Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:42 pm

Sharron good luck with your boy!

Gavin ended up needing surgery for his tumor. I am just crossing my fingers we are still at stage 1/borderline stage 2 and it has not gotten worse. His was removed today, and biopsy should be back next week. It will be a looong week.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby sharron » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:22 am

Megan thank you !

Each and every day with Beau is precious ! Stage 4 cancer is definitely an experience I wish on no one !

I wish you and your beloved dog a long and pain-free life !

Sharron :run:
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby heartbullies » Fri Jul 22, 2011 12:24 am

Well, add Booker to this club.

The tiny lump on his side that popped up is an MCT according to the FNA we did on Monday. I figured it would be, since he has been having a huge allergic reaction, basically, for about two-three weeks and then last week the bump appeared. I have had him on antihistamines since then, am researching a new diet (he is already grain free, but his food has potato in it; I have to find something that will work with his liver values, ie not too high in protein and no salmon, and his food sensitivities, ie no beef or lamb or bison, blarg), have him on an antioxidant, am researching immune support, and hopefully will have more ideas after combing this thread.

I am going to read this again, and all the links. Tomorrow I am scheduling the surgery but I want to have all the info I can beforehand. Hoping it's a Grade 1 and he can get big clean margins.

He is already on SAMe EOD and milk thistle roughly bi-weekly; need to make sure these are safe pre-op. Any ideas about anesthesia options would be really appreciated, since I do really want to protect his liver. While he is out he has a wonky tiny tooth in front that should come out. My beloved will be just as handsome to my heart when he is a snaggletooth.

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:50 am

Oh no! Booker. Dang. This club sux btw. :(
I'll keep my fingers crossed for grade 1, clean margins!

As for anesthesia we've never had known complications so I'm of no help, but for preventing suture licking, I'm a fan of the inflatable blue rings instead of cones. Jasmine has balance issues with the cone and the inflatable she does much better with, can get on/off the couch without face planting etc.
The only thing that really helps to have on hand is a snap buckle type collar to put on the inside of the collar. Once you see it, you'll understand why and how it stays on. We were pleasantly surprised by it.

Image
Image
This kind of says it best>> "The inflatable collar provides unique, cushioned comfort and allows your pet to maintain full visibility, which only speeds their adaptability to the recovery collar. True to Kong durability, the tough, washable collar material is scratch and bite resistant, and it won't mark or scrape walls, furniture or other objects."
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:35 pm

We got Gavins results today- I was surprised they were in already.

He is confirmed stage 2 (last year he was stage 1 borderline stage 2, the lab couldn't decide where to put him). I am taking it as him "holding place" and staying at stage 2. We got clean edges, and the pathologist report stated that they think its unlikely to spread to any major organs/nodes. We do need to keep an eye on him and have any lumps spotted removed right away as they did say he may keep getting additonal tumors.


I can live with this... As long as he is able to handle having them removed we are ok! I will continue to cross my fingers for no more lumps, and cross them that the cancer does not get worse with time. Right now I can live with the results we got today.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby FBODGRL » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:42 pm

Sorry to hear about Booker :hug:

Megan wrote:We got Gavins results today- I was surprised they were in already.

He is confirmed stage 2 (last year he was stage 1 borderline stage 2, the lab couldn't decide where to put him). I am taking it as him "holding place" and staying at stage 2. We got clean edges, and the pathologist report stated that they think its unlikely to spread to any major organs/nodes. We do need to keep an eye on him and have any lumps spotted removed right away as they did say he may keep getting additonal tumors.


I can live with this... As long as he is able to handle having them removed we are ok! I will continue to cross my fingers for no more lumps, and cross them that the cancer does not get worse with time. Right now I can live with the results we got today.


I think the more you continue to remove the more they will pop up since the immune system goes in to overdrive to heal from the removal causing a great risk of more tumors occurring.

I am so sick of horrible cancer attacking our dear pets :(
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby sharron » Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:12 am

Cancer is scary at any stage ! I agee that the more lumps removed , mre will pop up. I say this because this is what's happened with Beau. Have one removed through surgery..another
takes its place !!

