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Mast cell diagnosis

October 17th, 2013, 03:13 PM
Hi all I'm hoping you can help answer some questions or share your experiences. My boxer Juliet is 12.5 she has a ton of lumps & bumps all over & had 2 very large ones on her chest. Took her in to have them checked because my vet was afraid they may hinder her walking. While there the vet did a fine needle aspiration on them & they were both fatty. She also checked a 3rd much smaller one & it turned out to be a mast cell tumor. The vet than sent us out with some reading material & decisions to make.

After many heartbreaking discussions we have decided not to do surgery. She has a heart murmur & a really bad cough nearly completely blind & deaf, her right rear paw is completely lame & her left is barely still working. We are all very concerned about her surviving surgery let alone recovery.

So I figured we'd just watch it & see as she is still her happy self. They recommended that we put her on Benadryl & all of this was done on Tuesday. Yesterday we measured the mass so we could keep an eye on it to see if it grows(after the vet messed with it, it immediately doubled in size). We got a measurement of 3cm yesterday today it is up to 7CM. She is still on the Benadryl & I guess I just thought by today the histamine reaction would stop & it at least would not get bigger.

Is this a bad sign of things to come? By messing it did we make it worse? Or is this normal & it will calm back down? Please if you have any info, advice or experience with things like this I would really like to hear it.

Thank you!

October 18th, 2013, 08:14 AM
I'm so sorry your having to deal with this diagnosos. It is so truly hard to see them in pain and ill. My boy Winston passed a couple of years ago developed a tumor on his shoulder blade area within a period of 1 week. It grew tobe the size of a small cantalope. We did the same as you and opted for not surgically removing it because he likely wouldnt have recovered.
Basically we decided to enjoy the remaining time we had with our boy and made sure he was not suffering. The vet prescribed some pain meds and we were able to enjoy about 6 weeks with him before we knew it was time.
He made the decision on his own really, he stopped eating.
It is a very hard thing to decide but it is the kindest thing we could do for our pets.

Enjoy your time and you will know when the time is right.

BTW the tumor we had grew very quickly as well. It was called a mass stromal tumor.

Good Luck! and we would love to see a pic or 2.


October 18th, 2013, 12:33 PM
Thank you so much for your response & I'm so very sorry for your loss.

The past year has been so hard because she has times when she is doing really well than times she is not. Still getting a cancer diagnosis hit like a ton of bricks. Of course I knew it was possible but just hoped we would never hear that. Through it all the one constant is she is always a happy girl & has continued to eat.

I have heard so many very sad stories I'm dreading moving forward. At this time she is doing OK, just sleeping a lot. Currently she does not seem to be in pain, fingers crossed that continues for a s long as possible.

I will try to put some pictures up this weekend.

Thanks again.

October 20th, 2013, 01:26 AM
I am so very sorry for the diagnosis. Cancer sucks.

This thread may help you, if you want to find some things to support your girl.

I would have also had them aspirated, because it's helpful to know what you are dealing with. In the thread above, this is a boxer, prone to MCT, so it was a pretty good diagnosis, even without an aspirate. In Boxers, they also grow slower.

I'm liking quercitin and curcumin for MCT as a start.

October 20th, 2013, 01:29 AM
I should add, that although I loathe pred, during flairs might be appropriate to give. My long time vet has had some amazing pred recoveries from MCTs. It also helped thi dog linked above, though I would want to gear up with many of the supplements if the tumor is growing.

October 23rd, 2013, 08:30 AM
MaxaLisa thank you so much for your response & the link to the thread it was very helpful.

They did aspirate the mass & we also have talked about the pred. Decided to hold off & treat with Benadryl for awhile to see if that calms down the flair. For the past couple of days I have seen no change so I'm hoping that means the flair is calming down.

Again I appreciate your responses so very much. Thanks again.

October 24th, 2013, 04:14 AM
One thing about the benadryl vs the supplements. The benadryl will keep the histamine down, which will help. AFAIK, it does not have additional anti-cancer properties, like the supplements do.

I forgot to mention tagamet - VERY important for MCTs, not just for histamine, but for it's anti-cancer properties.

Best of luck, I hope she beat the odds :fingerscr

October 24th, 2013, 06:16 PM
I'm sorry I forgot to mention as I began to read the link you shared I saw the Tagament & started that. Thanks again that link has been amazingly helpful.

As for other supps querctin & curcumin can she take those with the Benadryl & tagament? Get them from a pet or health food store. What dosage do you recommend?

Thank you again!

October 24th, 2013, 09:31 PM
The quercitin would replace the benadryl, being a strong anti-histamine, but you would want to give the quercitin, and then slowly decrease the benadryl if that's what you want to do. Watch the tumor carefully during any changes in protocol. Definitely start anything one at a time and observe response. I don't know of any reason why these can't be given together.

