Kuro: Mast Cell Tumour

“Kuro is quite adventurous – he loves going out! As soon as he sees his leash or knows he’s getting into the car, he gets ULTRA excited.”

“He literally quivers with excitement thinking we are going to the park or beach. So naturally he was upset when he realised it’s the vet instead!”

“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.

MCTs vary in size and appearance. Kuro’s lump measured 10x5mm.

Fine needle aspirate and cytology: A sample of the cells is taken with a very fine needle and examined under a microscope to identify mast cells.

SURGical excision IS THE TREATMENT of choice FOR MASS CELL TUMOURS

Excision with wide margins to completely remove the tumour and surrounding neoplastic cells. The mass will be sent for histopathology for grading and to confirm if the tissue margins are clean and ‘free from cancer cells’. Dogs with low grade MCT have very good prognosis and further treatment is typically not necessary.

“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

Kuro came back for suture removal. “The surgery went well and the lab result confirmed the tumour as Grade 1. We will monitor Kuro closely for any abnormal lumps.”

Chemotherapy

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.

“Kuro is super stubborn. He doesn’t like people telling him what to do but will do anything for food.”

“For months, Kuro would just sleep on the floor next to the dog bed we bought. After surgery, the bed came in handy when he needed to rest on a comfy place. From then on, Kuro sleeps on his bed every night.”

“Kuro farts a lot, loves human company (doesn’t care about dogs or at least pretends he can’t be bothered), and communicates through snorts! He only barks at the vacuum cleaner or people coming through the gate and it’s literally just 1 bark. He’s very selfish with his barks!”


We welcome medical stories of your animal friends to educate and inspire others. Email us at comms@mountpleasant.com.sg and be part of Mount Pleasant community over at our Website and Facebook.

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