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hello, does anyone have experience w/ this dilemna? on christmas eve my little molly was diagnosed with a benign cancer near & below her right dewclaw. there is not enough tissue to suture it back together after removing the mass, so amputation at the shoulder is apparently the only option. she had a battery of tests showing she's ok for anesthesia, but that process really threw her for a loop, & the antibiotics she's on seem to bring her down, make her not feel well, & have loose stools. she is totally traumatized by the entire carrier/travel/clinic experience. she's 16 & now weighs only 5 lbs. she's a feisty little girl, but i don't know how she'd take this major ordeal. i know tripods generally do fine after recovering, but i'm very concerned about this whole thing. i'd very much appreciate your thoughts, knowledge, & wisdom on this...
thank you!
 

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Poor little Molly. At 16 years old and 5 lbs., I don't know that I'd put her through it. If it's benign, what's the prognosis if you didn't have it removed?

I'm so sorry you're going through this. :patback
 

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There are a lot of ifs in my answer but I have to agree with Marie.
*IF* it was my guy and he was 16 years old
*IF* the growth is benign or even a very slow growing cancer
*IF* he was otherwise healthy
*IF* he was eating/drinking/ Eliminating
*IF* it wasn't interfering with him getting around and not getting caught/torn during activity

Then I'd probably just leave it as is. That would be an awful lot of stress and strain on her poor little body.
 

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I am so sorry you and your cat Molly is going through this awful ordeal. I think you need to consider the cat and how much she has already been through, would she be able to handle more? Sometimes you need to do what is best for the cat's sake even though it is not what you want. I am sorry, it's never an easy choice. Please keep us updated, we are here for you.
 

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thank you marie, mow mow, & kittywitty. the tumor is growing. if the amp is not done, presumably it will continue to do so, be at constant risk for infection, be always bandaged w/ dressing changes every 3-5 days, & clinic visits to totally clean it up every few weeks, & then?.... she is just now starting to limp slightly & favor that leg just a bit. she's comfortable & basically content, eating, & poops are better w/ change in antibiotic & fortiflora added to food.
but, last summer her behavior started changing; she became more subdued, less involved in play, not greeting me when i came home, not sleeping on the bed (those activities are about at zero now), her fur started looking greasy & matted, & she lost some weight. basically she became less & less "herself". in retrospect, those trends started about when she started licking her paw more & more until it eventually became a wound. none of the vets suspected cancer 'til she went in for removal of the mass 12/23/10, & a preliminary look at cells under the microscope suggested cancer, confirmed by the lab 12/24/10. the abdominal ultrasound, chest xrays, blood panel, & urine tests showed no evidence of other cancer. the vets have not linked her behavior changes to the benign cancer.
i only see 3 choices, none of which seem appropriate! leaving it alone doesn't seem practical for very long at all. i'm trying to be perceptive, but she's not telling me it's time to go. she still has big bright eyes that light up at mealtime, & she stretches out on my lap, purring & kneading for hours! i want only for her to be healthy & happy; for her to be 'herself' again, to have her normal life back. the facts say the operation is her best chance for quality life, but it scares me terribly. i'd hate to put her thru that & still not have her 'life' back...
i have scheduled surgery for 1/18/11, to secure a date; i can cancel anytime.
i'm between a rock, a hard place, & a brick wall--& my poor kitty's in the middle of it all.
again, any ideas are very welcome. thank you...
 

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As she is older, be sure to get a full work-up of blood test a few days before the surgery. This usually warns about potential problems that might cause the anesthetic to have if anything is "off".

My cat had her leg amputated when she was 2 years old. She was born without the bottom half of her back legs, and somehow she broke her thigh... the way she scoots/drags herself around, putting pins/rods in it, she would've just pulled them out again. So me and the vet decided to amputate.
Eventually she got used to walking a different way to compensate. Of course she was in quite a bit of pain and not herself for the week or so after surgery as she recovered. Be sure to get a good pain killer, because the stress of being sore can slow down the healing. If the pet is not stressed because of hurting, the healing will go faster, which is good for an older cat.
 

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I'm so sorry for what Molly is going through. I have no relevant experience, but from what you've posted, I too would proceed with the surgery, since the alternative seems worse. It's so sad that it comes down to choosing between the worst of two evils.
 

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...the antibiotics she's on seem to bring her down, make her not feel well, & have loose stools...
mollyspop- there are two things I would do if faced with all of this. First, while she's on the antibiotics, I'd be giving her a probiotic to get her gastro system back in order. You should be able to get one from your Vet - here's one that's often used Purina Veterinary Diets - FortiFlora - Feline Formula and another http://www.petag.com/images/products/Bene-Bac Pet Gel PDS.pdf - this one is available at pet stores.

