Mast Cell Tumors

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Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Sun Feb 19 2017, 16:26

Hello I've just found this site after scouring the internet for information on Mast Cell Tumors and would be interested to know of other people's experiences.
Our old rescue Monty is about 12 years old and as he's got older he's had a few raised lumps and bumps appearing on his body. We've always had these checked at the vets but were told they were nothing to worry about and it's common in older dogs. However about 6 months ago a small lump appeared on his hind leg under the skin, again we were told to monitor it and so we have been. This lump has become really strange and changes size quite dramatically (one day the size of a grape, the next the size of tomato) but it still didn't seem to bother him so we left it a few weeks then also noticed the hair had fallen out on it also. I'm ashamed to say that I didn't want to take him to the vets as I didn't want to hear any bad news and also as he seemed fine in himself, I felt we should leave things alone. However he had a really bad night on Thursday - he sleeps on our bed and he woke up in the middle of the night with really labored breathing, whole body was tremoring and he just wanted to snuggle up very close to me. This went on for several hours before he managed to settle again and at this point the lump was massive. In the morning the lump had gone down - weird! So took him to the vets on Friday - vet thinks it's a Mast Cell Tumor and wants to remove it along with the other older lumps which he now doesn't like the look of but has said that it's in a very difficult place on the leg as there's not much skin to take a margin. So now I'm just worrying about all sorts of things, will they have to amputate his leg, how will he cope in a cage at the vets, will he be able to exercise, what if they find something awful..? He goes in for the op tomorrow morning but I feel sick just thinking about it and not sure how hubby will be as Monty's his little buddy and is with him all the time.
Sorry for the long post but any advice or experiences would be most appreciated.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sun Feb 19 2017, 17:56

Hi ya, welcome to the forum from Flo and me

Sorry to read that things are a little scary for you and Monty just now. We have a moderator who has been through a similar thing with her dog a while a go and all turned out fine, her Bug is as fit as a fiddle these days.

Any op is a worrying time for us as owners but rest assured he will be fine recovering at the vets in the cage as he will be groggy from the op and won't know what's what for a while (my girl got an overnight in dog hospital and was fine). It really is best to take it one step at a time, the vet has probably given you worst case scenarios just so you're aware.

I know it's easy to say but the best thing is to get Monty in and find out what's going on so the vet can get him on the best course of treatment soon as possible. As for recovery, you will need to stop Monty from climbing, jumping or running until he's healed but, again, the vet will advise you. It's never easy keeping a Staffy calm though is it.

Please do let us know how he gets on and if you have more questions (I'm sure you will have) please feel to ask, there really isn't a silly question.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Sun Feb 19 2017, 18:46

Thank you so much for your reply. I know I'm probably over reacting but it's really helpful to be able to chat about it, he's such a big part of the family. Will let you know how we get on tomorrow.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by stella on Sun Feb 19 2017, 19:07

hia from me and Sasha  Smile, so sorry your going through this,its so worrying for you, my girl is 13 this year and like monty has a few lumps and bumps on her,like you we have taken her and had them checked out just to be told fatty lumps dogs get them as they get older,they do change some times a little bigger and some days its a job to find them  Surprised,we have talked(hubby) and myself about what we would do if it came to a big op as i dont know if i would want to put her through a big op at her age,i guess until it comes to it we dont know for sure,please let us know how Monty gets on,paws crossed for you both 


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sun Feb 19 2017, 21:24

It's natural to feel as you do, they are such a huge part of our lives with personalities to match, I'd be more worried if you weren't concerned.

Fingers and paws crossed that things go as we all hope Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by GRAHAM.C on Sun Feb 19 2017, 23:15

It's only natural to worry,I think we all would if we were in your shoes.It's just like having one of your children sick,isn't it ?
All I can say is I hope everything works out fine and make a very speedy recovery.Please let us know how he gets on.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by stella on Mon Feb 20 2017, 20:39

Hope all went well today  Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Mon Feb 20 2017, 22:14

Thank you all for your kind thoughts. Brought Monty home about 6pm and he did look poorly. The vet had removed the big lump on his leg and another 8 smaller lumps all over his body, so he had big shaved patches and loads of stitches and was quite sleepy still. I popped out for a few hours and left him with hubby and when I came back he got up to greet me which was so lovely and he's just had a small amount of food, so both good signs. He has a bit of very strong smelling diarrhea which is probably the result of the anesthetic, hopefully that will settle soon.
Fingers crossed he will be able to sleep tonight. Just have to wait for the lab results now.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Mon Feb 20 2017, 22:20

