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Advice on mast cell tumour in dog please

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  • Advice on mast cell tumour in dog please


    Sorry in advance for the long post but any help would be appreciated. My beautiful Tilly dog was diagnosed with a mast cell tumour last week, I am also awaiting test results on two further lumps found. She is 10 years old and we have had her for four years, she came to us from a breeder who wanted to rehome her after having had four litters, the last one being a Caesarian. I have a consultation with vet this afternoon and want to book the surgery. I have questions coming out of my ears but could anyone advise o the main things to ask and to make sure I get sorted please?

    This is what I have in my head so far:

    Medications that have been mentioned by people: prednisone, benedryl, Pepcid, Omeprazole, Famodatine, Palladia, IP6 Inositol

    Surgery things that I’ve heard mentioned: Margins, ct scan, ultrasound, biopsies. Do I need to ask vet to do scans or ultrasounds whilst she is under for surgery? Or do tests on lymph nodes, liver or spleen then too?

    After surgery or before: grading, staging, chemo, radiotherapy.

    Diet: many different opinions on this. Tilly is on Caesar as it is all she will eat. No negatives about why she is on it please as it’s her choice not ours at the moment.

    Sorry, for the long post, I’m new to all of this and very emotional as I only lost my beloved pony at the end of last year and my beautiful dog has been helping me through it....

  • #2
    Sorry for the news you received. My dog Savannah has had cancer for 2 years now. I hold my breath each month, and make each day count for her.

    Savannah had a benign tumor on her shoulder, and just a teeny tiny pencil eraser sized bump on her back leg. The back leg was a mast cell. They went back in, cleaned up the margins, took a lymph node- that had cancer- it had spread.

    We looked into chemo, but Savannah doesn't like the vet or kennels since her leg surgeries, and she'd be there one day a week for 8 weeks. The vet basically said chemo would only buy her a few months more.

    Savannah was a rescue, is atleast 14 years old now. She is getting older, I see it daily- When she's tired, her hind end gets a little weaker, but it doesn't stop her from eating the ice cream she loves!

    I was told Benedryl can slow dog the progression. Another vet said no, it doesn't.

    No vet could reccomend a different diet.

    About 2 months ago, one side of her face swelled up. We went to the emergency vet at 930pm. Vet said she thought it was the mast cell, but didn't know, so I'd have about a week left with her. Only way to diagnose it would be a ct scan at a vet an hour away. In the meantime, try benedryl, antibiotics, and an antinflammatory. It went away!

    What I've been told is that it has a "mind of it's own", and can progress whenever, wherever.

    Good luck, and enjoy the time you have.


    • #3
      Our (RIP) labrador Luke had a mast cell tumour removed from across his hips (on his back) at 6 years old. My vet went for a minimum of 10 cells clear margin around the tumour (confirmed through histology). He had one other fatty lump removed - it was clear of cancer. Absolutely fine for 5 years.

      But then, one day when he was 11 years, Luke climbed out of the river and lay down next to my pick-up with an "I'm done" attitude. He struggled to get onto the tray so we made an appointment for the vet to see him to work out what was going on. Luke was a TOUGH dog - mentally and physically - so I knew he must have been hurting. Heck, we never gave him tramadol 'cause he was then 16' tall and bullet proof despite having just had an operation . The day after an operation, he was ready to go walking/running/wrestling with the other dogs. The vet palpated his stomach area - and Luke showed ALL of his very large teeth. 6x standard dosage of pain meds later, he stood for a needle to go through into the mass that the vet could feel. With the cancer cells actively growing under the microscope, Luke ate some choclate and went peacefully to sleep for the last time. Histology showed that this was a mast cell tumour and was probably a secondary to the one on his back.

      Tumour weighed 4 kilos and wasnt obvious 4 weeks earlier at Luke's annual exam.

      Mast cell tumours can be very contrary and one cell missed can set off another tumour.
      It can take days. It can take years.
      Enjoy the time with your dog.
      Still Working_on_it - one day I will get it!


      • #4
        A lot depends on grading. I recommend removal with histopathology to determine margins and grading. If high grade then further workup including ultrasound, lymph node biopsy,etc. You could do those things while under if desired but could also wait for results of histopath. I would suggest going to an oncologist for that. They will be the most up to date and comprehensive place to do it. Chemo is next if removal shows good margins and higher grade.

        Low grade excision (removal) is generally curative *for that mast cell tumor*. They can get other masses down the line that are different grades.

        I also start all mine on benadryl and famotidine as h2 blockers. Prednisone if we're trying to shrink before surgery due to location or it is particularly pissed off. Mast cells are involved in allergic reactions so bumping the mass, sampling, etc can make it angry.

        Removal sites can often have issues healing so be prepared that it may be a long process depending on location. I've seen several on the outside thigh require open management after closure failed.

        does this dog have skin allergies by any chance?


        • #5
          Im really sorry to hear about your dog!!
          Having NOT been through mast cell with a dog but just coming through GI lymphoma with a cat, I can say this, based on my experience.

          1. Talk to an oncologist. I had a fantastic surgeon who removed my cat's mass, which had ruptured and perforated his jejunum. She explained how things would go but talking to the doc who specialized in cancer really helped. You can ask for a consult. They can explain the data they need, the prognosis, the process-when and how things get done-- and so on that can help make your decision. They will need to do a biopsy and grade the tumor. That will, I think, be a big driver in what approach is recommended and what you feel like you want to do. They can tell you what you can do NOW and what can wait.

          2. yes, I got radiographs before surgery (showed that ugly mass) and right along. Gave very good data as to how things were going.

          3. I opted for chemo and am very glad I did (again, talking cat with GI lymphoma and NOT a dog) but having been through chemo with my husband, I was really unsure. Oncologist reassured me and the cat tolerated very well. Mast cells are not the same thing, so chemo is not always needed. Getting the grade will tell you a lot.

          4. Do what you're doing and get informed. I got a second opinion, joined very online group I could find, asked a billion questions, and felt like I could advocate for my cat, ask the questions that would make a difference for me so I could make decisions. you will feel more in control.

          5. Enjoy every stinking minute with your pup. I started hanging out and reading in the room with my cat (never did that before an dnot sure why not)

          Again, I'm really sorry. Your dog is lucky to have an attentive owner who is so engaged in her care!


          • #6
            My dog had 2 mast cell tumors and 1 fatty tumor removed two years ago and is doing well since then. My vet was able to take wide margins. Now she has a couple of dents on her back and in her "girth" area, but hasn't experienced any further issues. I believe she was on benedryl before the surgery and for a couple of weeks after it.