The other thing that strikes me is the very thing that brought you here - the possibility that someone else has faced this exact thing/how it was handled - and, perhaps whether/not there just might be an alternative treatment plan. There are groups of people online dedicated to treating/managing just about all the common feline diseases/conditions. The combined knowledge and experience in these groups generally exceeds that of anyone's individual Vet - and, in my experience, will have information on the very latest treatment options. There's one for Cancer that's been in existence for 12-13 years, and that's where I'd also be taking my questions. If you want to persue it, you'll find the group here feline-cancer : For people whose cats (may) have cancer (Understand that I'm not in any way questioning/etc the Vets you are consulting...this is quite simply the first thing I personally would do.)

I wish you and Molly the very best!
 

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Not an easy decision to make at all. I can just say that I have a tripod kitty who does very well (also a front leg amputation) The surgery didn't seem to phase him at all BUT he was a kitten at the time.

Her lower body weight and lower activity level might actually help her. Sully has gotten a bit chunky which makes getting around more difficult for him. I would say as long as she's healthy otherwise and they adequately manage her pain, then its worth a try.
 

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I just brought home a 7-year-old female shorthaired cat from a no kill shelter, which was diagnosed with fibro sarcoma (cancer from vaccine reaction, most likely leukemia or rabies vaccine)

She is skin and bones and it has spread. This cat was mismanaged by a vet (older man in his 70s that does work for the shelter cuz he is cheap) He removed the tumor 5 times without checking the margins and sending the tumor into be checked if it was malignant. Then the kitty was put thru chemo and radiation but it spread to far. When I became aware of this I contacted my vet to find out what is going on and what is the prognosis. Of coarse all the people at the big shelter took that as an insult and fireworks erupted. After the chemo and radiation is finished her prognosis is 2 months of life left.

I brought her home with me so shed have peace and love and happiness before she left this world. She wasn’t being watched over at the shelter. Her feet and lets were caked with clumping litter. My vet came over to my home and found the cancer has spread and she had kidney infection, UTI and dehydrated. They didn’t amputate the leg they found the tumor in.

This is strictly my opinion. From the conversations I’ve had with friends who have done chemo and radiation on their companion pets they wouldn’t do it again. For me it’s about determining quality of life that is left. After this surgery to remove the cancer and amputate how long does the surgeon predict she has to live? What are the % chances that the cancer has spread? Would she be better off being on pain meds and not have surgery and spend her last days with you doting on her.

I’ve had human friends decide not to pursue chemo and what is does to you and just to make the most of what is left of their lives and make it meaningful. I lean towards that since I’ve experienced it with humans and animals.

If you believe in animal communication I would have a communicator talk with your cat about this to help you make the decision. What ever you decide our heart and prayers are with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Given that she is bright-eyed, enjoys long purrs on your lap, and that it's been deemed unlikely that the malevolent cancer has spread to other parts of the body, an that her kidneys and liver are strong enough for the surgery, I'd personally go for it, but that's just from what's been written above.

Since she is older, she probably isn't that active, and won't need to do a lot of walking/hopping.

Certainly, the sooner her surgery, the better her chances will be, with regard to the cancer.

But ultimately, this is between you, her, and the vet. I wish you and her the very best.
thanks, that's what i'm thinking. she's shown no evidence whatsoever that she's giving up, so it's really her best option.
 

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As she is older, be sure to get a full work-up of blood test a few days before the surgery. This usually warns about potential problems that might cause the anesthetic to have if anything is "off".

My cat had her leg amputated when she was 2 years old. She was born without the bottom half of her back legs, and somehow she broke her thigh... the way she scoots/drags herself around, putting pins/rods in it, she would've just pulled them out again. So me and the vet decided to amputate.
Eventually she got used to walking a different way to compensate. Of course she was in quite a bit of pain and not herself for the week or so after surgery as she recovered. Be sure to get a good pain killer, because the stress of being sore can slow down the healing. If the pet is not stressed because of hurting, the healing will go faster, which is good for an older cat.
yes, thanks. glad your kitty overcame her leg isues.
they'll do an updated blood panel & a physical evaluation first. she'll have pain meds, too.
 

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Thanks Pesto. Yes she is in the last days of her life. She finally ate tonight for the first time since I brought her home. I had given her the antibiotic with baby food turkey mixed with it. She then wanted more. So she ate two cap full. That isnt much but its better than not eating at all. My vet is very sensitive to her condition and will help me determine when she needs to pass over to the other side. It always helps when you have someone else doing it with you. she doesnt move much but loves to stare in your eyes when your gentlely talking to her. She is pure love.
 

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mollyspop- there are two things I would do if faced with all of this. First, while she's on the antibiotics, I'd be giving her a probiotic to get her gastro system back in order. You should be able to get one from your Vet - here's one that's often used Purina Veterinary Diets - FortiFlora - Feline Formula and another http://www.petag.com/images/products/Bene-Bac Pet Gel PDS.pdf - this one is available at pet stores.

