Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

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Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby trip8581 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:44 pm

I took Roc into the vet this week to get a rabies vaccine for license renewal and had the vet also check a small bump on Roc's hind thigh which has been there for the past month [it would shrink then come back then shrink again]. So they did a fine needle aspirate and diagnosed it as a Mast Cell Tumor.

My vet said that the majority of MCTs are grade 1 or 2 and do not end up spreading and that she has seen owners who just leave them alone and they have yet to cause any issues. Only 10% end up being stage 3 and spreading. She said that we could remove it and then send it in for biopsy to find out exactly what grade it is and that would cost around $500. She told me to keep an eye on it for a month and if it grows or starts to itch we should remove it.

I have done some reading and everything so far says that surgery is the recommended next step. I know that a few of you have had dogs with MCTs, so it would be helpful to get your opinions and hear what you did. I want to do what is best for Roc and I will find the money somewhere if surgery is the best course of action. I love my little man and I do not want to lose him.

So any advice is appreciated! On top of that he was diagnosed with dry eye and the vet said his eyes are not producing any tears, so she prescribed cyclosporin which he will probably need for the rest of his life. It was $45 for a small tube, so if anyone knows of any alternatives or somewhere cheaper to get it that would be great too. He seems to be the dog with all the issues, poor guy!
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby Misskiwi67 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:55 pm

Remove it... NOW... unless it will prevent you from putting food on the table. If its one of the rare grade 3's and you don't, you'll regret it for the rest of your life. Mast cell is one tumor I do not recommend watching, because when its bad, its real bad...

Also, mast cell tumors should be removed with 3cm margins, so make sure you're vet doesnt' skimp. Mast cell tumors send out little fingers of tumor cells and can regrow if the surgery isn't aggressive. If you're going to spend the money to take it off, do it right.

Here is an article that lays out all the facts of Mast cell tumors. It also lists a lot of therapies that may not be necessary for your pet, but you should at least know what is available should you choose to take that option.

http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Conten ... C=0&A=1600
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby ilikelily » Sun Oct 25, 2009 5:00 pm

My guy is stage 3, so not positive about stages 1 & 2... but if I remember right, it should be removed right away at those stages. Good luck to you and Roc!
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby PitFriend » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:20 pm

Riley had a MCT removed last spring/summer. There was never any question of leaving the lump, although I had already been watching it for a couple of months before I decided to be worried. When the FNA confirmed mast cells, our vet said it needed to come off right away... turned out to be grade 1, but I feel good knowing it's gone. Like Misskiwi said, you probably don't want to take the chance that it's an aggressive tumor.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby chewbecca » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:34 pm

Trust Misskiwi.
Have it removed.
Ella had a mast cell tumor, and we wasted NO time having it removed.
It hasn't come back YET (knock on wood), but as I said, we wasted no time.

It's going to cost you $500 to have the biopsy graded???????
wow.
That's INSANE.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby chewbecca » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:36 pm

Nevermind.
You're in LA. That explains the cost.
The cost of living is higher out there, at least double what it is here, so that explains it.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby tiva » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:43 pm

I think the vet meant that the whole thing (anesthesia, surgery, sending tumor to pathologist for grading) would cost $500, which is almost exactly what it cost when our Tiva got a mast cell tumor. Do it immediately! And to be honest, unless you really like this vet, you might consider finding another vet who has more experience with mast cell tumors (I'm very surprised she suggested waiting and seeing.)

If the tumor is grade 1 and you have clear margins, surgery is curative. If it's grade 2 or 3, then you have other decisions to make: chemo, radiation, more surgery, wait and see (but usually only for a low grade 2 with clear margins). Our Tiva's MCT was an advanced grade 2, without clear margins, so we chose amputation (luckily, it was on her tail, and she healed very very quickly and doesn't seem to miss her tail at all. Both our vet and the university vet school oncologist gave us the option of either radiation or amputation after the pathology report.)


Good luck. If it were me, I'd schedule surgery for tomorrow or the day after.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby tiva » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:54 pm

Oh, and for meds, I usually have my vet fax the prescription in to either Drs Foster and Smith (a tube of 1% cyclosporin is $30) or KV Vet Supply. Drs Foster and Smith is a completely reliable company with excellent quality, and my sense is that the same is true of KV. If she prescribed optimmune (the ointment form of cyclosporine), it's $24 at entirelypets.com and bullwinkle.com

Good luck! I hope you find out good news with your MCT.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby tiva » Sun Oct 25, 2009 6:59 pm

Actually, now that I think about it, I'm really puzzled by your vet's advice to wait and see. MCTs that are grade 1 are considered cured by surgery, but if they had been left alone, they could well have quickly progressed to grade 2 or 3. Some never progress, but that doesn't mean that a MCT that was cut out and found to be grade 1 could have been safely left alone, saving you $500. It means you caught it and did surgery in time.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby jtalt7 » Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:52 pm

Sarah, find a way to remove it. MCT should never be a wait and see. Size never means anything for grading purposes and I know you will never forgive yourself if it mets to the chest.