IT does take them a while to recover from the anaesthetic so there's nothing unusual about what your seeing, fab news that he got up to greet you Big Grin

Sounds like the vet got a good take on the leg lump which is positive and the patchwork look won't last long. Fingers and paws all crossed here that the lab results are good.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Mistys Mum on Mon Feb 20 2017, 22:25

So glad to hear Monty is home and perking up a bit. Good luck for the results I really hope you all get good news xx


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by GRAHAM.C on Mon Feb 20 2017, 22:36

Some very good signs from Monty there,and the very best of luck with his results.You are doing the very best you can for the old gent.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by LizP on Tue Feb 21 2017, 08:03

Fingers crossed they've got everything. As Ian says, anesthetic can do odd things for a day or two but hopefully Monty will be back to his usual self in no time.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Tue Feb 21 2017, 18:46

After a very restless and smelly night (the poo just kept coming - sorry) I'm pleased to say Monty is much more perky again today. More than can be said for me and hubby after 2 hours sleep and having to wash the duvet, the duvet cover and numerous blankets and towels and all before I left for work this morning - still a small price to pay.   Smile Especially when I returned home tonight and saw him trundling around in his big buster collar following hubby and then on spotting me trotting up and promptly sticking his nose in my handbag looking for biscuits. Thank goodness for Pro-kaolin - lol
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Mistys Mum on Tue Feb 21 2017, 18:53

Ah fantastic to hear!! Monty is a lucky pup to have you and hubby looking after him. It's always so nice to see them back to themselves after any kind of op.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by stella on Tue Feb 21 2017, 18:56

aww so pleased for you all,especially Monty  ,you must have been made up when you came in tonight,do let us know how he continues to heal and get back to himself  Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Tue Feb 21 2017, 20:32

Sounds like he's returning to his normal self slowly Big Grin


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by GRAHAM.C on Tue Feb 21 2017, 21:47

It never ceases to amaze me how staffs in particular seem to get over major surgery so quickly,some times too quick for there own good when they are young ones.They just don't seem to feel pain at times do they?
Well done with the recovery Monty,and I hope the old tum tum is getting back to normal.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Sat Feb 25 2017, 11:53

The vet has just rang with the results of Monty's lumps - some good and some bad news.
One of the lumps was just a lipoma or fatty tissue, another was just a skin tag and some of the raised brown lumps were fibromas which are benign tumors. However the large lump on his hind leg and another lump which the vet found on his shoulder were Intermediate Grade 2 Mast Cell Tumors. Sad
The vet had already taken good skin margins around both lumps but was concerned about taking enough margin on the tissue depth, especially on the leg as there isn't much tissue there anyway and it was quite a difficult removal. The only way to ensure any possible cancerous tissue is removed is to do another operation to take more margin in line with the recommended guidelines but in the case of his leg it would mean taking his leg off - which we both agreed is not an option we want to consider.
He suggested getting more lab tests done as there are a number of other tests (Mast Cell Tumor Prognostics Profile) they can do which will give us more information as to how the cancer might react and what the best course of action might be, this takes 2-3 weeks but we agreed this is the best route to go at the moment.
So not the best news but it could have been worse, at least it wasn't Grade 3.

Monty's recovering well, although is getting a little uncomfortable with some of the stitches so having lots of cuddles and biscuits and cake to take his mind off it - really not sure we want to put him through any more ops at his age.

Will keep you updated on how we get on.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Feb 25 2017, 13:11

I would be going down the same route as you are, whilst it's good news about most of the removals I think I would want to know more about the leg lump before deciding what's best for Monty.