The other thing that strikes me is the very thing that brought you here - the possibility that someone else has faced this exact thing/how it was handled - and, perhaps whether/not there just might be an alternative treatment plan. There are groups of people online dedicated to treating/managing just about all the common feline diseases/conditions. The combined knowledge and experience in these groups generally exceeds that of anyone's individual Vet - and, in my experience, will have information on the very latest treatment options. There's one for Cancer that's been in existence for 12-13 years, and that's where I'd also be taking my questions. If you want to persue it, you'll find the group here feline-cancer : For people whose cats (may) have cancer (Understand that I'm not in any way questioning/etc the Vets you are consulting...this is quite simply the first thing I personally would do.)

I wish you and Molly the very best!
thanks. i have been giving her fortiflora & it has helped firm up her stools, & she's feeling better. and thanks also for the website; very good info there.
 

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I just brought home a 7-year-old female shorthaired cat from a no kill shelter, which was diagnosed with fibro sarcoma (cancer from vaccine reaction, most likely leukemia or rabies vaccine)

She is skin and bones and it has spread. This cat was mismanaged by a vet (older man in his 70s that does work for the shelter cuz he is cheap) He removed the tumor 5 times without checking the margins and sending the tumor into be checked if it was malignant. Then the kitty was put thru chemo and radiation but it spread to far. When I became aware of this I contacted my vet to find out what is going on and what is the prognosis. Of coarse all the people at the big shelter took that as an insult and fireworks erupted. After the chemo and radiation is finished her prognosis is 2 months of life left.

I brought her home with me so shed have peace and love and happiness before she left this world. She wasn’t being watched over at the shelter. Her feet and lets were caked with clumping litter. My vet came over to my home and found the cancer has spread and she had kidney infection, UTI and dehydrated. They didn’t amputate the leg they found the tumor in.

This is strictly my opinion. From the conversations I’ve had with friends who have done chemo and radiation on their companion pets they wouldn’t do it again. For me it’s about determining quality of life that is left. After this surgery to remove the cancer and amputate how long does the surgeon predict she has to live? What are the % chances that the cancer has spread? Would she be better off being on pain meds and not have surgery and spend her last days with you doting on her.

I’ve had human friends decide not to pursue chemo and what is does to you and just to make the most of what is left of their lives and make it meaningful. I lean towards that since I’ve experienced it with humans and animals.

If you believe in animal communication I would have a communicator talk with your cat about this to help you make the decision. What ever you decide our heart and prayers are with her.

you have a very kind heart, taking in that poor girl & helping her at the end of her life...

molly's cancer is benign, so it shouldn't spread, & she should live out however long a reasonably healthy 16 year old cat has to live after the surgery. i would not subject her to chemo; in her case, that's a situation where the treatment may be worse than the disease. not sold on animal communication yet, but my heart feels she is showing me that she is not ready to quit, so i believe this is her best chance at a good life.
 

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Presto - Well, she's not really a kitten anymore at 10 years old! LOL Her mother was a semi-feral (pet cat that had to stay outside all the time), and had a litter under the patio steps. One day as she was leading the kits out into the yard (hunting lesson, probably), I noticed one was hopping more like a rabbit than tottling like a kitten. So I caught it, and it had stubs for back legs! She was barely keeping up with the rest of the litter, and I knew she wouldn't be able to hunt properly or run from predators, so I kept her.
At first I sort of wondered if my dad got her with the lawn mower - but for one thing, her legs weren't mangled, they just...ended. Besides, I'm sure the noise would've scared her off long before the mower could get close enough to do that. My final conclusion is that probably the umbilical cord got wrapped around her lower end...because her tail is short too - if you pick her up by the scruff, it ends where her legs do. OR, somebody on here mentioned a mother cat chewing off a tail because she got it mixed up with the umbilical cord and/or placenta...maybe that happened.

Anyhoo! She scoots around, using her front legs to haul forward, then does like an "inch-worm" kind of motion to bring up her hind end towards her front feet, etc. Her tail is very thick and muscular, as she sort of tries to use it as a crutch!
I do think she's getting arthritis (I would guess in the shoulder area, as that's where all the work is done to propel herself), as she doesn't like to move around much. She gets up to go eat and potty, but that's about it. I started giving her Synflex (the pet version) recently, and hope that helps a bit.

I have already decided that if Paizly (or Nebbie too!) gets a condition that is going to make her suffer (either the condition itself, or a whole bunch of treatment hassle), I'll just let her go. Yes, I would keep her forever if I could, but it wouldn't be showing honest love to make her miserable just so I can have her longer. There's so many cats in shelters that need a chance at a good life, I'll consider that a fair trade for her when the time comes!
 
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