Misty: Doggess of Destruction versus Cancer

Last year, Misty, our foster fail, turned six in January. While I was training her, she slipped. I thought nothing of it, but she continued to favor her left front leg. By March 2021 it was becoming a concern. I am a certified massage therapist, so I did exercises to strengthen her front paw and used a brace (Suitical Recovery Sleeve Dog, $35). It is so easy to re-injure a sprain.

I decided to make it spiffier and sewed on a dragon patch.

Yet at the end of May, my mother died and then mid-June, my oldest dog died. Things became very messy. But at things slowed down, Misty’s limp continued and I saw that there was a red spot on one of her paw pads.

It did not go away and instead grew. When the vet saw it on 25 June 2021, the vet wasn’t that concerned.  By 21 August 2021, we changed vets and  I was given ointment to apply.  Misty still walked on it, but it was protected and I found a use for my old socks.

By that time, it looked like a circular blister or callous.

However, by 16 September 2021,, the growth was pronounced, with a definite line around it. It was tender at the very tip. She would not allow the vet to take a biopsy and at the time, we were at a stage in the pandemic where we still weren’t allow to be in the same room as the vet.

The vet could not make an appointment for surgery until almost two months later.  I made an appointment with a specialist on 22 September 2021 (VCA Lomita). Her toe was diagnosed as a soft tissue sarcoma. Her surgery was that Friday (24 September 2021). Instead of a toe amputation we opted to have the mass excised.

From the Diagnostic Report:


Expanding the dermis is an unencapsulated, poorly demarcated, moderately cellular, raised mass composed of neoplastic spindle and stellate cells arranged in loose streams and lobules amongst a prominent myxomatous and fine fibrovascular stroma. The neoplastic spindle cells have indistinct borders, scant lacy amphiphilic cytoplasm, and oval to elongate nuclei with condensed or stippled chromatin and inapparent nucleoli. Anisocytosis and anisokaryosis are mild to moderate with 3 mitotic figures in ten high magnification fields. There is focal underlying ulceration.

The microscopic findings were: soft tissue sarcoma, Grade 1 (of 3). According to the report, “Grade 1 STSs have the lowest likelihood of recurrence and recurrence is directly linked to completeness of surgical excision.”

You can read the report.

She had an appointment for a bandage change two weeks later (2 October 2021).  She got out of her bandage, so we had it re-wrapped during the first week. She was supposed to be off her feet for the first two weeks, but by the second week, we were running her.

The vet decided to keep her bandage on another week and she saw the vet again on 9 October 2021 and on 16 October 2021.

During this time, out of the blue, this wonderful organization FABB (Fur Angel Blessing Blanketeers) contacted us on Facebook and made her this beautiful blanket. Please don’t tell me social media is bad. There’s is some good there. 

I know the vet wanted us to take an easy, but that can differ from dog to dog. One month after surgery, this is Misty doing agility 4-inches below her AKC preferred height.

On 17 November 2021, we saw a specialist (Dr. David Bommarito) in Culver City at Veterinary Cancer Group.







To help her other paws, we gave got her shoes. We liked these pink shoes from Wagwear because they were slightly stretchy and had traction. We later ordered a red pair. The WagWellies (red) were better for cold weather and rain. The pink (Mojave) was better for warm weather. She ended up running agility practice in these shoes. We began slow and for a few months, even when we jumped her, we jumped her at 16 inches.


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