I'm glad the thread has been helpful.

I should say, the tagamet is an immune stimulator. If there is any type of autoimmune diease, there might be an aggravation. My GSD couldn't take it because it made his paw well, but he wa a medical mess. This is precisely though the property which makes it a powerful cancer fighter. Very few dogs have problems with it.

October 25th, 2013, 08:00 AM
Started the tagament on wed. There has always been a line that comes off of the mass, it runs along her rib cage. It seems over night it doubled in width. Do you think that could be from the tagament?

October 25th, 2013, 10:56 AM
When would you consider the pred?

October 26th, 2013, 04:45 AM
While it shouldn't be the tagamet, I have learned to rule out nothing and often suspect the unsuspected :( The fact that it grew before quickly, maybe it's jut at that stage and the immune system needs more help. I had a girl who could not tolerate tagamet because it made her fllank swell where she had a chronic vaccine reaction.

I hate pred, but it has it's role. If I thought I was losing ground, I would try pred. And then I would try to get it to the lowest dose possible. It's tricky, since high doses might just stomp this thing down, but if you need it for maintenance, you want to stay low, so it will be determined by response of the lumps, how it's tolerated, etc.

I might stop the tagamet and make sure I'm using a large enough dose of the benadryl. If I'm still seeing growth, then consider strongly the pred.

In that thread, I a boxer, a breed where these tumors are common, multiple, and tend to be less aggressive than in other dogs. So would have to be careful to compare and think if all those things worked in that dog, why won't they work here? I also think they used pred at some point for a bit.

October 26th, 2013, 08:42 AM
It grew quite a bit last night. Talked to vet this am & they are having me up the Benadryl & add in Pepcid. If no improvement bring her in on Mon. I have not gotten through the entire thread so admittedly I have not gotten to the part where they added the pred. Plan on reading some more of it this AM.

Vet didn't say anything about stopping the tagament but I think I'm going to drop it just to see if it makes a difference.

Fingers crossed it at least stops growing between now & Monday!

October 27th, 2013, 05:09 PM
I don't think that the pepcid is much of a help, except it might help with some stomach upset, but should make a difference for the tumor.

If it was still growing after adding the tagamet, I would definitely stop it.

I hope it hasn't grown anymore!

October 27th, 2013, 05:13 PM
Pred in that thread was started 9/8/12:

I do not know when they stopped it.

October 27th, 2013, 05:51 PM
Did stop the tagament & the mass is smaller today. Going to watch it over night & decide if I 'm bringing her in to talk pred tomorrow.

Thanks for linking back to that part of the thread. Brought me to tears. Julie is 12&1/2 & she has been there for us just as Banshee is for them. Went on to the end & I see Banshee is still hanging in :fingerscr for her!

October 29th, 2013, 11:17 PM
I hope that the growth has stopped for good!

October 30th, 2013, 01:26 PM
Unfortunately its not going well. We went back to the vet today because she was miserable. She shakes twitches & jerks constantly & her breathing was very shallow & somewhat labored.

When the vet examined her we could see clearly that she has some pain in her mid back. There is also 5 new lumps that have appeared since we aspirated the 1st one. I fear that there may be a heart problem or the cancer may have already spread to her lungs. The vet said we could do labs & xrays but she couldn't guarantee that we would get any answerers for sure & since surgery & chemo are not an option there really isn't a point.

We decided to go ahead & give 10mg of pred a try with tramadol for pain. Neither the vet or I can say for sure if the breathing shaking jerking & pulling away when we touch her are from pain or the histamine reaction. She feels that the pred can help for both the histamine & any arthritis pain she may have. At this point I'm holding my breath, crossing my fingers & praying for a miracle.

Thanks again

October 30th, 2013, 01:47 PM
Crossing my fingers and praying with you, dreams :grouphug:

October 31st, 2013, 11:32 PM
Sure do hope that the pred brings some relief. I'm so sorry.

November 21st, 2013, 11:40 AM
Hello all wanted to update you and ask a question. We did wind up doing a course of pred & it did seem to stop the masses from growing. The pred was rough on her though & I have no plans of putting her through that again. She was so miserable while on it but since it stopped more masses from coming out & the original ones from growing I guess it was worth it.

Flash forward to last night. Let her out & went back in for a moment came back to get her & she was wandering dazed & confused. Her back legs kept almost giving out & she was totally disoriented. I ran to her & as she got to our other door she just collapsed. She laid there for a few moments again still disoriented. She than got up & I helped her as we walked to the other door to go in. On the way in she threw up & at that point I could tell that prior to this she had pee'd all over the patio. I got her inside & she seemed very out of it & in pain. Her eyes were crying & her face looked very drawn. Gave her some tramadol & spent the night by her side. Today she is up & moving but still low energy & still seems sad.

