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Old 20th February 2009, 09:58 AM
Boxer Buddy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 64
Large hard lump under front leg...

Nicki has been through a lot over the last few years - so has our bank account, but she's worth every penny! She survived bloat, which was caused by a vet visit for knee xray and tooth cleaning which included removal of gum overgrowth. She's had knee surgery. She had one Stage 2 and one Stage 3 MCT removed, and now she has 3 more. She had been on prednisone for the MCTs for 6 months, but we took her off because she was having too many side effects. We can tell she feels so much better off of pred!

She also has a large lump under her front leg - it's on her chest, but right by the armpit. It is the size of a golfball, and it's actually more heartshaped. It is hard, not squishy. The vet said he'd have to aspirate it to see what it is. I'm afraid to aspirate because when she had a similar lump on her neck in the area of a lymph node the lump degranulized and the next thing we knew it was the size of a softball. Since then we haven't felt any lumps in the same area of her neck, so we're puzzled about what it was. The vet thinks it may be a MCT in the lymph node, or a MCT with lymph-nodal involvement.

Has anyone else experienced a similar lump like the one under her arm? Does anyone know what it means when it's hard? I don't think it's a MCT, but I guess it's possible.

Any help/advice would be greatly appreciated. Nicki is 11 now and we're really having a hard time deciding how to treat the MCTs and other lumps. We don't want her going through surgery every time we see a lump (I'm going to look into the lump injections Cami got for her MCTs). She's our first child and we want her to be happy for the time she has left with us, but she had a hard time with the pred and I don't know if injections will be easier or not.

Thanks for listening!
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Old 20th February 2009, 02:12 PM
Cami's Avatar
Boxer Insane
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Westerville Ohio
Posts: 5,719
Prednisone can be a life saver in certain situations. Some dogs NEED it for any number of things and never have problems with it however it can also be some pretty nasty stuff causing any number of health conditions.
I'm glad to hear that you have stopped using it for the MCT's (since it appears to not be working in that department). It's my understanding that a lot of dogs with MCT's get put on it in an attempt to PREVENT future tumors altogether OR to delay the onset of new ones time wise (meaning longer duration of time between new ones presenting themselves).

Cami's oncologist wanted to put her on it (orally) for 6 months. If she developed any new tumors while on it she would be taken off since it wouldn't be working. If it did work and no new tumors presented she would still come off of it BUT we would know that it would be a possibly good treatment for them at that time. I nixed that idea. I know in my heart that she will keep getting them. She has been getting them for 4 years now. She has multi-centric mast cell disease (young at onset with multiples over a long period of time).
I choose to deal with them when they present. I HIGHLY recommend the injections even though it is a form of prednisone. It is a very low dose and not administered orally and it's not long term. Plus it WORKS in 50% of cases (actually 100% for 4 of Cami's). I'll take those odds any day.

Is there an oncologist in your area? A vet school (teaching hospital) or vet ER practice? A cancer patient needs a cancer doctor.

Anytime a growth is a suspected MCT it is very wise to have an antihistamine administered before any manipulation of the growth (including needle aspiration) is done. Manipulation of the tumor can result in something called "Darier's Sign". Redness, swelling and hives. Sometimes it can be a severe reaction other times not as much. Better to be safe than sorry. "Waking" those tumors up can result in a lot of serious complications.
Susi & Raine
Forever missing.....my angel Cami
3/25/03 - 2/17/10

Old 20th February 2009, 02:36 PM
Mama's Boys's Avatar
Super Boxer
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Maryland, USA
Posts: 620
I'm sorry to hear about all that poor Nicki has been through. I don't have any advice, but did want to tell you that I'm also in Maryland, and recently asked my vet for referrals for oncologists in MD. I'd be happy to give you their names so that you can look them up if you are interested.
Amy, Mom to:
Rambo- Fawn, Male, born 5/9/2005
RIP Vegas- Yellow Lab 2/5/04-3/23/10

Old 28th February 2009, 07:27 PM
Boxer Buddy
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Maryland
Posts: 64
Somehow I didn't get email notices about your responses to my message, so I was thinking that for some reason it didn't post. Thank you both for commenting, and Cami for your advice too. Nicki really has been through a lot - my neighbor said her name should have been Lucky!

Mama's Boys - I'd love to hear your references. We were recommended a vet in Annapolis who I've heard really good things about. I've been told people come from all over the US to see her. I can't remember her name though, I just know she's at the Annapolis office. That's about 45 mins to 1 hr from me, so it's definitely an option.