Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

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Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:12 pm

We got some news that scared our house a few months ago. After talking to my vet, I immediately started looking at past and current posts of my favorite armchair experts. Because I knew others have suffered the same uneasy feeling, many of you were bound to make me feel better, or worse.

The reason I collected all these past posts is to make it easier for future people to find a collection of the posts instead of having to search the forum. With the most recent post, I thought it might be good to finally post this.

Please post your pictures or lessons learned so that you might be able to help others.

Ladybug
msvette2u wrote:Image

Roc
trip8581 wrote:Image

Ella
chewbecca wrote:Image
Image

Jasmine
Image
Image
Her tumor was about the size of a bottle cap
Image


I quickly found comfort in reading Roc's post, titled "Mast Cell Tumor - need advice"
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=127721&hilit=mast+cell
trip8581 wrote:... 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....


Misskiwi67 wrote: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


Even our own dear Ella had her own scare. (before the other bad news)
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=129244&p=1722908&hilit=mast+cell#p1722908
chewbecca wrote:...She had surgery almost 2 weeks go to have a wart removed. We just had the stitches taken out...Thursday night and the skin had already started to grow over the stitches (and we took them out before the recommended time, she just heals REAL fast). So, the area is a little irritated which is why she's not really wearing a collar yet. I put this on her after we made it so that I could see how it fit her, and I snapped some pics. :))
...But since we treat all skin bumps as mast cell tumors, he made the incision large to get good margins. So the incision was a LOT bigger than the actual wart.


...and Bella & Tiva
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=127479&p=1701717&hilit=mast+cell#p1701717
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=130120&hilit=mast+cell
tiva wrote:...Here's hoping it's a low grade tumor and clean margins. Tiva had a high-grade MCT 2 years ago, and she's doing fine now (the vet couldn't get clean margins, and her tumor was higher grade, so we elected to amputate her tail, and she recovered very quickly).

julie64 wrote:
suzi wrote:Cancer sucks,,,,I am sorry to hear of your worries....

We also are fighting MCT right now. Bella is 4 years old. I have decided against anything invasive as in Chemo, radiation,,,,etc....I got on board with a Holistic healer (thanks to Cinderdee and Concreterose),,,,and all is going well. Bella is on a Cancer diet,,,and there is a treatment we will turn to if and when her "lumps" rear their ugly head.
I am open to share her diet if you like, as well as who we are using....PM me if you like.


This is the same route I went with Shay. It is almost a year now since we found out she has MCT.



...and Onyx
viewtopic.php?f=4&t=126129&p=1686476&hilit=mast+cell#p1686476

...and Barney
Mast Cell Tumor and Chemo
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=123459&p=1655270&hilit=mast+cell#p1655270

...and Shay & Rio
viewtopic.php?f=3&t=124391&p=1665829&hilit=mast+cell#p1665829
julie64 wrote:Shay was diagnoised stage 3 mast cell also. I chose not to do chemo because the outcome wouldn't have changed. She was never on prednisone. I switched to high protein/grain free diet. I also have her on supplements, from advice from people on here and a nutritionalist. In the beginning Shay had loose stools, vomiting and mostly slept. Once on the diet and the supplements started working she was back to her old self. Shay does have occasional bad days, loose stools, no interest in play. These have never last longer than 2 days and then she is back to her hyper self. ....


now it effects one of Roc's sisters Rain. Good Golly, Cancer sucks!!!
Image
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=138352&p=1830884&hilit=Rain#p1830884


Cancer Diets, Supplements, Treatments, etc.
http://www.dogaware.com/health/cancer.html

Cancer Research Post
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=130565
donate your dog's blood

Site on Mast Cell Info
http://www.marvistavet.com/html/body_ma ... umors.html
http://www.VeterinaryPartner.com/Conten ... C=0&A=1600
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:14 pm

In the long run, I'm hoping people could post pictures of what the tumors look like.
For those of us experiencing it, we know they can look like 'anything' but others don't (I did not until it grew)

so help out a friend, post your pics and stories. Copy post addresses whatever. I tried to remember as many as I could. You all did an AWESOME job documenting what happened to you. It helped a lot for me.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby chewbecca » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:57 pm

Ella actually HAD a mast cell tumor at one time, but we had it removed.
It came back a stage II, but it never returned.
Two years later (almost to date), was when she got lymphoma. :sad:
And this thread just made me incredibly sad. :sad:
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:03 pm

chewbecca wrote:Ella actually HAD a mast cell tumor at one time, but we had it removed.
It came back a stage II, but it never returned.
Two years later (almost to date), was when she got lymphoma. :sad:
And this thread just made me incredibly sad. :sad:


Oh I'm sorry, I did not mean to make anyone sad :(
Trust me when I was 'researching' I was in tears, TEARS!! trying to figure out how to help poor Jasmine and I tell you, one of the only things that made me positive in the whole situation was your positive attitude about Ella. It was so inspiring to see she was doing well 'after' the fact. We are Stage II too, with good margins except what could be an issue deep in the muscle. So either potentially make her paralized by getting greedy on the 2nd surgery. ahhhh, Keep your fingers crossed.

