Canine mast cell tumor diagnoses can be alarming for pet owners, but this is a fairly common skin cancer in dogs. This type of canine cancer affects mainly older dogs and some high risk breeds such as Boston Terrier, Boxer and English Bulldogs.
Mast cells exist in tissues of the body and are a part of the immune system. When stimulated, they release histamine, proteolytic enzymes and heparin that result in allergic symptoms. The cause of this type of tumor is not known and the best outcome depends on an early diagnosis.
Canine Mast Cell Tumor Symptoms
The fact that these tumors can occur anywhere makes them masterracksbd difficult to detect. They usually develop in the skin, accounting for 20 percent of canine skin tumors. They can appear as single or multiple lumps, or masses of lumps.
Pet owners need to pay close attention to their dog so they can notice physical changes quickly. Aside from the physical signs, the affected dog may display other symptoms such as:
– blood in the stool
– slow to heal wounds
– intestinal ulcers and problems
Diagnosis of Canine Mast Cell Tumor
Your vet will perform a needle aspirate on the mass to remove some cells for examination under a microscope. This determines the existence and type of tumor.
Once the tumor is surgically removed, a biopsy is carried out to assess the grade and stage of the tumor. Grading determines whether tumor is benign or malignant while staging measures the extent of the tumor spreading in the body. They help to ascertain the best course of treatment and the prognosis.
Canine Mast Cell Tumor Treatment
Surgery is the main treatment for removing the tumor and some healthy tissues surrounding it.
Radiation is used when surgical removal is not recommended or when the tumor has not been completely removed by surgery. This treatment is not effective if the tumor has metastasized.
Chemotherapy is only recommended for treating grade 3 tumor that is highly malignant. It is used in combination with surgery.
There can be complexities involved in diagnosing and treating a canine mast cell tumor. This is largely due to the fact that it can affect so many different areas and symptoms will vary even among dogs with similar tumor locations. It is important for dog owners to understand the importance of reporting suspicious growth or skin lesions. Early detection and treatment have been shown to provide the best chance of survival.
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