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Bear-Shaped Dog Update.

Posted on 2007.02.15 at 17:20
Tags: ,
Mandy had her follow-up appointment today.

Now, her paw had been getting swollen, but the vet and my wife both agreed it was likely due to the bandage, so we removed that bandage yesterday, intending to replace it with a more lightly-wrapped one... But my wife, who had planned to acquire bandaging supplies on her way from work had forgotten them. We didn't even have tape. So we made her a temporary bandage out of (I promise this is true!) half a sanitary pad and three socks. [the first two wrapped around like an ace bandage, the third on the dog and pulled up to her shoulder.]

Mandy had no objection whatsover to this, other than the tenderness when we handled the swollen footie. She never once, in my sight, tried to remove or chew the sock, the original bandage, or the wound.

When I got home, the "bandage" had come off. She was leaving her stitches alone, although one had come out, at the bottom, where the most flexing happens. Well, of course I freaked out, and tried to re-assemble the bandage, and we set off toward teh vet's for the follow up appointment. The bandage was back off -- not through her efforts, but just walking -- before we reached the car, and when I put it back in the car, again, by the time we got into the vet's office, it was off again.

I was trying to re-re-wrap it when the vet came by, and I braced myself for a scolding, but the vet said, "Never mind, the incision looks fine, the opening in the bottom is good for drainage. Just put the cone back on her if she goes after it."

What she had was a peripheral nerve-sheath tumor, low-grade. This is a canine soft tissue sarcoma. Yes, it's cancer.

The vet didn't have a "prognosis." He said he was going to send a copy of the report to the Oncologist for more information.

The report calls for "Surgical margins of at least three cm." The margins (this means the tissue removed around and along with the lump) on the lump he removed were less than 1 mm. So, because the location didn't allow for removal of as much tissue as the standards call for, she's at greater risk for recurrance.

The vet mentioned the possibility of letting the leg heal, and then removing more tissue to try to make up the surgical margins.

Now, the "Comments" section of the report says:

"Canine soft tissue sarcomas (STSS) are a diverse group of malignant neoplasms of mesenchymal (connective tissue) origin. This group of neoplasms includes soft tissue sarcoma of of peripheral nerve sheath origin (neurofibrosarcoma, malignant schwannoma), hemangiopericytoma, myxosarcoma, and fibrosarcoma."

So, if I read this correctly, because it's a peripheral nerve-sheath tumor, it is probably either neurofibrosarcoma or malignant schwannoma. I so wish hte word malignant weren't in there.

The comments say that in cases where adequate surgical margins are not attainable, ancillary radiation therapy has been shown to provide effective long-term control. The vet asked if I wanted that, and said, "Big bucks." I asked what the prognosis is with or whithout, and that's a question on the list for the Veterinary Oncologists.

So there's the news. The short answer is, although it's cancer, I don't know yet.


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isha_libran at 2007-02-17 19:02 (UTC) (Link)
Aw, you poor thing. I have a dog, too, and I know how bad you feel when he/she is in pain and you're helpless to do anything. *hugs* I hope things get better soon.
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2007-02-17 20:06 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, Isha!

I'm actually very optimistic, at this point. Based on my research, this is a cancer that has a very low rate of metastasis. If the Vet had been able to achieve the kinds of margins the standards call for -- if I've read this correctly -- we'd be all done now. On a limb, gettig those margins is damned near impossible, but I think all it means is that the same soret of tumor is likely to grow back.

Radiation is, I'm told, quite expensive, and I may be unable to afford it. But it looks to me like a worst-case scenario is amputation, and while I'm certainly not going to claim that that would be a good thing, I've known lots of thoroughly happy tripod dogs.
isha_libran at 2007-02-17 21:10 (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you're so optimistic! I'm sure everything will work out. =)
Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2007-02-18 00:57 (UTC) (Link)
I tend to believe Albert Camus: "Happiness, too, is inevitable."
sarahenany at 2007-02-18 08:45 (UTC) (Link)

Oh, sweetie!

I guess you've gone to bed. I am trying to access my Hotmail, and it's shut down - I think the problem is from their end, as both IE and Opera won't open it. I know you did tell me where you live, but I can't remember right now... am frantically searching your website. So if you read this, please reply right here, just city and state, pretty please?

Plus - having read this, yeah, I support your optimism. Back in 1993, my dad had a local carcinoma in his tongue - malignant and all - and it was pretty darn big, too, over 2.5 cm - and he had it out and a bit of radiotherapy, but anyhow, it didn't metastize,even though it had been there for seven months. And he's still alive and well today, no recurrence or anything (touch wood). The doc said that the type of carcinoma that's local *really* doesn't metastize unless you ignore it for years and years.

So, a dose of realistic optimism there.

And, um? "I knew when I met ehr at the animal shelter two and a half years ago that we were in this for the long haul. I won't be hanging in there any the less now."

Jonathan Andrew Sheen
leviathan0999 at 2007-02-18 08:53 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Oh, sweetie!

I guess you've gone to bed.

And gotten back up again!

I live in Pepperell, Massachusetts.

(And, please take a look at that listing to see the postage, BTW!)

Thanks so much for the good thoughts about Mandy. She's such a joy to me -- although she's, you should pardon the expression, in teh dog-house right now, for removing her bandages and licking her incision. I had to put her back in the cone! Aaaargh!
isha_libran at 2007-02-18 10:50 (UTC) (Link)
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