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Old 19th May 2009, 06:49 PM
lawka's Avatar
Boxer Pal
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: canada/ontario
Posts: 12
Mass Cell Tumor

My Buster has just been diagnosed with a Mass cell tumor on his ankle, and our vet says he can not remove it but wants to refer us to a Surgeon (perhaps Guelf U) as it is a difficult place to have one. They have done a fine needle aspiration, and they believe it is a grade 1 tumor. I'm at a real loss what to do, as I lost my boxerXmastiff just over five years ago to cancer and what the family and Angus went through was hell. I was told that Mass cell tumors were the worse kind of cancer a dog could get when we last went through this and he did not have a mass cell and it was real bad time. But after reading alot on the internet and on BW, they do not seem to be as bad as I thought they were.
I know I am rambling but I am shocked and confused it's too soon to have to go through this kind of thing again and I do not want to lose another one of my babies to this disease.
Mom to
Buster & Lady
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Old 20th May 2009, 06:00 AM
Super Boxer
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Wellington, Ohio
Posts: 328
I'm so sorry! I'm going through this now with my Brutus. He just had a tumor removed in Oct and he has 3 now on his lip line that look like mast cell tumors. They will be removed on Friday. Boxers are famous for MCT, but from what I'm hearing from other owners, they are treatable. I also have many friends who's boxers have had MCT's removed and did well with a long happy life. I'll include Buster in the prayer's I am saying for Brutus. The most important thing is to have a vet and surgeon you are comfortable with and trust. Mine are wonderful and are making this whole process alot easier on the both of us! Good luck!
Mom to Brutus Franklin~~8 1/2 years old

Old 20th May 2009, 07:01 AM
auntthelm's Avatar
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: USA/Michigan
Posts: 1,999
I am so sorry to read that Brutus and Buster have MCT. I have no experience with this, but wanted to send lots and lots of positive, healthy, and healing vibes to Brutus and Buster.
(((((((((((Hugs and prayers))))))))))) lawka and ROROSHELTON.
Crystal - Fawn, floppy and docked. Joy of the family and my best friend.
8-9-97 to 11-12-07.
Roxy - Brindle, floppy and docked born 1/25/08

Old 20th May 2009, 07:42 AM
Cami's Avatar
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Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Westerville Ohio
Posts: 5,720
I am sorry to hear about Buster's diagnosis.
First and foremost....

The truth is that in BOXERS *if* you have to deal with a certain type of cancer then a Mast Cell tumor is the "best" one to face (lower grade preferred and limited to the skin).

Typically Boxers face less aggressive mast cell tumors than other breeds but on the flip side are more prone to them.

There is no way to GRADE a mast cell with a needle biopsy. Your vet may "hope" that it is a grade one but in reality there is no way to tell WHAT the growth is 100% via an aspiration much less its actual grade. **Your vet may be going on the amount of cells that showed up with the sample he/she took and a smaller number might be the trigger to mentioning that they assume it is a lower grade.

If your vet is suggesting a surgeon due to the tumors location I would first get with an oncologist and discuss the possibility of having the tumor treated with Vetalog. This is a form of prednisone that is injected directly into the tumor, over multiple weeks until it dies (that is the goal). There has been MUCH success with this form of treatment however it is used very little (starting to see it more). This avoids surgery on tumors that are in odd locations as well as avoiding complete sedation on dogs with other issues (health and or age related) that make complete anesthesia a route that might need avoided.

In my girls case she has had 7 surgeries to remove MCT's and then we opted for the Vetalog (after learning about it). This treatment has COMPLETELY KILLED multiple mast cell tumors on her. At last count I believe it was successful in getting rid of 4 tumors. An additional two didn't respond completely and die but got smaller and were able to be removed via a punch biopsy (again no anesthesia).

If the vet is suggesting a surgeon due to the tumors SIZE (larger) this treatment could still be an option. Used often to shrink larger tumors so that the surgical site is smaller to work with. Either or you are dealing with CANCER and best treatment will be received from an oncologist. The majority won't suggest this treatment BUT will gladly offer it if asked! I say this not because it doesn't work (it has a 50% success rate which is considerably higher than chemo and or radiation which come in closer to 20%) but because it does require some work on the owners part. Multiple trips bi-weekly for the injections until you get results. Most start seeing results after the 2nd injection. My girl had 3 gone by the third injection or 6 weeks. Another took about 6 injections.

Vetalog is a COMMON drug used routinely for allergies. There isn't much online about its use with MCT's (but it is out there). Google "Dr. Cheryl London and Vetalog" or "Intralesional triamcinolone and mast cell tumors" or a combination of any of the above!

Also do a search here on BW of those and you can get further info about my girls experiences with the treatment (one was on her ankle).

An oncologist might feel that a surgeon would be your best/easiest route and oftentimes surgery with complete removal of a mast cell is considered "cured" (if you make it past the 6 month mark without it returning). Again your best option would be to let a cancer doctor help you with that decision.

All my best to you and Buster.
Susi & Raine
Forever missing.....my angel Cami
3/25/03 - 2/17/10
The Following User Says Thank You to Cami For This Useful Post:
djheitz (20th May 2009)

Old 20th May 2009, 08:08 AM
djheitz's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: USA/ Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,246
My Roxi has had three in the last three years and is still a very healthy (almost) nine year old. Her last one was on her lower front leg, where there isn't any extra skin, so getting a good margin was difficult. I have read in threads here that injections can be done directly into the tumor to shrink them.
Don't panic - *most* MCT's in Boxers are mild - grade 1 or 2.
Good luck!
Mom to Harley (white, 03/2006), Lizzie (adopted from AABR 08/2013, age 3?)
and Turbo (fawn, adopted from AABR 12/2008, born 2004)

Old 20th May 2009, 05:50 PM
lawka's Avatar
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: canada/ontario
Posts: 12
Thank you very much for all of this information, I am seeing vet which I know specializes in Cancer treatments and surgeries this weekend and I will inquire about Vetalog as I know surgeries are so hard on our babies.

This has been difficult as I am not currently comfotable with the vet that I have as my old one retired just over 2 years ago and have not found one I really like. Hopefully I will get good news