Dog Has Mast Cell Tumor

You are told “your dog has cancer” a mast cell tumor. For anyone that has a pet they are the most awful words one wants to hear. I have had two dogs die from cancer this year Curley and my Mobert and now their buddy Hunter had a tumor cut off his toe that the Vet was pretty certain it was cancerous. Did I mention that I HATE cancer?

Hunter had a mast cell tumor removed from his toe on Nov. 22, 2010

Mast cell tumors are “graded” as to how likely they are to be malignant, the higher the grade, the more serious the tumor.

  • Grade I: Occurs in the skin and are mostly considered benign. Although they may be large and difficult to remove, they tend to not spread to other areas of the body. Most mast cell tumors are Grade I.
  • Grade II: Extend below the skin into the subcutaneous tissues. Their cells show some characteristics of malignancy and their response to treatment can be unpredictable.
  • Grade III: Invade areas deep below the skin, are very aggressive, and require more involved treatment.
  • In addition to grading mast cell tumors, they are also staged, which is a measurement of how they have spread in the body.

Hunters would be a Grade II and a Stage I: Which is one tumor in the skin, with no lymph node involvement. Which is pretty good odds…I hope.

Mast cell tumors are usually treated by surgical removal. This is the treatment of choice for most Vets, and when correctly performed, will most of the time cure Grade I and Grade II tumors. It is important that the tumor is carefully removed and a large area of ‘healthy’ tissue around the tumor is also removed. Therefore it is difficult to determine exactly where the tumor begins and healthy tissue starts, so a wide margin (large portion of healthy tissue around the tumor, at least one inch) should be removed along with the tumor. With Hunters toe there really wasn’t a lot of ‘healthy’ tissue so we will have to keep our fingers cross and say a few prays.

The above pictures are before the removal. It wasn’t that I waited so long to have them taken off but I had to wait for the Vet to have the room to operate, which by then his toe was really getting worst. Below are pictures after the tumor was taken off. I have to take him back on December 8th to get the stitches out. If the tumor grows back the Vet said he would have to probably remove the whole toe.

We chose not to send it off for a biopsy. Our Vet has seen this type of tumor and like I said was pretty certain it was cancerous. Not that I don’t love Hunter…how can you have a dog and not love them and want to do everything you can to give them a happy, healthy life. Hunter also has thyroid problems and so many other lumps (most are fatty tumors) he is over 12 years old (not that he is too old). He breathes like Darth Vader and the Vet said that was because he has what is called Laryngeal Paralysis. This is caused by some condition affecting the recurrent laryngeal nerves leading to a loss of their function.

Hunters is paralysis on one side the Vet has no idea how this happen. When the Vet was putting the tube down his throat for him to breathe during the operation to remove the lump on his toe is when he discovered it. So from what I understand, Laryngeal Paralysis is seen in older dogs and is caused when the nerves and muscles of the larynx do not function properly, one or both sides of the larynx do not open or close as they should, impairing breathing.

I would do anything for Hunter if I thought it would really help him live longer, as I would have done for Curley and Moebert who was my heart. I wish I would have known about The Dog Cancer Survival Guide book written by Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM when I was going through trying to help them. I probably could have made a difference in Curley’s life but not my Moebert’s because he never show any signs that anything was wrong until it was too late.

I would highly recommend buying this book. Of course there are other books and other website that sell vitamins for dogs that have cancer to boost their immune system and claim they can help your pet, believe me I tried them and they did nothing.  Dr. Demian Dressler, DVM has a lot more answers for helping your dog fight that horrible disease.

You can get  The Dog Cancer Survival Guide at Amazon (This is Kindle)

Dog Cancer Survival Guide: Beyond Surgery, Chemotherapy & Radiation Kindle Edition

Or you can go to his website

Hunter has too many other problems to go through Chemotherapy & Radiation, so hopefully with this book I can help him live the rest of his life more comfortable. And hopefully the tumor on his toe won’t grow back.

To You and Your Pets Health,



FTC DISCLOSURE: You can assume that in some cases I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product mentioned in this message and may be compensated if you are to purchase from an affiliate link. You should always perform due diligence before purchasing goods or services from anyone – online or offline. Also in most cases what I write is based on my own opinion and experiences.

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6 Responses
  1. michella says:

    hi my dog she is a boxer she has mast cell stage 2 I am trying the essential oils for her i am not going to do the chemo that is not for summer what do you think i should try.

  2. Alice says:

    Sorry to hear about your doggie. You didn’t say where the tumor was, sometimes they can be removed with good success. Chemo would be not be an option for me but then that’s me and everyone has to make their own decision. Changing her diet and vitamins might help. I never tried essential oils so I don’t know about them. Talk to your Vet and see what they recommends.

  3. Whanz says:

    Dogs also has a kind of sickness that people experienced. They can catch this kind of sickness if the dog doesn’t take good care properly by the owner. So we should really taka care our pet.

  4. Kasey McMahon says:

    Alice, thank you for the information. I went to the vet this morning with my French Bulldog to discuss a reoccurring skin problem..sadly, they were quick to diagnose mass cell tumor and not even confident they could remove all of the tumors during surgery. In fact, I initially went to Smeagol’s primary vet who wanted to do the surgery immediately, then drove to my friend’s vet practice (which is much farther), for confirmation. We sent off the needle biopsy this morning for confirmation, buts he is very confident this is what we are dealing with. I don’t know what stage/grade it is but I guess I find some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone.

  5. Alice says:

    Hi Kasey, Sorry to hear about your doggie. I sent you an email with some information I hope you receive it and it doesn’t end up in your junk mail. Mass cell tumors can be remove will great success I sure hope you dog will be one of them. Please keep in touch.


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