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Anyone have/ had a dog with mast cell tumors?

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Showing 1-25 of 53 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 11, 2011 1:51:21 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2011 1:52:15 PM PST
My 8-year-old Pit Bull gets mast cell tumors that we have been removing for the past year or so. We previously had one of them biopsied, and the results showed a grade 2, leaning closer to a grade 1. So the way I have been treating it is to just have them removed when they come up. To this point, they have been raised on the surface of the skin- more superficial than deep in the skin. I also have been giving her benadryl daily at my vet's recommendation to attempt to slow down the release of the histamine that causes the tumors.

This week, I found one that was different than the ones she previously had. It was on her chest- a bit larger and deeper than the surface of the skin. I took her to the vet immediately. They did a senior panel on her to make sure her bloodwork and kidney/liver functions were okay, and they looked at the cells from the lump under the scope. Her senior profile results were really good- better than 2 years ago, actually. Bloodwork was good, and the kidneys and liver are functioning as they should. This was good to hear because she also has been showing too much protein in her urine.

The doctor saw white blood cells with granules when she looked under the scope, which made her suspect another mast cell tumor. We are getting it removed on Tuesday and biopsied. I am worried about this one, just because it looked different than the other ones. I know I shouldn't worry until I know for sure, but I can't help it. If we didn't catch it in time or if it comes back after it is removed, there really isn't a whole lot more I can do for her.

I was just wondering if anyone else has or had a dog with mast cell tumors. What was your experience and how did you manage it?


Posted on Feb 11, 2011 6:09:48 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2011 6:27:31 PM PST
I'm sorry to hear this about your dog. My (now 8 year old) dog had a small mast cell tumor removed on his sixth birthday. I think it was a grade 1 and the vet got clean margins. I gave him Benadryl for awhile and then stopped. The vet didn't think it was necessary. Since then, we've been lucky - no mast cell tumors, although he is now covered in fatty tumors (lipomas). I do get all new lumps checked with a fine needle aspirate, though, just to be sure.

I hope this new tumor on your girl isn't any worse than the others. I think you're doing the right thing by getting it removed. My vet discussed radiation with me briefly before we knew it was grade 1. Has your vet brought it up with you?

Posted on Feb 11, 2011 8:37:30 PM PST
robbin says:
My golden got a mass last year but we opted to do nothing do to her being 15 yrs old. We thought the surgery/ putting her under was more of a risk then leaving it alone as long as she showed no signes of licking it or pain at touch and she dose not.

Yes, The vet did do the needle bi and looked at it under the scope.

She has gotten two more and it's the same. If she were younger I would be like you and have them removed. But she huffs and puffs going up 3 steps and i worry the putting her under would just take her. So as long as she has no pain i'll keep takeing good care of her, loving her, getting her shots etc so she can live her days out as healthy as poss.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2011 6:08:57 AM PST
B. Lombardi says:
I have a Papillon that will be 12 years old in March. I found one mass cell tumor on her in June and it was removed and biopsied. While waiting for the biopsy results, I found a 2nd one on her the very next week - that one was also surgically removed. While the 2nd one looked smaller but very similar to the 1st one - it wasnt. They both were a grade 2 but the 1st one was a lower grade 2 and the 2nd one which was smaller was actually a higher grade 2.
We opted for Chemo -7 injections of Vinblastin. Chemo has much less side effects on dogs as it does on humans.
She never ended up having her last Chemo session because she ended up with an infection which has since cleared up. Today 6 months later, she is doing very well. Her scars are healed from the surgery and she is looking great.
We do tumor checks once a week in the surgical spots and hope for the best. The chemo was scary but the worst side effect was some stomach issues and an infection - I would do it again if I needed to .
Good luck with your dog.

Posted on Feb 16, 2011 2:41:56 PM PST
Thanks for the comments. She had it removed yesterday, and what a big incision it left!! We sent it off to get biopsied, so we'll see what comes back and wherer to go from there.

Posted on Feb 17, 2011 9:53:15 AM PST
R. Hebert says:
Our female dachshund has had 2 MCTs removed. The first was on her belly, close to one of her nipples. The dr thought it was a breast cancer until it was biopsied and came back as a Grade 2 MCT. 3 months later, another one popped up on her ear. A chunk of her lower lobe is now gone... It looked like a BB and too came back as a Grade 2 MCT. At that point, having 2 within 3 months prompted our vet to check all of her lymph node but nothing abnormal was found. That was in August and it is now February, we have been all clear so far but every lump/bump I see scares me!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2011 1:44:34 PM PST
Me too, and I am always checking her for lumps and bumps! It probably annoys her that I am always picking at her : )- but I want to keep an eye on everything to make sure nothing sneaks up on me. I was surprised when I saw the lump on her chest because I hadn't previously noticed it. My dog's recent lump was also close to her nipple, and she was used as a breeding dog before she ended up in the SPCA and was spayed at 6 years old. So now I have to worry about mammary cancer too.