Beau has been on a RAW diet for years. He too had allergies. I do not think dogs should have have grains in their diets...they aren't poultry or cattle. lol !!

I give pasturized green tripe in their diet. Despite the bad ordor , they love it and look forward to their meals even more .
Does anyone else feed geen tripe , fresh pasturized , frozen or canned ?

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby heartbullies » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:24 am

Okay, I had a gajillion questions and stayed up late reading... oops.

So by the time dawn finally rolled around on Friday AM and I was totally a mess, I figured I should just book an appointment with a veterinary oncologist. I called and they could see us the same day, so we went in at 11AM.... and about twelve hours later, Booker came home. Here is what happened in the middle. Sorry, this is long, but I figured if people are reading this thread, they may have a vested interest in the information.

First, I remembered this thread and took some pictures of his bumps. Once I resize the pics, I will post them here. Then, off we went to the vet specialists. We met with a DVM who is working in the oncology department, along with a very nice young DVM doing a residency in the oncology department. They were awesome and went over some of the information I had learned online. We decided to do FNAs (Fine Needle Aspirates) of any bump they found on Booker, and they actually found every little scar I have looked at and poked and felt before, too. Then they looked at these cells. They did this while I went out and emotionally shoved some hot wings and sweet tea in my face. Yes, really. lol Anyway, they called and said the only bump with abnormal cells or cells of concern was the one we already knew about, on his left ribcage. Because there did not seem to be any other tumors, I decided not to do the staging. Staging involves having lymph node aspirates taken (to check to see if the cancer has spread; apparently MCTs tend to like to spread to local lymph nodes, BOOOO!), chest x-rays, and ultrasound of the dog's abdomen. These diagnostics are expensive, but totally informative. I actually had Booker's chest x-rayed a couple months ago because it was part of a discounted package at our regular vet, and it was a huge relief then. But in this case, I couldn't justify the cost of these diagnostics, since they recommended we do surgery and could fit him in the very same day, and there is only so much money.


So I drove back to the vet from the wing place to meet with the head of the oncology department about the surgery, she is additionally board certified with the ACVIM. She was the person doing the surgery. She explained that since the lump was on his ribcage and was small, that she felt good about getting clear margins since this part of a dog has some extra skin and isn't a high-use area. Tumors on legs and feet are much harder to get clear margins, since the general idea is to get 3mm on all sides and deep. There really isn't that much flesh on a dog's leg, plus the dog stretches and contracts the leg very often, and in a huge way.

She also wanted to remove a lump in his right armpit. She removed a nearby skin tag along with that bump, in one incision. I asked her to remove a tiny broken incisor that wasn't bothering him but was obviously split; she hadn't removed a tooth since vet school since she is an oncologist but she agreed.

She said that the no-carb cancer diet is specifically for canine lymphoma cells, not MCTs. She said she would definitely recommend it if he had lymphoma but otherwise his regular diet (already grain-free but with potato in it) will be fine to continue unless I wanted to make a change, which I would like to but need to figure out expenses given this newest one. I asked her about supplements and showed her Booker's medley of pills; she said that none were harmful, that there has been some feedback that certain supplements do seem to help dogs with cancer, so that I should continue his antioxidant combo pill, the SAMe, and milk thistle unless he reacts poorly to them, and that giving curcumin was OK to try (many people swear by it) but to be careful, since it can be toxic in high doses. If he develops another bump or if we couldn't get clean margins this time, I will definitely be starting curcumin; individuals have reported it is very helpful with a wide variety of cancers.

She also addressed the idea that surgery equals more bumps. For Booker, who had one new ungraded MCT, it is important to remove it and grade it. If the "fingers" are all removed (ie, clear margins) it can be curative to remove it, especially if a low grade with low mitotic index. I would not know the grade or index if I left it alone. Also, if it comes back as, say, a Grade 3, then perhaps it is time to do the aforementioned staging to see if he is a candidate for chemotherapy or radiation. Without removing it, we don't have the information, and the tumor may possibly be allowed to metastisize to his lymph nodes. Battling lymphoma is much worse IMO than removing an MCT. He was injected with antihistamines, in case despite careful handling and wide margins, the tumor granulated during surgery, as well as injectable Pepcid, since MCTs tend to cause nausea. She also has him on oral antihistamines.