Thanks for the update and fingers crossed that no more ops are suggested.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by stella on Sat Feb 25 2017, 21:18

thanks for the update,yes sounds like the route i would go down too,not sure i would want to put him through a big op either,hope he's enjoying all those extra cuddles and biscuits 


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Mia05 on Fri Mar 03 2017, 09:21

Its a lot to take at his age all the very best for the future monty
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by willymandy on Fri Jun 23 2017, 22:26

Hi, My 8 year old girl has just had a small lump(3 days ago) removed from her shoulder and we have been told it was a Subcutaneous Mast Cell Tumor. A margin was removed and like most staffies she hasn't shown any pain and has bounced back to her normal energetic self! She has two other bumps which were not removed because the vet said they felt like skin tags. Now we have been advised to either 1) have those removed and sent off to lab or 2)have a second opinion from a cancer specialist on the tumor that was removed and seek advice about the other 2 lumps and further treatment after the discovery of the MCT. We are confused and worried that a specialist will just be expensive and put our bouncy girl through unnecessary treatment. Has anyone any advice?
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Jun 24 2017, 11:03

Having just put my little lady through major surgery recently Mandy I can fully understand your concerns about further treatment and associated costs etc. I based my judgement on what I felt was best for my Flo and being an older lady always ng with the specialist advise.

What I found with the specialist was that they went for the simplest options first and only offered surgery as the last resort. Not knowing whether they are just in it for the money is always a concern, however, every decent vet will explore non invasive treatment first putting the animal first.

I think i would seek the opinion of the specialist, after all, that's what they are and then base the next action on their advice. Do let us know how Daisy gets on.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by willymandy on Tue Jun 27 2017, 06:29

Thank you for your reply. Daisy is booked in for surgery to remove the other two lumps in a few weeks time.We have decided not to go down the specialist route after a quick chat with them indicated they would suggest chemotherapy.( initial appointment £200)This is not an option we would consider. Apart from the original lump growing in size in two weeks she is showing no other cancer symptoms.she had had this lump for nearly 2 years and I had been told to monitor by 3 different vets at the practive. The vet will also be doing an xray and blood test whilst she is there.We are hoping for better results.I will let you know how we get on.
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On the mend!

Post by willymandy on Sat Jul 29 2017, 16:51

Daisy's surgery was bought forward unexpectedly when she was attacked and injury by a Great Dane a few days before the scheduled surgery. As the wound required surgery the vet removed the two other lumps with a margin at the same time. My poor girl didn't know what had happened she now has a wound on each corner in a space of a month! As usual though she has bounced back and the surgery for the lump removal had healed lovely. The dog bite however is a little more troublesome and a sac of fluid keeps developing under the site. The vet syringed it off and said it was OK as it was blood and is part of the healing process. She really has to take it easy though with short walks on lead which has resulted in a very frustrated girl who is full of energy as she feels just fine! She has been wearing a Kong Cushion(they're amazing) since the op and has to wear it for a further 2 weeks.
Lab results on 2 other lumps came back fine and not cancerous so we are very relieved.=1baa7cf739d983eca25f6885c7e0e0bb&oe=5A06E43F" />
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Jul 29 2017, 17:53

Awww bless her, she really has been through it poor girl. Silver lining though, she's in the clear with the lumps which must be a huge relief for you all Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by LizP on Sun Jul 30 2017, 07:46

Not quite the way you'd have wanted it to happen but, as Ian says, there's a shiny silver lining. Very good news about the lumps.

That's on very smart collar - you could go swimming with it afterwards!


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Saffismum on Mon Aug 21 2017, 16:11

Hi, my baby girl has also had a Mast Cell Tumor removed this week, she had a small lump when we got her in April and it got bigger and bigger, the vet says they got it all but she has been a beast at recovering and isn't healing, it's a messy scar but sleeping with me has calmed her down, mummy's spoilt girly ! The vet assures me repairing that lost stitch will cause her more stress so ugly scar it is ! At least she is well and the op went okay
Apparently Staffy are prone to these tumours?

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Staffiegirl15 on Thu Aug 24 2017, 22:53

My girl Bella has had 7 operations for mast cell tumours in the 2 years I have owned her, her other operation was her neutering. Three came back as medium ( I think classed as 2) , 2 lumps were actually benign, the other 2 were classed as highly aggressive. The first was on her neck, obscured by her collar, & was noticed 2 weeks after we rescued her. That went up & down in size. Free health check missed it. Took to our own vet when increased to the size of a large marble. All the other lumps were little more than the size of a petit pois. & on her chest. We refused to have a strip which would remove all her teats as it would be too traumatic & would take months to heal as both sides would be done. Even the vet said it would be horrific. We opted to remove on a lump by lump basis. Since February this year,( she has lost about half her nipples), she is so far clear. Be vigilant & check your dog regularly, with us it's about once a fortnight. Mast cell tumours are treatable. Our old dog Skye had a tumour on her nose which was removed, but she needed6 months chemotherapy as the margins were not clear. That form of cancer did not return.mast cell tumours are the most common & most treatable type of cancer in dogs. Sorry that your girl has a nasty wound, but hopefully the worst is over for both of you.