Posted on Feb 18, 2011 6:37:26 AM PST
Pugmom says:
I have a pug with multifocal mast cell tumors. All Grade 1. He originally had three surgically removed, but within two weeks, had three more. We saw an oncologist that suggested chemotherapy since his was "multifocal" and they would continue to multiply and the outcome would not be good if not treated. Since his all all grade 1, the prognosis with chemo is good. After his first chemo treatment, the tumors had already begun to shrink and dry up! He's now had three treatments out of eight. I was worried at first about putting him through chemo since he is nine. If he was going to only be with us a few months, I didn't want the time he had left to be miserable. But I was very surprised to learn that dogs do not typically have the horrible side affects from chemo that people have. And he has had NONE. You'd never even know he is on chemo.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 3:12:54 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 18, 2011 3:28:09 PM PST
Do you have a lawn service? In suburbs we are required to all have ticky tacky nice neat houses and laws devoid of natural dandelions.

We had a lawn service too and watched Odie develope tumors on his legs. Once we stopped the lawn service the tumors shrunk and no new ones appeared.

All lawn services spray poison. Your dog walks on that poison and it causes cancer. If your kids run barefoot or roll around in the grass (treated with a lawn service) they will pick up the poison too.

Pure and simple, don't use a lawn service. Don't buy into letting people dictate your lawn must be sprayed. The stuff isn't good for you, your dogs or your children.

We watched our neighbor's dog get massive tumors all over his legs after years of them having a lawn service. He died at eight. Our dog lived to 18-20 years old (had him 15 years and he was at least 4-5 when we got him). Also, give your dog plenty of exercise, filter their water like you do yours and spring for the good healthy (more expensive food) Wellness is not that expensive but has good reviews. We gave Odie Iams and he lived 18-20 years. Odie passed away on July 12, 2010. He was a beautiful big black and white English Pointer. 72 pounds of pure love. Very intellegent and my still heart aches even though he has been gone for now seven months. He was a throw away dog. We had him for 15 years. SPAY-NEUTER-ADOPT. Please do not buy from breeders or pet shops they contribute to puppy mills and our over pet population. We now are adopting a Pointer from Pointer Rescue, Lucy who was a puppy machine for a breeder in Georgia. Stuck in a cage with a automatic feeder and water system. If you really love dogs and cats SPAY-NEUTER-ADOPT. Our throw away dogs have all been the best most loving and grateful companions.

Posted on Feb 18, 2011 9:05:39 PM PST
Have any of you who have dogs with mast cell tumors heard of this drug approved by the FDA in 2009- Palladia? Has anyone talked to their vet about it? Here is a link :

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 18, 2011 10:16:27 PM PST
Ban Dandrige says:
Well all this premium food I do have to question. I put my dog on Innova evo as well as my cats as everyone raved was so great ALL my pets developed urinary crystals and I almost lost one they were so bad that surgery was the only option happened very fast no other choice no time to change food and I have heard wellness for cats causes or has caused the same issue. These companies get us all into how we need these premium food but when I look back my dog lived to 17 on purina from the grocery and both my cats were in their twenties when they passed. I fear that this new great premium food is not going to yeld as good of results as did the food of my childhood pets, yet what are we to do, we want what is best and the food companies prey on our fears. I feed Blue Buffalo but try to feed chicken rice and veg that I cook as much as I can. Now as far as the grass spaying I think you have something there. Times have changed and in Ladera Ranch where I live all they do is spray spray spray

Posted on Feb 19, 2011 11:42:36 AM PST
My Lab, who will be 10 in may had a mast cell tumor on his right front leg under this arm. He's been cancer free for one year this Feburary. No new tumors have popped up. What I do supect, allergies to be the underlining cause of the problem. After the surgery he was given a massive dose of Prednisone and antihistamine. He is off the predisone now but I will give him antihistime from time to time. I also change his diet, added fish oils to help with allergies and change to more organic house hold cleaners. Since mast cells are what cause us to have an allergic reaction I want to keep the allergens down. He was retest about three months ago and no mass cells where present. Right now I'm all about the preventive.

Posted on Feb 21, 2011 10:28:18 AM PST
Just skimming, I haven't seen mention of chemo...

My Australian Cattle Dog was diagnosed with mast cell cancer at age 13. He had two minute tiny-wart-sized bumps--one on his flank, one on his abdomen. I took him to the U-Wisc. Vet School for surgery and treatment. They recommended moving them with a 2-3" margin. They literally removed most of one butt-cheek, though the hair covered it and it wasn't noticeable after he healed. Then we did $3500 of chemo, which was a breeze for him--not a single side-effect. He lived another 3 years, then got leukemia just before his 16th birthday. I elected not to treat, and euthanized at that point. But I was very happy with the results of surgery and chemo for the mast cell cancer. This was an active former competition agility dog who was still taking 7 mile walks through the mountains after the mast cell cancer recovery.

