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My 14 year-plus Golden girl Sassy developed a Mast Cell tumor that ruptured last Wednesday. She had this lump for more than year along with many others that had been previously biopsied and determined to be non-cancerous. Given her age we decided more than a year ago that if she developed cancer we would not do surgery or chemo, rather give palliative care. However, this did hit us as quite a shock when suddenly the relatively small lump the vet had assumed was just fatty suddenly ballooned and ruptured in one day. No warning signs that she was even ill. We got her in as soon as possible early the next morning and vet aspirated it and a test showed it was a Mast Cell tumor. Vet said if she was younger she would remove it, but given her age she's not a good candidate for surgery. So, she prescribed Prednisone to shrink it as well has Benadryl 3 times a day to block the histamine released from the tumor, medicated powder to dry up the wound, and a pain med. She also diagnosed her with hypothyroid. She weighed 92 pounds and we've only fed her 3 cups dry food and half a can of wet food a day for the past three years trying to control her weight. But she continued to gain. (I am a little irked that the vet who sees her twice a year didn't check her thyroid sooner.)

But the big thing is the cancer. Because she had been on Deramax for arthritis she couldn't start the prednisone for three days. The aspiration irritated the tumor and released more histamine. an antibotic made her nauseous. She couldn't get up or down by herself. It was absolutely horrible. She whimpered, the sore oozed and bled lightly. By the day following the diagnosis I was so broken hearted over the pain I called the vet and asked about putting her to sleep. I just couldn't bear seeing my Sassy in pain. The vet talked me out of it, saying wait until she could get on Prednisone and the thyroid med had time to take effect. I'm so glad I did!

By the next evening, she took a turn for the better. Got up by herself and ate all her food (which I changed to half a home-cooked cancer meal). Maybe it's the thyroid med, maybe the diet with varied alternative supplements, but she became perkier than in a couple of years, and seemed to have no pain!

The Prednisone shrank the tumor until it's hardly a raised place on her stomach. It had been the size of half a tennis ball.

But the tumor still had an opening line where it had ruptured. By yesterday morning it had stopped oozing but there was a black spot about the size of a quarter in the middle. We assumed it was just clotted blood. Then at 2 pm I noticed it had grown out of her tumor. It looked like something from the movie Alien. As long and as big around as my thumb and turning blacker every minute. By the time I was able to get my vet on the phone it had started shriveling, making it look like a limp fig. I sent the vet pictures and she said she had never seen anything like it before. She advised me to resume antibiotic and just wait a couple of days. It wasn't bothering Sassy. She was even trying to lay on it.

Still, as the fig shriveled, the wound around it opened. I took her in anyway this morning because I'm worried it will get infected. Again, the vet said it was weird and she's never seen anything like it. She moved it around like a ball in a socket, then put antibiotic cream inside. She says the black protrusion is dead tissue, probably just skin that will fall off, but it will leave an open wound that may or may not heal up. She says she can't sew up a mast cell tumor. She doesn't recommend me flushing the wound, only putting in the antibiotic cream and continuing to apply prescribed powder. But given the vet's never seen anything like it, I can't help but wonder if it's something else. Could the tumor have died and is leaving her body? Has anyone else ever experienced this with a Mast Cell tumor?

It may not make a difference in her treatment since we aren't doing surgery but I still would like to know.

On the bright side, she seems happier than she has been in a few years. I realize now that she's had a thyroid problem all along and feel bad about being so ignorant that I didn't ask the vet to check it long ago. But at least we may have some quality time and she's eating better than me.
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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No experience here with mast cell tumor, but I did want to say that I'm sorry your Sassy has this. The "fig" must have been really creepy to see. Does your vet think it's the tumor dying? I hope you have much more quality time with your old gal; 14 is a grand age. Give her a smooch, please, as I'm a sucker for old gold:)
 
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I'm so sorry that you are going thru this with your Sassy. I have no knowledge to offer, but can only imagine how scarey this is to watch your girl go through. Is there a veterinary college near you? The vet colleges can be particularly helpful with things that are unusual. Hope you're able to get some answers.
 

