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DrJessicaO, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 1062
Experience:  7 years of private practice with dogs, cats, exotics, pocket pets, etc
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8 year old dog with hip and elbow dysplasia current has a

Customer Question

8 year old dog with hip and elbow dysplasia current has a spindle cell sarcoma high grade growing on her left side. she has already had one remove in febraury 2015 and its regrown. my vet has advised surgery for second but im unsure and would like more advise

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  DrJessicaO replied 2 years ago.

Hi there,
My name is***** and I would like to help answer your question regarding Jet. Spindle cell sarcomas fall into a category of tumor known as soft tissue sarcomas, and as you likely already know, they are graded 1, 2, and 3 with 3 having the greatest chance of both local recurrence and systemic spread (metastasis). The problem with these tumors is that they branch out like a tree, so even when a wide margin resection is attempted, it is not always successful in obtaining "clean margins" and if any cells are left behind, they can grow, divide, and cause recurrence (which is what has already happened in this case). Also when a tumor recurs, it can transform into an even more malignant and aggressive tumor.
The best medical option is to have 3 view chest xrays performed to ensure that there are no obvious masses within the lungs from disease spread. If these are clear, ideally a CT scan should be performed prior to surgery to determine the likelihood that surgery will completely remove the tumor. If the tumor cannot be completely removed, it should still be "debulked" but then follow-up therapy would be advised (either radiation or oral medication).
If the tumor is not removed, it will continue to grow, likely quite rapidly and may become ulcerated as it outgrows the skin supply. It also may spread to other organ systems (most commonly the lungs).
I realize this is not always a cut and dry decision, and factors such as age, Jet's other medical issues, and costs may come into play. In the end, it is very much your decision.
I should also mention- if you are interested in more of a palliative treatment (just to provide stability for a period of time- likely a few months)- an option called metronomic chemotherapy could be considered. This is very low dose, daily chemotherapy combined with an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) that you give at home and is tolerated very well in dogs. It is much less costly than aggressive surgery or radiation therapy but is not considered a "curative" therapy and is used only for short-term control. Blood work also will need to be performed routinely with this option.
I hope this information helps.
Please let me know if you need anything else,
-Dr. Jessica