I paid a deposit that was more than the amount I put down on my car, (gulp!) and left to go eat some more and watch a movie. Thank goodness for FransterDoo and HankNibbler, they live close by and were off work on Friday afternoon to watch me shovel a gyro down and make faces at Captain America and generally assist with distraction. The oncologist called me as soon as she left the OR when B was still under, and told me the surgery went well, and a couple hours later I was able to pick him up.

I then paid a couple more hundred bucks on top of the deposit (thank goodness for CareCredit; it means that I won't have to be totally stressed and can take up to 12 months to pay this off, rather than having to front the whole amount at once, plus hopefully PetPlan insurance will help with the costs) and was standing in the waiting room and FINALLY out he came. I started laughing hysterically, partially from relief and joy, and partially because he had the most ridiculously oversized and hideously printed inflatable cone I have EVER SEEN. Of course I will post a picture as soon as I can here.

So. He is on twice-daily Pepcid, on twice-daily Benedryl, also Metacam and Tramadol for pain control, and continuing the cephalexin he had started earlier in the week. They were very serious in their search for bumps, and with the two areas of removal, well, he is shaved from mid-ribcage across his belly up to the other side mid-ribcage and down to his groin. He also has 30-something metal sutures and huge incisions. And to me, he is just as beautiful a creature as ever. I was so, so happy to see his sweet face.

I am hoping for the best for the biopsy reports. I am also anxious about his bloodwork; he had a full panel done since the last time he had some slightly elevated liver values. Since then I started him on the SAMe and milk thistle; hopefully his levels are holding steady or have declined. For now I am just very glad to be done with this week, to have answers on the way, to have a great vet specialist resource nearby and the ability to pay for this (seriously, I have had my CareCredit card for years and never used it and this is exactly the right sort of situation, plus I am so glad that Siberian on here finally convinced me to get pet insurance a year or two ago!) and most of all, to have Booker home with me. I love that friggin brown dog.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby julie64 » Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:17 am

Sending lots of good thoughts for Booker's results. Hugs to you!
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby FBODGRL » Sun Jul 24, 2011 8:12 am

Sending good thoughts on a low grade result.

I am curious what they said as far as removing additional bumps after this first one and determining grade. If further ones should appear.

A friend of mine girl had a MCT on her toe and he did the removal and grade. Since then she has had bumps, but they all come back as just fatty tumors, which she had a history of before she had the MCT tumor. I tell him that he is lucky he stays on top of the bumps, because he could have easily just thought the one on the toe was a fatty tumor.

The whole team at the oncologists office sounds really good and it was lucky they could get you in and have the surgery so quick too! It was nice of the surgeon to take care of his tooth.

:hug: to you and Booker.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:50 pm

My vet did not seem to feel it would be an issue removing bumps that he should develope in the future. I would think if bumps would appear directly related to the surgery it would be fairly soon after the surgery is done. This is gavins third lump, two developed last June and were treated at the same time. This lump popped up this June so an entire year went by between lumps.

I think for me personally I would feel better having them removed because we have has lumps positive for cancer, I think it would be better getting them out of there vs letting them sit?

I am glad Booker came out of surgery ok! I am hoping he continues to do well.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby ilovetyson » Thu Jul 28, 2011 12:31 pm

Ugh... I Just found 2 new lumps on Jade.. On her front leg. She has been getting more skin tags the last month.. But i Put it to age.. Now I am freaking out.. ugh..
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby PitBull-Lady » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:32 pm

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and Jade. :)
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby ilovetyson » Thu Jul 28, 2011 1:51 pm

Thanks. I am trying to see if I can get the car tomorrow to get her to the vet. :-/ I Will let you all know once i Do.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors : Lessons Learned

Postby Megan » Thu Jul 28, 2011 2:01 pm

Good luck!!!!! I hope they turn out to be nothing!!!
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