Scarlett’s Illness

We’ve had some bad news in the past few weeks. Scarlett has been diagnosed with cancer.

I found a small lump near her front leg on her chest. So I took her to the local vet to get it checked out. When the doctor felt it he could tell it was solid and probably not a cyst. His suspicions were confirmed when took a needle biopsy. We got the results back from the pathologist and it was classified as a “probable sarcoma”. The vet called me with the results and was sure to explain that they recommended removal because there were signs that it was likely a malignant tumor.

So I reached out to my friends in Southern California and asked for vet recommendations, since I didn’t have a vet that I really trusted. I have to say that I got quite a few helpful emails and I really appreciate everyone’s concern. Ultimately, after talking to 5 or 6 vets, I settled on Laguna Hills Animal Hospital.

I met with Dr. Sultzer, who examined Scarlett and reviewed the pathology report. He laid out several options and explained that if it were a more aggressive cancer, our best chance would be to remove it surgically being sure to take enough tissue that no cancerous cells remained. He gave me the option of doing a biopsy to determine the type of cancer we are dealing with, so I agreed. He was very kind to suggest all the options making sure I knew the financial ramifications as well. I was not choosing the cheap route. I wanted to be sure.

When I asked if there was anything else we could do to see if the cancer had already spread, he suggested an X-Ray, which came back clean.

We had the biopsy and the results were not good. It is a fibrosarcoma, which is locally agressive. I did some research online that basically said if you can get it all with surgery, it probably won’t come back. However, this type of tumor has little roots that grow into the surrounding tissue, and if you leave some of the root, it will probably come back.

She is set for surgery on Wednesday. They gave me the option of calling in a specialized surgeon, but there was no guarentee either way. And I like Dr. Sultzer, I hope he can take it all. After the surgery they will do a full biopsy and inspect the margins of the tissue, to see if there are cancer cells around the edges, then we’ll know.

Of course, there are still more options: more surgery, radiation, chemotherapy (yes, they have it for dogs too). I will keep you all posted.

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