doing what's best for Purrkins. I LOVE the name!

Based on what you've said, amputation, although it sounds very scary at first, definitely seems the best treatment ro get rid of that bum leg and let Purrkins get on with a great quality life!

Cats don't worry about days on a calendar, u like humans. In fact, cats don't worry about anything! 🙂

I like your Holistic Vet's approach. At least with the amputation, it's one surgery, possibly a an overnight stay at the vet, a couple of weeks of recovery from the surgery itself and BAM, Purrkins is so e with all that mess!

Generally cats recover more easily than dogs and don't have ro take pain meds as long. You'll hear from the kitty members that sometimes they have issues using the kitty litter box at first, but you'll hear great solutions to that from Kerren and others 🙂

Hang in there! We are all right here to help you through this! You are DEFINITELY not alone!

Sending lots of hugs

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

PS...As far as what Purrki s would want? He sure sounds like he would NOT be interested in being sedated every day for 20'days and basically living at the vet...nah...I think you have his answer!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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11 July 2016 - 3:02 pm
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Hi Purrkins and family, welcome to our community heart

I don't have any specific advice regarding your kitty as my girl is a Great Dane but Kerren will surely post reg her experiences with Mona, her beautiful cat, we have several kitties here and they are all doing great.

All I can say is it is much easier for smaller pets to recover than bigger ones so Purrkins should be back to his lovely self pretty quickly.

I have a close friend whose cat Babette has had her leg amputated when she was very young and she is now about to turn 20 and in great form, amputation hasn't stopped her from enjoying life and playing with her sister Olivia !

Sending you a big hug and cuddles to Purrkins heart

Eurydice 77kg/170lb Great Dane limping end of April 2016, amputation (right front leg/osteosarcoma) 4 May 2016 6 courses of carboplatin followed by metronomic therapy, lung mets found 30 Nov 2016. 3 courses of doxorubicin, PET scan 26 Jan 2017 showed more mets so stopped chemo. Holistic route April 2017. Lung X-ray 5 May 2017 showed several tennis ball size mets, started cortisone and diuretics. Miss Cow earned her XXL silver wings 12 June 2017, 13 months and 1 week after amputation and 6 1/2 months after lung mets, she was the goofiest dawg ever and is now happily flying from cloud to cloud woof woofing away :-) 

Michigan
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11 July 2016 - 4:16 pm
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Thank you, we are so grateful to have found this website and everyone on it sharing experiences. 

I only found this site this morning. I had joined a yahoo pet cancer group looking for some insight and answers. I have been all over this site today and getting a lot of great information.

Its not a road any of us want to be on and then the dreaded cancer on top of it. Thank you on his name its perfect for him . He is a purr body! He is a very loving gentle cat. We couldn't ask for better kitties. We got them from the humane society petsmart event at 8 weeks old. Love at first site! 

We have made the decision that amputation would be the best chance of getting rid of the cancer and best life for Purrkins. Even if money wasn't an issue I can't imagine putting him thru everyday radiation being put to sleep everyday ,just having to go somewhere everyday would be torture for him, its a expensive bandaid not a cure and then ampuation later if it returns.

We are thankful it has not spread . Just very hard to comprehend  this at his young age. His brother has IBD since he was a kitten . Purrkins has always been the one with no problems. Finding the lump we were certain it was an injury of some type. It was Purrkins who put his arm out on mine, showing me something not right here. 

We were looking at ramps/steps to put in the rooms he has window seats? Anything to make his life easier on 3. Also very concerned of the falls and trial and errors he may have on 3 legs. Breaking another leg. My worst fear is he wont adapt and become depressed,not doing right by him. I'm not seeing that on this site so that helps some.  I will be interested to see what we can do to help with recovery or what we can get ready before that dreaded day. We have the consult/surgery date the 26th with Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Surgery would be that day or the following morning what we were told. 

Very emotional time thanks for the replies and the support. 

Holly , Mark , Purrkins and brother Saxton

Minneapolis, MN
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11 July 2016 - 4:27 pm
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Hello, Holly:

My STS amputee is a canine, not feline, but I wanted to share some info with you.

In your most recent post you state you have already made the decision to amputate and while I was going to preface saying it is highly personal, I really think this is the best and most proactive thing you can do.  When an STS is located further down the leg there is more chance of amputation being curative.  Unfortunately, Pofi's was less detectable - located in his armpit and was large and higher grade when amputation was performed.  We did not get all the cancer and were given the recommendation for radiation as you outlined as follow up because of it.  And I have the same concerns about it you do. At the moment we are doing low dose, in home oral chemo and have had a baseline CT scan.  We see our oncologist tomorrow for blood work and to see talk through options again.

I think Purrkins will do brilliantly.  We are here with you for the journey!

heart

Lisa, Minneapolis

On October 27, 2016, nearly 6 months after amputation, and 18 months since his cancer likely started, we lost Pofi to a recurrence of Soft Tissue Sarcoma in his spine quite suddenly.  His Daddy and I miss him terribly along with his canine sister, Mia, and two feline siblings, Lucia and Cliff.