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Fri Aug 25 2017, 00:03

Bella has been through so much bless her, she is so lucky to have found a loving home with you. From one Staffy rescue to another thank you Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Thu Dec 07 2017, 14:35

An update - Well it's been 10 months since my initial post when Monty had some nasty mast cell tumors removed from his hind leg and he's been doing really well until about a few months ago.

We started to notice small bumps near the site of the original tumor in this leg but weren't sure if it was just scar tissue as he seemed fine in himself. However the small bump got bigger and some more came up underneath his leg and near to his bum, they then started exhibiting the same problem with increasing in size then shrinking again. At about the same time he started to limp on his other hind leg and didn't like putting any weight on it.  So off to the vets we went, it appears that he has bad arthritis in his hip and yes, the MST had returned Sad  The tumors were also causing him some distress especially at night when he couldn't get comfortable, kept panting, sneezing constantly so similar to before.  

We now had a predicament,  as there was no question of having the tumors removed as it would mean taking his leg off, only leaving one hind leg which was painful and could not take much weight. Also he's 13 and we couldn't put him through all that and the vet agreed, so it's a case of making him comfortable.

The vet put him on painkillers for his arthritis and prescribed piriton for the MST, as when the lumps swell up they flood the body with histamine and it causes his airways to swell, hence the breathing and sneezing problems. All has been fairly stable for a while but he's now waking up every night due to the lumps swelling and breathing difficulties, so having to give him extra piriton in the middle of the night. He sleeps on our bed bless him so we can sort him out quickly. Not sure if this means if it's getting worse Sad  

The other thing we have noticed is that he has got very smelly breath, something which he hasn't had before - has anyone got any advice for this? My worry is that the cancer has spread to his throat.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by gillybrent on Thu Dec 07 2017, 19:59

Thank you so much for the update!

Poor Monty, sounds like he has real trouble getting comfortable, doesn't it? I can't help with any advice other than discussing it with your vet. Is he happy generally?

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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Montysmum on Fri Dec 08 2017, 12:38

Yes he seems quite happy apart from when the MST swell, although he does sleep a lot and only has one walk a day now - poor little man. Think I've discovered the reason for bad breath, nothing sinister fortunately. I think it's because we have changed his food slightly. I bought some tinned dog food in which to mix up some of the joint medicine (he's always had dried food) and the smelly breath seems to occur when he's eaten this.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Mistys Mum on Fri Dec 08 2017, 12:55

So sorry to hear his tumours are back. You sound like you are doing everything to keep him happy and comfortable. Good to hear his breath is nothing serious x


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Dec 09 2017, 15:22

Thanks for the update, it's always nice to hear how they get on. Sorry to read they have returned though, but pleased you've found the reason for the breath.

It sounds to me that he's quiet a happy little fella and your there for when things get uncomfortable Smile


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by ckgoddard191 on Wed Dec 27 2017, 23:20

I am so sorry to hear about monty. I have just come across this post in search for info regarding mast cell tumours. My little man who is 3 has just had 1 removed today and the wound is horrendous. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting with it being on like the crease of his leg. I feel so emotional not seeing him his usual self and feel I can't get him comfortable as he usually sleeps in bed with me and my partner but having to make sure he don't jump up. I have taken him out to go to the toilet a few times but nothing. He came from a abusesive backround and was a very nearvous dog when we first got him but he had come so far in the last year or so but I am now worried he is thinking we are the bad people and take a step backwards.

Obviously the surgery was only earlier today so will get the results back in a week or so but when the vet took cells from the lump I'm the 1st visit I asked if it's cancerous and she said yes. So could the results still come back all ok or as she said it's cancerous it's definitely something bad? Hope I haven't lost his trust I'm absolutely heartbroken
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Wed Dec 27 2017, 23:51

I'm so sorry that you're both going through this, as humans we worry so much about our fur kids. In the last year or so Louie has known nothing but love and affection from you so please don't think he's going to hate you for what you've had to do.

