Anyone have experience with Mast Cell Tumors in dogs?

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by SIMZ, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The vet checked a lump on our 7 year old lab mix and it is a mast cell tumor. It's pretty small, but she recommended that it be removed ($500 surgery). I left with the impression that it wasn't terribly serious and we could even let it be if it wasn't getting bigger. After researching this, I think I misunderstood.

    Who has dealt with this?

    So far what I read on the internet is that surgery may lead to another surgery if they don't get it all, or expensive treatments if it is more aggressive. While we love our animals very much, we've decided that we will not spend tons of money or put our animals through lots of invasive treatments - especially on something like cancer. I've also read lots of stories about the tumor being cured only to have more pop up again and again. I've also read where it doesn't always heal well.

    I'll need to make another appointment and get more info from the vet, but I'm curious about what people have experienced. Especially if you had the surgery and that was the last you dealt with it.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    I've dealt with several cases of mast cell tumors both on clients' dogs (I'm in my last year of vet school) and on family members' dogs.

    The first thing I would recommend you have your vet do is take x rays of her chest to make sure the tumor has not spread to places like the lungs and the lymph nodes. Generally, if it has not metastasized, that is a good sign and the long term prognosis is much better for that pet. Once you know it has not metastasized, the next step would be to have the vet remove the MCT with the correct margins around the lump (your vet will know how much skin and muscle to take, especially if the tumor was diagnosed by aspirate). Long term survival for dogs with no mets to lymph nodes and the chest and a clean margin where the tumor is removed can be five or more years. My uncle's dog has been going strong for six years since having hers removed. However, they do have a tendency to come back so you will have to be vigilant about checking her skin for lumps and bumps. Once a dog has one MCT, I would probably just have the vet remove any other lumps should you find them. Any tumors removed should be sent to a lab for histopathology where they can grade the tumor and give more information about long term prognosis.

    Tumors in difficult to remove areas can cause more problems (such as on the toes or face) and may require radiation therapy.

    The only dogs I've seen so far that had metastasis and a poor prognosis are those that people opted not to remove the tumors. The tumors grew and multiplied and eventually spread to lymph nodes.

    If you leave the tumor, it will also grow in size and can multiply. I definitely recommend spending the money to have the lump removed and then vigilance after that to make sure no other bumps pop up.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
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  3. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you so much for all that information! I really appreciate it!
    It's encouraging to hear that it is possible to see if it has already spread before doing the surgery. It's also encouraging to hear that there is a good prognosis in many cases. I'm meeting with the vet tomorrow to get more info and find out what we can do.

    Thanks again!
     
  4. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We did go ahead and have the surgery. Thankfully, the tumor was low grade and was completely removed. Very good news! I will keep this updated periodically. It seems all I could find were horror stories of repeated surgeries and recurring tumors.

    The tumor was between grade 1-2 and had a mitotic index of 0.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

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    Glad you had the surgery - hope she will have many healthy years left
     
  6. Chickerdoodle13

    Chickerdoodle13 The truth is out there...

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    That's really great news! I hope your pup does well.
     
  7. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everyone!
     

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