Posted on Apr 23, 2011 7:14:35 AM PDT
I would ask your vet if you could supplement with an antioxidant called Superoxide dismutase (SOD). First do your research. Google SOD for mast cell tumors. All of my dogs are on SOD from the age of two on.

Posted on Apr 23, 2011 12:38:21 PM PDT
Many experiences with MCTs with our Boxers. There is a new drug on the market that is supposed to be a VERY effective treatment for MCTs. It is called Palladia. Ask Your vet about
and/or Google it for more info.
Good luck!

Posted on Apr 24, 2011 7:39:29 PM PDT
My Boxer, 5 yrs young was diagnosed with Mast cell tumours. She had 3 removed and they were grade 1, thankfully...!! However, by the time I took her in for her followup appt I suspected that she had developed 3 or 4 more which I pointed out to our vet. He promptly referred us to the oncologist. The oncologist was superb! The new tumours he was able to do a fine needle aspiration, and guess what? They were not tumours!!!!! :))) He was able to answer all my questions, and we talked about Palladia. The cost seemed to far outweigh the potential results... 40% cure rate but costing over $500 a month for the rest of her life..... :(
We have changed her food, and now she eats grain free kibble, raw meat and bones (50/50) supplemented with vit C and fish oil. She is healthier than ever....
I highly reccomend you see an oncologist, they are so much more knowledgable than a regular vet!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 25, 2011 12:45:38 PM PDT
The vet warned me of the HUGE incision, just to make sure she got clean margins. She was put on antihistamine for several weeks following surgery...very important. I think it might've been a high grade 2. That was 2 yrs. ago, and she's been fine ever since. Good luck!

Posted on Apr 27, 2011 10:18:08 AM PDT
Karen L says:
Our humane society breed is 9yrs old. Had a Mast Cell Tumor last year (grade II) and had it removed. They took a really big piece out of him but thankfully they got it all and it was "clean". I put him on
a diet of meat, vege's, yogurt---NO GRAINS---it feeds the tumors. No relapse yet. Hoping to keep him around for a few more years. He weighs almost 100 lbs, so it takes a lot of food, but he's worth it. Also, give him fish oil and vit C. Hope everything went well for your pet. They become like family, don't they?

Posted on Apr 29, 2011 10:29:25 AM PDT
4dogs3cats says:
I too had a dog with a mast cell tumor.She was a sable colored chinese shar pei.It was on her chest,and looked like a large wart.The vet said it did'nt look like it would turn out to be anything,but the breeds prone to them,so he removed it.
Yup....was cancer.Took her to specialists,had surgery,chemo.,the whole thing.It came back,in less than a year.The chemo thinned her skin,and she'd get wounds.$4000 later,and MUCH suffering on her part,I sat and held her,while he gave her the final injection.
The shar pei I got next,had similar warts.Turned out to be nothing.But,I was sick with worry.Had already decided though,that if it was cancer,I would NOT put him through the suffering I'd forced Munchkin to endure.Still can't forgive myself.

I will send positive thoughts and prayers for you both.Losing one's almost the hardest thing I've been through.I so wish you 2 good,health

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 12:29:15 PM PDT
Hi everyone
It was lovely to read all your posts as most of them were very positive. I have a georgeous 5 year old lurcher x terrier who was diagnosed with a low grade 2 MCT in May. It was around her right groin area and was the size of a nipple. It looked so harmless! Anyway we had surgery and the path report was very promising with the weakest grade 2 it could be and clear margins. However, to my horror another one has appeared on her right side back leg. It looks very similiar unfortuanely but am due to speak with vet tomorrow. She is booked in for surgery on Wednesday 22nd June as even if he cant confirm it with her history it needs to be removed. I am so worried that within such a short time another one has appeared and fear a worst prognosis. However, since reading your posts it has made me less concerned (well at least for the moment) to know that other dogs have had multiples and they have been ok. If this comes back as another MCT will have to speak with oncologists to see if drugs or chem may help. Keep you posted. Vanessa

Posted on Jun 20, 2011 4:09:49 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 20, 2011 4:12:37 PM PDT
Karen L says:
The vet should pull some cells from the tumor to check to see if it is a MCT. As long as you catch it in time, and the margins are clean, then it's just a matter of checking her often for them. My vet said that some dogs carry a gene that makes them prone to them, so even if you do something so invasive as chemo or drugs, it may not help, JMO. Good luck and I'm sure she will be good, since you caught it so early and didn't let it get too big. My big guy had a huge one on the side of his body. Had it removed last Sept and it was a 2 with clear margins. I've put him on a no grain diet (which he loves) and check him all the time.

