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    Thread: Mast Cell Tumor

    1. #1
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      ctowler23's Avatar
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      Mast Cell Tumor

      First time postings here, but I'm hoping for some advice on what others would do in our situation.

      Our chocolate lab is 3 1/2 years old. She just had mast cell tumor removed last Wednesday. It near the base of her tail, a little off to the side on the top of her butt (like where they loved to be scratched).

      Late Friday night, our normal vet who performed the surgery said he spoke over the phone with the pathologist's lab who told him the margins where clean and the tumor was grade 1. he would follow up when they received the official report from the pathologist. He had indicated prior to surgery that as long as the margins were clean the it was a low grade, no further treatment would be needed.

      I returned a call this morning to get the "official" results. I spoke with a different vet I'm not familiar with that just started at the practice last week. He recapped the same info (all good news) but then went on to discuss further treatment options to prevent a possibly/likely reoccurrence. He immediately offered a referral to an oncologist and suggest possible radiation/chemotherapy just in case some microscopic cell was missed or has spread prior to surgery. But then he said that the most common course of treatment is do nothing but increased exams and possibly regular scans to check for any new tumors.

      I certainly want to do whatever will give our baby the best chance at a long life, especially since she's only 3. But I don't want to put her through cancer treatments unnecessarily if she'd be fine without it. Do you think the second vet is just being overly cautious?

      We got back on Saturday to have her stitched removed and I'm hoping to speak more to our normal vet about his opinion. What would you guys do?

    2. #2
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      IMO, I would think, if it's just Grade 1, that you would not need to see an oncologist.
      Shasta had a Grade 2 removed from her side. And I never went to an oncologist.
      What I did do was also go to a holistic vet (in addition to my regular vet) to see what I could do from that angle.
      I also changed her to a grain free diet and tried to find the lowest carbs within the gf food.
      Also worked on her immune system. Gave her essiac tea for 8 months to a year along with supplements & milk thistle.
      Last edited by TXLabLover; 07-13-2015 at 04:50 PM.

    3. #3
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      I am so sorry you are dealing with this, especially in such a young dog, it just sucks. (It sucks at any age of course.)

      If it was my dog and they got good, clean margins that the vet was happy with, I felt comfortable with more frequent scans and checks and more than one vet agreed with that opinion I would leave it at that. I would definitely want the opinion of a canine oncologist before making the final decision. I would also absolutely do everything else possible, including diet and researching vaccinations, etc to give my dog the best chance.

      Sending good thoughts your way.
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    5. #4
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      Having once dealt with an older dog who also had a met, I would body check often, feeling all around.you actually got good news but the dog is young and it is not uncommon once a dog has a mct, that they get more.
      that being said, in my opinion, and I'm no dr, the second vet you spoke with sounded a bit aggressive with his suggested treatment.
      however, I might go to an oncologist,report in hand, and listen to his suggestions. My situation was very different as my vet foolishly 'trimmed' the tumor because he was positive it was 'nothing' and then it wasn't and we had no certainty about margins. Sadly, we had to remove, his entire side of his chest ( imagine when you carve a turkey's breast) to ensure that the margins were in fact, clean.we then visited with an oncologist every 3 months, for a good going over.and alan did not die from a mct.
      as I said, you actually got a good report but I would examine with your hands,often.

    6. #5
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      With a grade 1 and clean margins, I don't think chemo and/or radiation are necessary. My best friend's dog had a MCT removed last year and I went with her to see the oncologist (she was very upset and I knew that she would never retain anything the vet told her). I can tell you what they did for her dog. Layla's was a grade 2 with clean margins, plus she had a cancerous tumor removed from her mouth several years ago, so there's a cancer history there. They did an ultrasound of her liver and a chest x-ray to ensure that the cancer had not spread to her lungs or liver (these, apparently, are the first places MCTs will often metastasize). Those came back clear and so they recommended full body scans for her every 3 months (she is 9 years old). If it makes you feel better to see an oncologist, by all means do so, but if your regular vet doesn't think it's necessary, I would personally be comfortable with that if it were my dog. I think I would at least have a chest x-ray done, if you haven't already, just to be sure there's been no metastasis, and have regular follow ups (however often they recommend). And I would also seek out a good holistic vet, as TXLabLover suggested. They will have you change her diet and maybe do some other supplements to support your dog's immune system.

      ETA - As someone else above suggested, I would also never give your dog another vaccination. Ever. Hopefully you live in a state where you can get a health waiver for the rabies, but if not, again, the holistic vet can help with homeopathic remedies to give before and after. I'd only do it if absolutely necessary because of the law.

    7. #6
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      My Moby had a mast cell removed over a year ago with clean margins and no reaccurance. No one recommended any further treatment - but that is perhaps because he is 13 - and 14 in September. That being said - I would concur with everyone else on the board here - and opt to do nothing but to remain vigilant. Sometimes treatments cause more problems - and you have a young and healthy lab. I might consider going to a raw - no grain diet - which I did for Moby after his cancer diagnosis. He looked great on raw. Good luck! I am sure your baby will be fine now.
      Forever in my heart - Sweet gentle Moby - lover of belly rubs, bacon, and Barbara 9-10-2001 to 11-2-2015

    8. #7
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      Hello and Welcome!

      So sorry your and your pup are going through this. No experience but wanted to send good thoughts.
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    9. #8
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      Thanks for all the advice!

      I feel a lot more confident now that the second vet was just being overly aggressive. We'll talk to the vet again on Saturday but will probably just end up monitoring her extra close going forward.

      Thank you!

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