Staffies bounce back really quickly and in a few days you'll see him return to his old self, of that I am certain. With regard the cancer, only the tests will tell what's what so in the meantime try not to worry too much but realise you've done what is best, of that there is no doubt.

Fingers and paws crossed all will have been caught and removed early and you'll have many years with Louie to come.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Nifty staffy on Thu Dec 28 2017, 07:20

I also agree that Louie won’t hate you for the surgery. It may be that alot of his unusual behaviour is because of the anaesthetic anyway.

Got everything crossed for a speedy recovery and peaceful future
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by LizP on Thu Dec 28 2017, 08:47

Don't worry, Louie won't associate any discomfort he's feeling with you, he'll just see you as the people who are being lovely to him when he's feeling rotten.

It always makes us feel bad to have to take our dogs for surgery but don't forget that dogs live in the now and without our knowledge of what might actually be wrong. That means he'll not have your worries about the possible diagnosis and he also won't really know what's happened.

I hope you get better results than you fear. If it does turn out to be bad news, fingers crossed that they've caught it all and that he responds to treatment.

Please let us know how you both get on.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by ckgoddard191 on Thu Dec 28 2017, 23:57

Thank you all for your replies and support. What a difference a day makes. He loves me again lol So the first night he was constantly crying so my partner stayed up all night with him as I had work for 10 hours so I didn't get your see him until 9pn tonight. I have come home and he has certainly cheered up. Took him out in the garden for abit of fresh air and he had his tail wagging and seemed back to his usual self. Had loads of mummy cuddles and boy do I feel better. Still early days so not much walks or exercise but I can't wait to get him back out and about.

Will keep you all updated on the results. Nice to know there are other crazy people like me who share the love for their sbt. Love this site x
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by LizP on Fri Dec 29 2017, 08:45

That's better! It does sound like you've both perked up.

General anesthetic is big stuff, it can take a while to wear off so don't be surprised if he is still a little tired or off his food. As long as he can still cuddle, all will be well.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Dec 30 2017, 10:40

Anaesthetics really does throw them, some tolerate it better than others but all are a little strange for a while after. Sounds like things are getting back to normal now Big Grin

Do let us know how Louie gets on


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by ckgoddard191 on Sat Mar 10 2018, 00:34

Hi everyone. Just thought I would give you all a little update. So it's been 3 months since his op and to look at it looks like it's healed lovely. The results came back as grade 2 out of 3 and they said they were happy they got it all out as they took a bigger area around it and that there was none around the edge if you get what I mean. I have found that since the op he has been limping every now and again but over the Last week it seems to have got worse. I took him back to the vets regarding this and she felt around his leg and said that there is a equal amount of muscle on each leg etc but she can see that he isn't putting his full weight on it and keeps lifting it up. So she told me not to walk him for abit see if that helps but I don't think it will. If not then she said we will go down the imaging route to see what's going on. Anyone else had a simular thing after surgery? Sorry for ranting on lol
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by Nifty staffy on Sat Mar 10 2018, 07:19

It’s nice to have your update and great to hear that the removal was a complete success. Smile
I would just add that it might be an idea to go directly to the imaging route, if possible. You say he’s been limping since the op so for 3 months, would seem unlikely that a bit of rest now would be enough. Just my thoughts though.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by ckgoddard191 on Sat Mar 10 2018, 11:04

The limping has been on and off but over the Last couple of weeks it seems to happen more often. I notice even the little things like going down the stairs or jumping into the car that his leg is lifted so it must ache doing things like that. We had alot of snow recently so I didn't walk him in that and just let him in the garden so he has had alot of rest throughout that week so I agree I don't think abit of rest will cure it.

I don't know alot about it but I'm thinking it's possibly muscle related from where he had the op or something along them lines.
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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

Post by -Ian- on Sat Mar 10 2018, 21:21

Good to hear that all was removed with a good margin. Were you given any physio to carry out on his leg? It could be as simple as the muscle having tightened after surgery and needing gentle stretches. Well worth asking your vet for advice on that.


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Re: Mast Cell Tumors

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