Let us know how she makes out!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2011 12:57:39 AM PDT
Thanks Karen will do

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 21, 2011 1:15:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 21, 2011 1:18:44 PM PDT
Jenny M. says:
My Amstaff had a Mast Cell Grade 2 tumor. She was 4 years old at the time. I opted for herbal means of keeping more Mast Cell's from forming after we had the first removed.

After doing a ton of research and reading all the book's I could lay my hand's on and any research material out there as well, I contacted Dr. Bob Goldstein DVM, a Naturopathic Vet. back east. He suggested that she take a specially formulated, (to her system) powder that he mixed up. In addition to this I put her on PolyMVA. It is a liquid natural formula developed by 2 brilliant Biochemists' to rid human's of cancer. It is helping people and animal's to this day, to eradicate and fight cancer. I faithfully kept her on these formula's for 2 1/2 year's. Every 6 months I had her blood tested to see if there was cancer present. There was no cancer after a few months. The cancer did not spread and it never showed up again in any form. She passed away at the age of 13 from natural causes. She went peacefully in her sleep.

I know the formula's I gave her along with an all natural diet that I cooked for her myself gave me 9 more year's with my beautiful girl. Diet is key! Regular processed dog food is very bad for dogs. There are some really good Organic and Holistic dog foods on the market if you don't have time to cook for your dog. I hope this information helps someone else out there. The regular Vet I was seeing at the time she developed the Mast Cell Gd. II (a particularly virulent form of MC Gd II) said to:" Take her home and make her comfortable and watch her die"! Those were her exact words. Had I listened I would not have had the pleasure of my Dog's company for all of those years.

Good luck and God bless!

Posted on Jun 22, 2011 3:16:04 PM PDT
Hi Jenny
I was wondering where you get the formula ( I live in the U.K) and if you only keep them on it for a period of time and then come off it?

Posted on Jun 22, 2011 5:03:59 PM PDT
E. Adkins says:
One more success story:
My Lab/German Shepherd/who-knows-what mix, Argos, had a MCT in his elbow, diagnosed at age 6 1/2 (he was limping). The oncologist and the radiation treatment specialist recommended taking the leg because it looked like the tumor was inside the joint sac but he has hip displasia and my gut was telling me "no." They referred me to an orthopedist to check on the status of his hips. I think they assumed he would tell me it would be fine to take the leg... He told me that, if it were his dog, he wouldn't amputate if at all possible and was willing to to cut into the joint sac to try to remove the tumor and even offered to refer me to another orthopedist because he didn't want to seem self-serving.

I asked him to do the surgery and while prepping Argos one of the assistants noticed a mole-looking bump on his abdomen & they decided to do a quick needle biopsy, just in case. It turned out to be mast cells so I got a phone call before surgery even started! (The vet & I assumed it was a mole and it hadn't changed at all in the year+ since I'd found it so I had forgotten about it while focusing on the elbow.) The results were "clean margins" on the abdomen, the elbow turned out to not be inside the joint sac but was mashed up against it so tightly that it looked like it in x-rays & CT-scan.

Knowing in advance there would be no way to get clean margins in the elbow I scheduled radiation treatments to begin as soon as we expected he'd be ready after surgery. Argos had 4 weeks of daily, M-F, radiation on the joint and the closest lymph nodes. Then we went back to the original oncologist for a few months of chemo. Other than eating less the only side affect was some vomiting/diarrhea after the first dose & that was fixed by reducing the dose.

The last chemo treatment was 15 months ago and Argos is doing great. He still limps but it doesn't keep him from running around and playing, though I can tell he feels it later in hips & elbow. He has developed several more lumps & bumps but we needle aspirate all of them & keep track of them on a 'bump map'. None are cancerous so far.

I was extremely fortunate to have excellent veterinarians available and a good enough job to be able to afford all of the treatment (I still have not added up the total cost, I don't want to know, it doesn't matter and I'd do it again in a heartbeat). What truly amazes me, though, is Argos' attitude: he's always been a lover-not-a-fighter & a stranger is just a friend he hasn't met yet and that never changed, through all of the poking & prodding and anesthetizing and other crazy stuff. He pulled me in through the door to the last radiation treatment as enthusiastically as the first day he got to meet the staff at the clinic and I barely contain him when we go to the oncologist for check-ups - though on that one I think he thinks he's getting a massage...

jls77 Palladia has been around for a few years now. I remember looking into it (Aug. 2009) and as I recall: for dogs that it works for it's like magic but doesn't do anything (good or bad) for others. I remember discussing it with the onc. but don't remember why we decided to not go with it... Hope your girl is doing OK!
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Initial post:  Feb 11, 2011
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