She was only out for a few moments our other dog was with her. She is allergic to bug bites but I can't find any as she normally swells right up & breaks in to hives. Our backyard is safe & fenced with 6ft stockade fence. I see no obvious injuries on her. What could have happened?? What does this mean?? Waiting to hear from my vet but hoping someone may have seen something like this before & could help shed some light on this for me.

As always thanks again & I appreciate any help more than you could ever know.

November 21st, 2013, 12:25 PM
I am so very sorry that you are having to go through this. I just wanted to say that although we try our best to help our pets, sometimes we just have to let them go. It is the hardest decision to go through yet it also the kindest thing we could do for our pets. I have copied a Quality of Life Scale for you perhaps it will help you determine what course of action you need to take.


Quality of Life Scale
(The HHHHHMM Scale)
Pet caregivers can use this Quality of Life Scale to determine the success of Pawspice care. Score patients using a scale of: 0 to 10 (10 being ideal).
HURT - Adequate pain control & breathing ability is of top concern. Trouble breathing outweighs all concerns. Is the pet's pain well managed? Can the pet breathe properly? Is oxygen supplementation necessary?
HUNGER - Is the pet eating enough? Does hand feeding help? Does the pet need a feeding tube?
HYDRATION - Is the pet dehydrated? For patients not drinking enough water, use subcutaneous fluids daily or twice daily to supplement fluid intake.
HYGIENE - The pet should be brushed and cleaned, particularly after eliminations. Avoid pressure sores with soft bedding and keep all wounds clean.
HAPPINESS - Does the pet express joy and interest? Is the pet responsive to family, toys, etc.? Is the pet depressed, lonely, anxious, bored or afraid? Can the pet's bed be moved to be close to family activities?
MOBILITY - Can the pet get up without assistance? Does the pet need human or mechanical help (e.g., a cart)? Does the pet feel like going for a walk? Is the pet having seizures or stumbling? (Some caregivers feel euthanasia is preferable to amputation, but an animal with limited mobility yet still alert, happy and responsive can have a good quality of life as long as caregivers are committed to helping their pet.)
MORE GOOD DAYS THAN BAD - When bad days outnumber good days, quality of life might be too compromised. When a healthy human-animal bond is no longer possible, the caregiver must be made aware that the end is near. The decision for euthanasia needs to be made if the pet is suffering. If death comes peacefully and painlessly at home, that is okay.
*A total over 35 points represents acceptable life quality to continue with pet hospice (Pawspice).
Original concept, Oncology Outlook, by Dr. Alice Villalobos, Quality of Life Scale Helps Make Final Call, VPN, 09/2004; scale format created for author’s book, Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Revised for the International Veterinary Association of Pain Management (IVAPM) 2011 Palliative Care and Hospice Guidelines. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alice Villalobos & Wiley-Blackwell.
QoL Scale Introduction/Summary
Alice Villalobos, DVM, DPNAP, a renowned veterinary oncologist, introduced “Pawspice”, a quality of life program for terminally ill pets. Pawspice starts at diagnosis and includes symptom management, gentle standard care and transitions into hospice as the pet nears death. Dr. Villalobos developed a scoring system to help family members and veterinary teams assess a pet’s life quality, The HHHHHMM Quality of Life Scale. The five H’s stand for: Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene and Happiness. The two M’s stand for Mobility and More good days than bad. The QoL scale is also a helpful decision making tool to assist pet lovers in the difficult process of making the final call for the gift of euthanasia to provide a peaceful and painless passing for their beloved pet. Available for download at
QoL Scale Caption
Original concept, Oncology Outlook, by Dr. Alice Villalobos, Quality of Life Scale Helps Make Final Call, VPN, 09/2004; scale format created for author’s book, Canine and Feline Geriatric Oncology: Honoring the Human-Animal Bond, Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Revised for International Veterinary Association of Pain Management (IVAPM) 2011 Hospice Statement. Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alice Villalobos & Wiley-Blackwell.

November 21st, 2013, 01:37 PM
Thank you that does help. I feel like I'm waiting for her to tell me. She still eats & drinks & is happy to see us but after last night I just don't know.

I did hear back from the vet she thinks it sounds like a histamine reaction set off by the cancer for some reason. Either she may have bumped the mass or it may have just had a histamine release for no good reason. Either way she doesn't think its a good sign. One of the worst parts is DH doesn't see any problems. He honestly thinks she bumped her head last night & knocked herself out. I wish I could believe him but I just don't think that's what happened. Histamine reaction does make sense I don't know guess we watch & see over the next few days.

Thanks again.