"Libby" - Cat with Fibrosarcoma
The most common cause of lameness in cats is as a result of cat bite injuries, so when I noticed "Libby" on my waiting list with a "sore leg" I wasn't anticipating anything too worrying. However, on examination it became clear that the associated swelling was not typical of a cat bite injury and the alarm bells started to ring. I expressed my concerns to the owner and made it clear that a lack of improvement with antibiotics after 48 hours would initiate further investigation.
"Libby's" owners realised the potential seriousness of the situation and returned dutifully 2 days later for a fine needle biopsy to be performed on the area of concern. Results were obtained within the next few days and a diagnosis of fibrosarcoma was confirmed.
Whilst as devastating as this type of cancer can be, all things are relative and everything considered, this is exactly the type of cancer that can be cured, albeit with radical surgery. No-one would like to contemplate the idea of limb amputation for their pet, however if this provides the prospect of a complete cure while at the same time "Libby" can continue to lead a full and active life how many owners would turn this option down? This option is only acceptable because this type of cancer (fibrosarcoma) rarely spreads elsewhere early in the course of the disease. Providing the entire cancer can be removed early then a complete cure with no further medication or treatment is possible.
In Libby's case only 1 week elapsed between initial presentation and surgical excision. Serious consideration must be given to the patient's ability to cope after such major surgery and in this regard cats and especially "Libby" make model patients. There are very different considerations with large breed dogs with more severe types of cancer and additional significant arthritis affecting other limbs. Often in these cases limb amputation does not provide a satisfactory option. Careful case selection on an individual basis is imperative.
Fortunately, in "Libby's" case I believe both she and her owners got this one absolutely spot on and provides a great deal of satisfaction to the Fairfield team!