Blog: Pofi, Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumor Amputation

Michigan
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11 July 2016 - 6:35 pm
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Best of luck tomorrow!

If radiation was only the option? We aren't in that corner.  I know they stated for Purrkins age and health they claimed he was a great candidate for it. We have to think long term and how to give the longest quality of life we can  . For us I  think this is best chance we've got at getting rid of it. Can only pray that's the case. 
We have never been given a chemo option. Im not sure why that is and another question to add to the list. 

Thank your for response! 

Truly appreciate any and all input. 

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11 July 2016 - 7:10 pm
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There is another cat owner blogging - Jack the cat is early in the recovery process.  You might want to check out that blog for some more info.  They just posted "Monday the 12th."

Otis - 106 pound lab/Dane mix, lost his right front leg to osteosarcoma on Febuary 9, 2016.  Four rounds of carboplatin completed in April, 2016.  Lung mets August 25, 2016.  Said goodbye too soon on September 4, 2016.   Lost his adopted sister, Tess, suddenly on October 9, 2016. likely due to hemangiosarcoma.  

Wherever they are, they are together.

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11 July 2016 - 7:23 pm
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Hi there, we are a week in to the tri-paw journey with Jack who is only 3 years old. He has a front right amputation. We are doing things backwards as we are waiting for a conclusive diagnosis - all we know is the mass just above his wrist was not encapsulated so it makes it likely to be a nasty type cancer. Vet medicine is practiced quite differently in this country compared to the US, so we were not given any other option than amputation once it was determined that the unhealing wound was a cancer.

He is blogged under Jack the kiwi cat.

Every cat is different but we have been surprised how little adaption he has needed. For example you mention window seats - how far off the ground and on to what surface? He has been cheerfully launching himself off the sofa which is at least a 40cm drop onto carpeted floors (over wood) since getting home, and only gets the pick up and carry option if we decide he is needing to come through for some food and drink (his appetite declined sharply for a couple of days, but was improved by kitten food and sardine water). His potted grass has been put on the floor as he would have to jump about 100cm if it was in its usual place. Mum suspects he has already investigated the kitchen surfaces but has nothing other than a couple of suspicious partial paw marks to prove this, so he is clearly starting to get back to old habits.

Jack has always had an indoor litter tray and we use recycled paper pellets, which are very soft on his remaining paws. It is a big tray. We keep an eye out for poop and clear it immediately because not covering it was clearly distressing him.

Jack was a rescue only 4 months ago and had an anxious habit of hiding under things when he first arrived. He's gone back to that this last week and has led my Mum and her boarder Jenny on a few adventures of "where is Jack?" 

We are using Meloxicam (NSAID) and antibiotics, and have split the two doses daily into 4, and this is holding his pain well. He will let me touch his wound and he is now lying wound side down part of the time. 

The biggest challenge for us has been this is mid-winter for us and we have had some cold nights, but he is firmly of the opinion that no cat will EVER wear anything other than fur or a harness at a push! If I put my hand over where his heart is, it is very warm compared to the usual temperature of the fur, so he will likely have lost around 250-500g on top of the leg weight by the time his stitches have come out between the appetite and the lack of insulation from fur. That is around about a 10% weight loss which is not great, so he will need us to do lots of play to rebuild his lean tissue once he is a bit more healed.

Michigan
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11 July 2016 - 8:00 pm
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Hi Holly & Mark ~

I can chime in & say that MSU is great!  Murphy had his surgery and his chemo there.  His surgery was 4/4/13 with an orthopedic fellow who has since moved on to a position in Wisconsin.  In April we had a tour of the brand new ICU & it's wonderful.  He also had his chemo there - Dr. Kitchell was originally his oncologist, but she left to New Mexico and Dr. Swanson finished his protocol and has followed up since.  They have always taken really great care of us out there!  I can even give you some ideas of where to spend your day while Purrkins is going through treatment lol (it was a 1.5 hour drive for me, so I found things to do out there while waiting).

I think if you search through the forums and maybe the blogs for feline you might be able to find some videos of cats.  This is a recent thread that Kerren posted a video of Mona in:  http://tripawds.....wer-paw/ 

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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11 July 2016 - 10:40 pm
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You have received a lot of great advice. Everyone is so helpful here.

Mona had her front leg and shoulder amputated 2 years ago and she is doing great. She is about 10 years old now and has adapted just fine. Yes, she walks slowly with a hop but runs very fast (momentum pushes them along). Mona also went to an alternative vet for a chiropractic treatment and exercises to maintain her range of motion, etc and she takes Power Mushrooms to support her immune systems. She continues to have a sister/brother relationship with my other cat Eli - she bonks him on the head at home and then she comforts him when he's distressed at the vet clinic.

I suggest boxes or steps for when Purrkins jumps down. The one leg takes a big load when landing and steps help reduce that load. For example, I have a high bed which Mona jumps on to but to go down she goes to a chair then a box and then floor. I have these set up for most of her favourite places. You don't need to worry about falls or breaking a leg. Mona did a few face plants initially when jumping down then she chose to find an easier route. They adapt very quickly. I have a couple of videos of Mona on this forum page:

http://tripawds.....power-paw/

In the first video you'll see her going up the stream in a more thoughtful way while my other cat with an extra leg, and longer legs, moves more fluidly. 

