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Tripawd Cat – Life After amputation (Soft Tissue Sarcoma)


Soft Tissue Sarcoma – what it looked like and how it changes

January 30th, 2017 · 4 Comments · Diagnosis of Soft Tissue

Soft Tissue Sarcoma- what it looked like and how it changes

This is how we started this journey, and I would like people to see what this Soft Tissue Sarcoma looks like and how it changes this is how Purrkins became a tripawd.

One day Purrkins came and laid his paw out, he put it on my hand!  It was if he said hey Mom look something Is not right here!

Paw is bent this is at its largest size

February 22, 2016

I saw this lump and my heart sank what is that??? Where did that come from?  I felt it, he was not bothered by prodding it. We called the vet immediately and got an appointment for the next day.

February 23rd the next day it looks like nothing ?? The day we see the vet and see what this is.

February 23rd

The vet said wow how did you even see this with all his fur. He had never seen anything like this on a cat in this location. Is he limping at all? NO

We did a needle biopsy and some bloodwork.
Biopsy comes back as below. Inconclusive as it has different considerations.
When the vet called me with the results, he said it’s not cancer its a form of a bursa.

Ok, great! I was so relieved! I asked could you please send me the results so I can have a copy.


With the results above and now, the lump seems to be going away.
The Vet said we could do a wait and see approach, or try steroids and wait and see. We have been prescribed steroids in our other animals a couple of times and prefer not to use them unless we have to. We chose the wait and see approach.

I took pictures of this thing every day for months!

This lump changed depending on Purrkins activity level.

You would not know there is a lump there

The 2nd lump has appeared its hard to see but its there, above the round lump

The 2nd Lump- its hard to see but its there, above the round lump

2nd Lump- better view

Back to the vet we go!
He rechecks and confirms yes another lump, but he still was thinking it could be related to the first one.

( Bursa, Injury, swelling now effecting the above)
I asked them to do a X-ray to see if we could see anything more.
X-ray showed nothing, most importantly there was no bone involvement.

He then said he would like to do a surgical biopsy. I panicked over the surgical biopsy, little did I know what was to come!

We were afraid if it was, in fact, a bursa, we could do more damage with the surgical biopsy.

We were not comfortable so we set out to get more information we got two more opinions. One from our Holistic vet, one from another local surgeon. I did a online vet opinion total of 4 opinions,  all say to do the surgical biopsy and find out what this is.

Hopefully, you can get the lump off when its small before it goes further.

Ok, we have a plan we scheduled the surgical biopsy with the local surgeon rather than his local vet.

We took Purrkins in for his surgical biopsy. June 14th,2016

We took him in the morning and picked him up late afternoon.
The Surgeon (Dr.Zarka) plan was to go in and take all or as much of the main lump as possible and biopsy the second, when she got into the surgery she was not prepared to see what she saw! It was entangled, and cottage cheese like.

She took a good wedge sample and closed it back up!


If we could go back , we would of skipped the needle biopsy and have done the surgical biopsy. It was a delay in the diagnosis and time for cancer to be growing. It was a waste of time and money. I totally understand the less invasive procedure !

I do not believe we would choose that route again!

Purrkins did great thru the surgery he was given a time release pain med & a long-lasting antibiotic, he came home dopey but wired!  He stayed up 2 days!  Which meant we were up for 2 days ;). He did not need a cone, we were sent home with a soft fabric cone just in case.

He was the purrfect patient never once bothered his incision.
We limited his activity. It went way better then I could have imagined it too.

Surgical biopsy pictures

June 14th

June 17th

June 17th in the evening it started to get angry

The Vet called Mark and told him the results are back. She was very sorry she had terrible news. It is CANCER a soft tissue sarcoma!

Mark and were just sick! I cried my heart out.

We took Purrkins back to get his stitches removed.
The vet mentioned amputation immediately and then proceeded to tell us how well cats can adjust on 3 legs.

My eyes about popped out of my head. What? This bump and your want to cut off his entire leg?

I’m just absorbing the cancer diagnosis, and now we are talking about amputation of his entire front leg?

He is only 6 and healthy how can this be?  Mark and I always have described Purrkins as the most loving, sweetest, gentlest soul! He is my velcro man!

Why-why-why! Of course with any cancer or disease, we get angry and sad and then have a million questions!