Chewbecca, you and Ella were an inspiration on how to deal WELL with all this bull-shizzle!
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby msvette2u » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:52 pm

I will repost pics of Ladybug. Some may not know that Bostons are especially prone to MCTs as are Boxers and even Schnauzers.


We rescued Ladybug in Jan. 2010 and took her to the vet for a check up, she had a small pea sized sized lump on her back leg.
They took a needle biopsy which came back as a mast cell tumor. That was our first experience with it.
Post-biopsy. I didn't get a pic beforehand...
Image

Image

The woman who adopted her in March had lost a Boston to MCT, a few yeas after it lost one leg to the cancer.
We get regular updates and she's doing well still, although definitely a senior.

Image
msvette2u
 

Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Enigma » Fri Aug 06, 2010 5:25 am

My Brina had a MCT removed earlier this year. It was scary, but the prognosis was quite good, Brina is doing great. Here's the original thread:

http://pbf2.pitbullforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=133721&hilit=swollen+lymph+node&start=30

Image

After i found out she has MCT i did some changes in her diet. I switched her to a grain free food, i started giving her purple coneflower (echinacea purpurea) tablets for her immune system and i add Salmon Oil to her meal every day.

Here are a couple of sites i got good info from:

http://www.caninecancer.com/nutrition.html
http://www.dogcancer.net/mast.html
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby julie64 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 9:10 am

This is a sad thread to read, but one needed. I can't believe the amount of dogs here lately getting cancer. I think the biggest lesson I have learned is not to take the "amount of time" so literally. Here is Shay's thread:

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=114274
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby suzi » Fri Aug 06, 2010 10:21 am

Sad indeed this thread may be.......But knowledge is power!

Bella is one year "Lump" free.... What I have learned;

That MCT's can sprout overnight.

They change size quickly (small to large,,,then visa versa).

When diagnosed,,,,have the mass removed ASAP

CLEAR MARGINS are critical. Although more a more invasive surgery, you want to get everything out!
Make sure you request this of your vet before surgery. (Bella's last surgery, the Vet carved her up. You could have made a shoe from the amount of hide they took off. Healing was hell as it was the back of her neck where there is lots of movement, whereas makeing the incision hard to heal)

MCT LOVES sugar,,,,,no starch, grains. Nothing that turns to sugar.

MCT's should not be "played" with,,,,ie no pinching, touching,,,,poking etc. this irritates the lump and releases histamines.
********************************************************************************************************************************************
Personally, I no longer believe in vacs. I feed raw with supplements (she is on a cancer diet). We have offically gone 1 year without lumps. I thank God every day for the little more time surgery and diet have provided me. MCT cannot be "cured", but I do believe it can be "kept at bay"
Bella was diagnosed stage 2-3,,,and the lumps were appearing every 6 months. I feel that a combination of diet, Vet care, and diet, as well as no vacs is part of the reason the lumps haven't returned.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby suzi » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:05 am

Sorry for the double post......

Where Bells lumps occured, was at her injection site where she got her vacs.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby turtle » Fri Aug 06, 2010 12:04 pm

I hate cancer...

But this is a useful thread, and should be a Sticky.

Thank you for posting it and for finding all the info and putting it in one place.
There are tough choices to be made when fighting cancer...

Here is something I found some time ago, I hope it helps --

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http://www.acfoundation.org/links/ten-s ... cancer.php

The 10 Warning Signs of Cancer
By Dr. Gerald S. Post

Pets have become members of our families and we want to insure that they live the longest and best lives they possibly can. As we have taken better care or ours dogs and cats they are indeed living longer; yet despite this, or perhaps because of this, cancer is one of the leading causes of death in pet dogs and cats.

Some estimates suggest that greater than 50% of dogs over 10 years old will die of cancer. As a veterinary oncologist, I would like to give pet owners some advice on what things to look for in order to detect cancer in their pets. The earlier you detect cancer the better your chance of effective treatment.

Below are 10 warning signs of cancer in both dogs and cats. Please understand that these are just potential warning signs and should not panic you, but prompt a visit to your veterinarian.


1. Swollen lymph nodes: These “glands” are located all throughout the body but are most easily detected behind the jaw or behind the knee. When these lymph nodes are enlarged they can suggest a common form of cancer called lymphoma. A biopsy or cytology of these enlarged lymph nodes can aid in the diagnosis.

2. An enlarging or changing lump: Any lump on a pet that is rapidly growing or changing in texture or shape should have a biopsy. Lumps belong in biopsy jars, not on pets.