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I miss my Buddy
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Prayers for Sassy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes. The fig has hardened a lot, drying up, and it doesnt seem to bother her. The vet didnt think it was the tumor itself but maybe skin and fatty tissue. But it doesnt make sense that it would be skin since it came from inside the wound. I feel like my vet has a little age bias, that since Sassy is almost 15 that its not worth correcting her problems. I agree I dont want to do any herculean attempts like surgery. Quality of life is most important, but part of that is keeping down infection and preventing other potential problems.

For now, Sassy seems happy and pain free despite the open sore. She's more alert than she has been in couple of years which i attribute to the thyroid med and maybe the diet. I read the Dog Cancer Survival guide and started cooking her food, which she loves, and am adding a little fresh garlic, coconut oil, fresh parsley, fish oil and a couple of curcimin capsules (turmeric).
Thanks again for your well wishes!
 

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My dog, Molly, had a similar growth from her tumor. She was only 7 when she experienced it, so the vet was able to operate and remove the whole growth. It had gotten to be about the size of a grape fruit, which looked like bark growing in an area about the size of a quarter. They had established that it was a combination of clotting blood and necrotic tissue, and when they removed it she stopped experiencing it! I would say just keep an eye on it, if it is meant to fall off it will. Much like your approach to the tumors themselves, if it is not hurting her, it is not too much to really worry about! :)

My dog Dixie, on the other hand, recently had a tumor that grew to be about the size of a tennis ball - maybe a little smaller. The skin around it appears to be black, and has been bleeding a good amount for most of the day. She is uncomfortable, crying when she isn't sleeping, and she needs help standing up. She is 14 in May...we were told, much like you were, that it was just a fatty cyst. Obviously, it isn't anymore. Does that description pretty much sound like what Sassy went through? Was the coloration right? How quickly did the Prednozone/Benadryl start to help? ALSO! Where was it? If it was anywhere near one of her legs, did the leg it was closest too start to swell when it began bleeding/oozing? Thank you so much! We are so scared, and can't get her into a vet until Tuesday (emergency or not)...
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Kellynmac, I don't think you'll get an answer from Sassy's mom since this thread is a year old. Can you at least call a veterinary ER doc tomorrow and tell them your dog's symptoms and get advise that way?
 

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We called several ER vets on Saturday, and they all pretty much told us the same thing - that they couldn't make a diagnosis or give us any suggestions until they saw her - their next question? "Would you like me to help you make an appointment?" of course, our first question had to be "how much would an appointment be?", since we don't get paid until tomorrow and have no credit cards...they all gave us numbers north of 1k "given the circumstances" ... we were able to call our personal vet today, and we have her going in for a drop off first thing tomorrow. She is going to be spending the day with them so they can see how she is feeling, aside from the obvious condition. Hopefully we get some good news! It's so sad the way people will take advantage to try and make a few extra bucks...good news is she seems to be at least acting more like herself...hopefully tomorrow when we pick her up they will have some good news for us :) thank you so much!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
mast cell

Hi Kelly,
Sorry to hear what you are going through. It does sound similar but Sassy's cyst popped out and eventually dried up and fell off. But that didn't mean the Cancer went away. She was on Prednisone for about 5 months and doing well but then it started affecting her liver. So, we had to cut back on it. The tumors started appearing other places in July (little bumps that would crust over) and she went blind around the same time. A new one started bleeding in late August. The vet said it was time to say goodbye. The hardest thing I've ever done.
The good news is that Prednisone did extend her life and gave us months of more quality time with her. She was over 15 when she died.
Until you can get your dog in I would suggest giving her benedryl. Mast cell tumors release histamine just like a bee sting. All the histamine in system makes them feel sick and if bad enough can put them into shock. Our vet told us to give Sassy 75 mg of benedryl every 8 hours.

After Sassy's diagnosis we also started giving her curcumin pills which is active antiviral ingredient in tumeric, the spice. Also gave her massive amounts of fish oil. I don't know if that helped prolong her life, but the vet said she lived about six months longer than she thought she would.

If she's not eating, I'd try cooking some white rice in fat free chicken broth after giving her a pepcid (what our vet suggested).

Good luck and I hope your pup gets better soon!
 

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I miss my Buddy
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kellynmac I am very sorry, sending positive vibes and prayers.
Sassy, I am very sorry for your loss of Sassy, she was a great fighter.
 
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