I'm a bit surprised that a vet would guarantee two years with radiation. There is no guarantee with any cancer treatment. Mona had a fibrosarcoma caused by a vaccine injection and the recommendation is to remove the tumour ASAP. Some people followup with radiation if there are dirty margins. A pathologists report of the amputated leg can be very helpful in determining if additional treatment is required. Chemo isn't proven to help with all types of cancer so that may be why it wasn't suggested.

Please keep in touch. I'm sure you'll find the cat blogs interesting and will find a range of experiences. Overall the cats adapt very well to amputation.

Kerren and Tripawd Kitty Mona

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13 July 2016 - 12:33 pm
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Kerren has been through the process and is uber informed. She has been extraordinarily helpful to me.

I am taking my daughter's Princess today for a pre-op evaluation. The operation is scheduled for tomorrow. She is 14. We decide today whether she can withstand the amputation, and if her quality of life post-op is going to be stress-free, or not.

What I have learned so far is younger cats are more prone to fibro/soft-tissue cancer than older cats. Seems older cats have had time to develop more immunity. Princess at 14 seems to disprove that theory. Like someone noted, every cat is different.

Ironically, I had cancer (throat) myself last year. It was a virus that took over 25 years to develop into a cancer. I am 69 now. Like cats, every human is different too. Cancer hits us in so many unpredictable ways.

One thing I would say from my experience with cancer is do not consider putting your cat through the ordeal of chemo and radiation for any extended time. It is hell.

Purrkin has an age and overall health advantage over Princess. So be optimistic. smiley

Good luck and my best regards,

Christopher van Dyke

Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Michigan
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14 July 2016 - 7:44 pm
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Purrkins did great with his past biopsy surgery and we were sent home with a cone if needed. We tried it on him and he was wobbly I took it right off. He didn't bother his surgery sight until it started to heal , I would catch him and tell him no can't lick that. That was all I needed to say. 

I  have read some people used onesies instead of cones? Is it possible we can do no cone again and just watch he isn't licking or bothering the incision ? I would like to get some onesies if we need them. Any suggestions? How do I know what size to get and then what do I do  just the bottoms off? Should i sew the one arm closed. Any suggestions and or instructions would be appreciated.

We plan on keeping him in a spare room I will stay in there with him. Is there any sort of timeframe on how long we would keep him in the room before trying the rest of the house out. I can let his brother in to visit. Just trying to prepare anything we can prior too.

We have only seen the oncologist and have the consult appointment with the surgeon.  We are calling the surgeon prior to appointment we have a lot of questions still . We were told he might be staying that day for the surgery. Thank god we have time to process all this and gather all the information. 

Thank you for any input!

Holly, Mark & Purrkins & Brother Saxton

Virginia
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14 July 2016 - 8:31 pm
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The only thing I can address is the co e issue..and even that's from the "dog perspective".

My Happy Hannah never bothered her stitches a d never needed a cone or shirt. Point being, as long as you are able to watch Purrkins, (a d because she never bothered her stitches before), you maybe able to hold off on the cone, or even the onesie, and use only if needed.....or you may not!! It only takes seconds for them to scratch at it or chew in it.

Higs to you and your cat pack!

Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

Happy Hannah had a glorious additional bonus time of over one yr & two months after amp for osteo! She made me laugh everyday! Joined April's Angels after send off meal of steak, ice cream, M&Ms & deer poop!

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14 July 2016 - 9:13 pm
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My cat Mona did not need to wear a cone after the amputation. She didn't fuss with the surgical site but if she scratched at it I would put a cool damp cloth where she scratched and she was no longer interested in scratching. Some vets put a large bandage on the site. I'd go with Sally's suggestion and hold off until you see how Purrkins does. The vet may have a different opinion.

I slept with Mona in a spare room. I made a bed for her under a shelf in the closet because cats like cozy hiding places. When I wanted access to her I would just slide her out. When she was ready she would emerge from the closet. I would let my other cat in when he was interested and he would sleep a couple of feet away from her. He was very sweet to her. 

When Mona was feeling better she wanted out of the room. The problem was that she would race around the house. So I would just carry her out and hold her at the patio door so she could look out and eventually fall asleep in the sun. I think you'll be able to assess this as Purrkins heals and gets more energy. It becomes much easier once the stitches are out. That's when I allowed Mona to do what she wanted.

Kerren and Tripawds Kitty Mona

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15 July 2016 - 3:32 am
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The onsie t-shirt you won't have to cut the bottom off.  You could try picking up a couple at a thrift store to see what size would fit, I wouldn't think they're very expensive there.  You could sew one arm closed if you want to protect the incision. 

Most of the dogs stay overnight after surgery, but once in awhile someone doesn't - either to save money or if the hospital doesn't offer overnight care.  I'm not sure if it's the same for the cats or not.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

Donna.png

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