3. Abdominal distension: When the “stomach” or belly becomes rapidly enlarged, this may suggest a mass or tumor in the abdomen or it may indicate some bleeding that is occurring in this area. A radiograph or an ultrasound of the abdomen can be very useful.

4. Chronic weight loss: When a pet is losing weight and you have not put your pet on a diet, you should have your pet checked. This sign is not diagnostic for cancer, but can indicate that something is wrong. Many cancer patients have weight loss.

5. Chronic vomiting or diarrhea-Unexplained vomiting or diarrhea should prompt further investigation. Often tumors of the gastrointestinal tract can cause chronic vomiting and/or diarrhea. Radiographs, ultrasound examinations and endoscopy are useful diagnostic tools when this occurs.

6. Unexplained bleeding: Bleeding from the mouth, nose, penis, vagina or gums that is not due to trauma should be examined. Although bleeding disorders do occur in pets, they usually are discovered while pets are young. If unexplained bleeding starts when a pet is old, a thorough search should be undertaken.

7. Cough: A dry, non-productive cough in an older pet should prompt chest radiographs to be taken. This type of cough is the most common sign of lung cancer. Please remember there are many causes of cough in dogs and cats.

8. Lameness: Unexplained lameness especially in large or giant breed dogs is a very common sign of bone cancer. Radiographs of the affected area are useful for detecting cancer of the bone.

9. Straining to urinate: Straining to urinate and blood in the urine usually indicate a common urinary tract infection; if the straining and bleeding are not rapidly controlled with antibiotics or are recurrent, cancer of the bladder may be the underlying cause. Cystoscopy or other techniques that allow a veterinarian to take a biopsy of the bladder are useful and sometimes necessary to establish a definitive diagnosis in these cases.

10. Oral odor: Oral tumors do occur in pets and can cause a pet to change its food preference (i.e. from hard to soft foods) or cause a pet to change the manner in which it chews its food. Many times a foul odor can be detected in pets with oral tumors. A thorough oral examination with radiographs or CT scan, necessitating sedation, is often necessary to determine the cause of the problem.


Dr. Gerald S. Post is a Board-certified specialist in veterinary oncology and the Founder and President of the Animal Cancer Foundation.

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby FBODGRL » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:39 pm

This thread is incredibly sad, but as others have said...it is needed.

I wish someone could figure out why cancer seems to be so prevalent.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Sat Aug 07, 2010 10:06 pm

FBODGRL wrote:This thread is incredibly sad, but as others have said...it is needed.

I wish someone could figure out why cancer seems to be so prevalent.
or even why MCTs likes bullys so much...
every new bump looking fold of skin or fur tuft freaks me out :(
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby FBODGRL » Sun Aug 08, 2010 12:52 am

PitBull-Lady wrote:
FBODGRL wrote:This thread is incredibly sad, but as others have said...it is needed.

I wish someone could figure out why cancer seems to be so prevalent.
or even why MCTs likes bullys so much...
every new bump looking fold of skin or fur tuft freaks me out :(


I know. Khan was having bumpy scab type things show up, but it was right after my eye surgery and I couldn't see ANY detail. I was going by touch alone. I finally determine that I must not have rinsed him very well when I did his bath prior to my surgery, but I freaked out for a while first!
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:24 am

Gavin had 2 MCT earlier this month. One was removed (on his Left hip), and we got clean margins.. . The other is in a location where the vet cannot easily remove it, right under his tail close to the base. She tried a newer procedure of injecting steroids every 3 mm around the tumor in the hopes that it would either disappear, or at the very least shrink to a smaller size that we could easily remove it. 2 weeks after surgery it appears the mass on his tail is gone.

Biopsy results came back as not being able to determine if he's stage 1 or stage 2. We are taking that as good news, but watching him closely for any new lumps that may form. As of now we are monitoring his tail, and provided it does not come back the vet says nothing more needs to be done.

Image
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Sun Aug 08, 2010 10:34 am

I guess I should also add- I do not have pictures of the lump before it was removed. The mass on his leg was about quarter sized. It had every look, feel, and reaction of a normal cyst. The vet was convinced it was a cyst, my fiance (who is an RN) was convinced it was a cyst.

The mass on his tail was classic signs to a tick bite, and we had just pulled ticks off him from a walk in the woods--so I thought we just missed one. Vet agreed thats what it looked like to her, too. Antibiotics didn't work, and thats when we decided to take the mass off just to be sure. When all was said and done the entire procedure, antibiotics, etc was about $300. That includes the steroid injections, biopsy, fine needle aspiration on the "tick bite", surgery, anesthetic, etc. It also includes his staples as he had stitches but with it being in such a bad spot he accidentally busted the stitches out, and needed another round of antibiotics , staples, and pain meds.

All in all, while it put a dent in my wallet (just graduated college, JUST found a job), I wouldn't hesitate to spend the money again to have the mass removed.
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