I know with the last scare he gave you a couple months ago you are pretty tapped out BUT really try and get that off ASAP. Dont be surprised he continues to pop more up as time goes on. I have a friend that has a APBT that gets a new one every year that he has removed, always with good margins, always in a new place but she keeps getting them.

Good luck and give all the pups hugs !
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby trip8581 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:37 am

It looks like the consensus is to do the surgery ASAP and remove the tumor and I really feel better going that route. I will call the vet tomorrow and see when we can get it scheduled. The last thing I want to do is wait and see and then find out that I gave the tumor time to spread. The vet said they would have to do large margins around the tumor, so I am sure she will take the right amount off. And yes the $500 is for the whole surgery not just the biopsy.

I do actually really like my vet as she is also the wife of a friend of mine. She has been really great and often does not charge me for everything that she does. Like she did not charge me for the FNA and when Roc was sick before she did an ultrasound and did not charge for that either. The vet's office has also let me carry a balance there and most vet's offices in the area do not work on payment plans.

Teal - I actually still owe over $800 to my vet for Roc's last illness as it was over $2500 total. I have been slowly paying it off and trying to sell artwork to cover the bill. It is a slow process. I will try to find some way to cover this new surgery and keep pushing my artwork on PBFers and everyone else lol

Tiva - thanks for the tip on buying optimmune online - that is much more affordable! :bowdown:
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby julie64 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:09 am

had the vet also check a small bump on Roc's hind thigh which has been there for the past month [it would shrink then come back then shrink again].


Not saying this to scare you, but that is where Shays was too. Like Roc, her bump appeared and went away and then came back. Shay is grade 3 and her lumps did spread. I agree with the others, I would get him in as soon as possible.

You and Roc will be in my thoughts for good results.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby Misskiwi67 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:26 pm

trip8581 wrote:
I do actually really like my vet as she is also the wife of a friend of mine. She has been really great and often does not charge me for everything that she does. Like she did not charge me for the FNA and when Roc was sick before she did an ultrasound and did not charge for that either. The vet's office has also let me carry a balance there and most vet's offices in the area do not work on payment plans.


Oh, thats why!! Its super easy to want to be extra nice to people you know well, so you make it sound more OK to go the conservative route, especially if they know you just spent a lot of money on something else. There's always another side to every story :D
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby suzi » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:10 pm

Our MCT Story....part 3.....

My girl Bella, just came from surgery @ week ago. This is her third time going in for MCT removal.... :sad:
She seems to sprout these tumors every 6 months (almost to the day). The first time it was grade 2,,,second one was a 2-3,,,now this time around they removed 3 tumors grade 2. Even with taking good margins,,,they are still coming back in pretty much the same place. This time around,,,,my vet told me good news/bad news.....Bad news first,,,,they are most likely to keep coming back,,,,the good news was this:

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Ve ... goryId=378

I am making an appointment for a counseltation today. From what I understand this drug is available now,,,but only through an Oncologist,,,it will be released to the GP Veterinarians early 2010.

I trust my Vet implicitly,,,,we have had discussions in the past about if, and what type of path to take. His feelings were that the treatment was a "roll of the dice", and extremely expensive (We both agree it is the quality of life,,,,not the quantity that is most important),,,,but,,,,this time he was excited about this new drug,,,and handed me a name of an Oncologist.....So I am keeping my fingers crossed,,,that for once, a latest and greatest drug/treatment will by us a few more cancer free years together......
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Re: Mast Cell Tumor - need advice

Postby trip8581 » Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:09 am

I have scheduled Roc's surgery for Tuesday to get rid of that stupid little tumor. So I should have an answer soon about what grade it is and I am of course hoping for grade 1. I will work out a way to pay for it and thankfully the vet clinic will allow me to make payments. If anyone wants any custom artwork - let me know - all funds will go to Roc!

I found a small lump along Rain's spine [one of my other dogs] a few weeks ago and have been checking it. It is tiny and I can lift it up in the skin. But now of course I am worried she might have a MCT too. Is that a normal spot for one to occur? I really hope that is not what it is cause if both dogs end up needing surgery I am screwed money wise.
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