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My cousin just emailed me that his wonderful rescue chocolate Lab, Sally, has been diagnosed with this...any info out there...??? Thanks for any help !!
 

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Unfortunately I do know about Mast cell tumours as Duncan, my 11 year old black lab was diagnosed with one a couple of months ago.

The REALLY important thing is that the tumour is removed with wide margins (>2cm if possible). Duncan's was on his neck about midway down, 1" in size .... he came home with an incision running from above his ear right down to where his neck met his shoulder. The surgeon also ended up taking part of his cleidocervicalis muscle, leaving a sizeable hole in his neck.

As you may know, Mast cells are one of 3 grades (depending on how extensive they are and the characteristics of the cells within the mass) and 4 grades (depending on lymph node involvement, metastases etc) , which can only be determined after the mass is removed and other tests like ultrasound, buffy coat smear and bone marrow aspirates are performed. Grade I tumors, if removed with clean margins are typically curable. Grade II's even with clean margins have a 20% recurrance rate and are unpredictable in how they will act. Survival rates seem to vary between papers, but it seems about 75% of dogs with a Grade II live > 6 months unless you do radiation treatment when >80% live over 5 years. Grade III are aggressive tumours with a poor prognosis, only 15% living >6 months after diagnosis.

Now, after having said this, dogs don't read papers or textbooks. I have several colleagues who have dogs with Grade II tumours who are >1 year post mass removal and doing great.

Duncan also had a Grade II, stage I tumour. He was put on Benedryl and Famotidine prior to, and for a few weeks post surgery (Mast cells release histamine, that can cause GI upset). In fact many dogs with Mast Cell disease don't die from the tumours, but rather because they have GI side effects (e.g. ulcers) that affect their quality of life.

Unfortunately for Duncan he is going back for a recheck tomorrow as his incision has developed a new lump along it. I think it is a suture reaction, but Mast cells are known as great pretenders, so every new lump and bump needs to be checked out.

One other thing I did was to change Duncan to a low carb diet (I use Natures Variety Prairie) as cancer cells like carbs.

There are several good support groups including the Canine Cancer list (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CanineCancer/) and the Canine Cancer Comfort list (http://www.caninecancerawareness.org). There are members of these groups who have much more experience and advice than I.

Wishing Sally the best
 

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My dog had a grade one removed when he was 7. He died at 14.5 of something unrelated and the cancer had never returned.
Over the years he had many other lumps and bumps, all benign.
Prayers for some good news!
 

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They are the most common tumor I believe, and can be "easy" to remove or can be very very fatal.

There are some links in here to some info on tagamet:

http://search.lef.org/cgi-src-bin/MsmGo....er%20tagamet%20
http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/cimetidine.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0ISW/is_2002_April/ai_84211163/print

There is a lot of info about mast cell tumors on the yahoo canine cancer list. Treatment depends on the dog, the tumor, and what your cousin is willing to do.

Here's a thread that contains lots of success stories:
http://www.germanshepherds.com/forum/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=442265&page=17#Post442265

Here's a pic after my girl's surgery nearly a year ago:
http://i47.photobucket.com/albums/f179/other95/medical/IMG_2267edit.jpg
 

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I seem to remember a canine oncologist, maybe in Viena, VA? I think we have one here in Annapolis on Bestgate Road.
 
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