“The first time we saw the growth, it was about the size of his nipple. We didn’t think much of it as Kuro has a history of sensitive skin. We thought it was a reaction to some environmental irritant. However, it continued to grow and started to look red and angry.” ~ Denise
WHAT IS A MAST CELL TUMOUR?
Mast cells are present in large numbers in the skin and play a role in inflammatory and allergic responses. When they replicate in higher than normal numbers, mass cell tumours can develop.
- Mast cell tumours (MCTs) are common cutaneous (skin) tumours in dogs.
- Usually occur as solitary lumps, and occasionally as multiple masses.
- Range from low grade (low rate of metastasis or spread) to high grade (malignant with an aggressive rate of metastasis).
- Vary in appearance – just a raised bump or a swollen ulcerated mass
- Vary in size – from a few millimetres to a few centimetres in diameter.
SURGical excision IS THE TREATMENT of choice FOR MASS CELL TUMOURS
“Knowing that Kuro required surgery, we turned to Dr Sandhya Nair (Mount Pleasant North) as she has been taking care of Kuro’s surgeries since he was a puppy. She was professional and in-depth with her diagnosis, and clear in the steps we needed to take. It eased some of our worries.” ~ Denise
If the MCT is high grade, complete surgical excision cannot be obtained, or there is evidence of spread to lymph nodes or other tissues, chemotherapy may be recommended. Dogs and cats appear to tolerate chemotherapy better than humans. Side effects (such as vomiting, diarrhea, appetite loss) are minimal.
The goal of treatment is to kill and slow the growth of cancer cells, produce minimal negative effects on normal cells, and allow our patients to lead a good quality life for as long as possible.
EXAMINE YOUR DOGs REGULARLY FOR LUMPS & BUMPS
Run your hands all over your dog’s body, feel for unusual lumps and bumps and look out for fur loss, redness or swelling. Lumps and bumps, especially fast-growing ones, should be assessed by a vet. Dogs with a history of MCT should be rechecked regularly.