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Caring for a Three Legged Dog or Cat

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Help Interpreting Pathology Report
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Member Since:
1 February 2021
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28 February 2021 - 4:39 pm
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Our boy Jonesy had a rear-leg amputation after all signs pointed to cancer. We had the limb biopsied, and the suspicions were confirmed. Prior to getting the report back, our vet was thinking either osteosarcoma or synovial sarcoma. Reading over the report, it seems like neither, or both? More like a tumor of unknown origin that grew in the tarsal area and affected both the bone and soft tissue? I would like to read up more, but am not sure exactly what to search for. Will post the text of the report below. Would welcome any suggested search terms for his condition or just any thoughts you might have. Thanks!!


11-year-old, NM. Left hock swollen and tender. Antibiotics/steroids didn't help. Radiology showed calcification around joint and disruption around the bone.

Gross examination:

Leg: The entire left hindlimb was amputated. The hock joint was markedly swollen with irregular firm proliferation surrounding and invading the joints.

Microscopic examination:

Slide 1-5. Hock joint: Expanding and replacing the articular bone and cartilage, disrupting the synovium and tendons, protruding into the joint cavity is a poorly demarcated, highly invasive neoplasm, which is composed of neoplastic epithelial cells arranged in trabecular cords, tubular structures, and papillary projects supported by fine fibrous stroma. The neoplastic cells are featured by distinct cell borders, moderate amounts of eosinophilic cytoplasm, and ovoid nuclei with finely stippled chromatins and a prominent magenta nucleolus. Anisocytosis and anisokaryosis are moderate to marked. Mitotic index is 15 in 10 HPF. Accompanied with neoplastic invasion is marked trabecular bone lysis and remodeling. There are also multifocal coagulative necrosis and a mixed population of inflammatory cells with some granulation tissue formation.

Morphological diagnosis:

Joint: metastatic carcinoma with bone lysis and proliferation, soft tissue necrosis, and inflammation


Carcinoma invasion and proliferation destroyed the joint architectures, elicited bone lysis and remodeling, and resulted in swelling of the joint. This neoplasm is deemed to be metastatic, although the origin is unknown. In cats, urethral carcinoma and mammary gland tumors are the most common carcinomas with bone invasion. Review the previous surgical history, physical and image examinations are warranted.

Melissa - mom to tri-angel Jonesy and (only) four other felines

Member Since:
22 August 2008
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1 March 2021 - 10:20 am
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This is a carcinoma rather than a sarcoma and it sounds like this is not the primary site but it has metastasized from another location. Did your vet happen to take chest xrays?  I have seen cats with primary lung tumors metastasize to the toes so I guess they could also spread to a leg. Typically if there is a urethral tumor the cat would have problems urinating and a mammary tumor is certainly less likely in a male cat and should be palpable to the touch.

I would consult an oncologist if you are able in case they think that chemo might be of benefit.


On The Road

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24 September 2009
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1 March 2021 - 1:34 pm
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Dr. Pam thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your feedback!

Tripawds Founders Jim and Rene | | |

Member Since:
1 February 2021
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2 March 2021 - 6:58 pm
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Yes, thank you so much for your insight! The last part the report makes a lot more sense to me now - I didn't realize that it was thought of as having metastasized from another location -- was just thinking that it is a type of tumor that is likely to spread. 

We actually had him fully x-rayed 10 days before the amputation and there was no sign of cancer anywhere else. She checked him for lumps twice before and once after the surgery. Pre-surgery blood work was within normal ranges, and he hasn't had any issues besides the limping. He has healed from the amp really well, too. That's not to say that I am taking it for granted that it was all taken care of with the amputation, but if there was something else going on prior to the leg issues, you wouldn't know it. 

Thank you again to taking the time to read it! 

Melissa - mom to tri-angel Jonesy and (only) four other felines

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