Mast Cell Tumors in dogs

petra_gwAugust 5, 2014

Our 11 year old lab had a large lump biopsied and it came back as a mast cell tumor. They can't grade it until it has been removed. He has had this lump for years, the previous vet said it was a lipoma.The vet said it feels encapsulated, but that doesn't mean it hasn't spread. On the other hand, it could mean it is contained and removing it will be curative. He is going to have it removed next Tuesday and I don't want to borrow trouble, but I am so afraid it has spread. We've had several pets with various cancers and we have never had a positive outcome. Is there anyone out there with success stories about mast cell removal to report?

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My herder girl, Tasha, developed a growth on top of one of her hind feet. Her vet, like yours, initially diagnosed it as a lipoma. Over the years, it grew larger and larger. When the surface of it became mushy feeling (it had been firm and fatty feeling - also encapsulated), I took her to another vet and had it removed. It, too, turned out to be a mast cell tumor. Fortunately, it was removed with clean margins, and there has been no sign of regrowth over the last couple of years since its removal. I'm hopeful that I've seen the last of mast cell in Tasha, but there are never any guarantees.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 7:59PM
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Thanks for the reply, Laurie. I am so glad your Tasha is fine and my best wishes that she stays free of this. BB's lump is located behind his front leg, on his torso. We are trying to stay hopeful and positive, but just 2 months after losing Peanut to cancer this is difficult to deal with.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 8:59PM
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I know, Petra. I lost two to cancer within a few months of each other ... and those weren't my first cancer losses. Cancer is such a diverse and insidious enemy. Every lump and bump becomes suspicious. Every change in appetite or habit a concern.

Tasha has a lump on her mid torso right now, but it feels like a lipoma. I haven't had it biopsied and probably won't unless it starts to change. She's had so many surgeries during her lifetime, I'm just not going to put her through any more until and unless this lump gives me reason to believe it's something other than a simple lipoma.

I will hold good thoughts that your lab's tumor is fully encapsulated, non-metastasized, and excised with clean margins.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Thanks for the good thoughts, they are much appreciated. Sending good thoughts your way that Tasha's lump is just a lipoma. And since you've had a lot of experience with lumps, I bet that's all it is because you'd likely be able to tell if it was something worrisome.

Same here re. the pet cancer situation. BB is number 8, and the third dog with cancer we've had. And 4 of the kitties had it. BB is 11 and he was also just diagnosed with hypothyroid, which accounts for his tremendous weight gain over the past year. And his weight gain makes it more dangerous to undergo anesthesia, but the tumor has to come out. So scary and difficult. Sometimes I envy people who don't have pets. It is just too darn hard and painful when they are ill or just getting old and frail.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:11PM
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No matter how many losses I suffer, I never do anything but pity people who don't share their lives with non-human animals. The 4-leggeds do so much to help soothe and heal the human soul. Can you really imagine your life without their magic?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:20PM
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No, I can't imagine ever being without a furry face, no way. But this kind of thing is so hard to go through. I thought as we got older, it would get easier. But the opposite seems to be the case.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2014 at 10:30PM
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I remember when we lost a cat, I said to myself, "No more pets!" It is just so heartbreaking to lose them. But the ache dulls, and another pet is adopted into our lives. We have enjoyed our pets so much over the years, cannot imagine being without a pet.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Most Mast cell tumors end up being grade 2, which mean they CAN spread, but may not have yet, and removal will often be curable. Grade 1s are no big deal and no more worries. Probably not a grade three as those are usually large or in a state of rapid growth. When grade 2s spread, more often they show up elsewhere on the skin, though an ultrasound of the spleen and a chest radiograph would be a good idea. Good luck with it... just be sure they cut the mass out with a good margin (so they are sure to get it all).

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 10:56AM
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socks, I agree! Can't imagine being without furries either.

lzrddr, he has no other suspicious lumps and no symptoms, so maybe we are getting to it in time. From what the vet said, she is going to take margins of well over an inch all around the mass.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2014 at 4:00PM
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This is the method people with my breed use. It is relatively simple and has been used to shrink large tumors.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 1:54PM
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MittenGirl, thanks so much for the info! That is exactly what the vet has him on, although a higher dosage and the tagamet 3 times daily. It turned out to be a stage 2, but she was able to remove it with clean margins so we are somewhat hopeful.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 6:48PM
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