Biopsy results

She referred us to Michigan State Veterinary Clinic Oncology.

July/05/16 That appointment seemed to take FUREVER to come on the other hand I didn’t really want it to come. I was scared to death!

Appointment day came with oncology at MSU –  They explain the soft tissue sarcoma diagnosis and that they want to do an ultrasound, chest X-ray, blood work, and urinalysis.  Before we even talk about any options.

Soft Tissue sarcoma if it had the chance to spread it would go to the lungs.  They want to rule that out first.

We leave Purrkins for the day.  That was a HORRIFIC, LONG, STRESSFUL DAY!

MSU called Purrkins is done we can come get him and discuss all the results.

The chest X-ray, ultrasound and bloodwork all results came back with no apparent spread. Although it was mentioned it still could of spread and its too early for it to be showing up. (microscopic cells)

Our options going forward are surgery to remove as much of the 2 masses as possible.

Followed by radiation 16-20 treatments that would be every day Monday thru Friday weekends off. Purrkins would have to be sedated daily. With a guarantee of 2 years of keeping it under control. The cost of  surgery would be $1400 cost of radiation would be between $7,000 – $9,000.

If the cancer returns we could then amputate $2,000-2,500

Our other option was to amputate now.

We wanted the best quality of life possible for Purrkins the first option did not sit well. Purrkins having another surgery and then 16-20 daily treatments!

The toll it would take on him, surgery, going every day, being sedated daily for a 2-year guarantee?

Then we still would have an option to amputate later if the cancer returns.

Put 7-9,000 dollars into a leg we could then cut off later? What? The role of money and this world is what it is. Everything has a cost ! That’s the worst when we are looking at health issues for our animals or our family members!

We looked at this at every angle there was, and without the cost playing a role into our decision, yes it had to be considered this is the real world, but we wanted what was best for our Purrkins and for him to have the best quality of life he could! We would borrow money to make this happen!

We googled and googled and googled some more; we talked to our Holistic Vet, He felt the best approach would be to get rid of the source of cancer (arm) and to continue using Supplements and diet to increase his immune system.

Are other options were-

We could try a Neoplasene
This would need to be monitored closely with our Holistic Vet and Traditional Vet working together.

We could try Chinese medicine.

We asked our family their opinions. We gathered as much information as we could on Soft Tissue sarcomas in cats.

I’ll never forget Mark saying there is an entire website dedicated to 3 legged animals!  Tripawds

We joined asked the scary questions in the forum, read all of the excellent advice and input from others, we read and researched some more.

Our forum post

We decided the best shot at beating this cancer and Purrkins having a full life was to amputate his arm and get rid of the source (cancer)!

This was obviously a sickening discussion. It was the hardest, scariest, decision we ever had to make!

Our vets told us Cats adjust very well with 3 legs. I literally read every cat blog on Tripawds, I watched the 3 legged cat videos, to see that yes this can be done and Purrkins can still have a quality life.

Tripawds and All the Kitty Bloggers helped with our decision!
We wouldn’t have made this decision without all the wealth of knowledge we got from Tripawds.

Thank you to all of you! We are furever grateful!

We called the oncologist at MSU and told him our decision, and we would proceed with amputation.

Purrkins appointment scheduled for July 26th. He would go on July 26 the and spend the night. Surgery would be on the morning July 27, 2016.



4 Comments so far ↓

  • benny55

    Thanks Holly! You have done an outstanding job of documenting the journey that brought Purrkins here.

    His blog is an invaluable source of information for anyone starting this journey. The photos were a great way to monitor the “,lump” and note any distinctive changes.

    Thank you for all you do!!


    Sally and Alumni Happy Hannah and Merry Myrtle and Frankie too!

  • purrkins

    Thank you Sally,

    We learn as we go don’t we!

    We wanted to pass on anything we have learned to help others in this journey.

    I had no idea what I was doing, nor did I have the time when we started his blog so it was coming rather late. 🙂

    Love & Hugs!!

  • voodoo

    wow, what a story! Im feeling all the emotions while reading your story! I think that all of our stories are very helpfull to others and what we are going through can really help and make a difference in other cases. Kisses to Purrking! miaou!

    • purrkins

      Thank you, This journey is emotional for all of us.
      I agree I think all our stories will help others some day, that was our hope in sharing ours.
      Hugs to you and Regal Novak!

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