My 10 year old lab has an ulcerated angry large mast cell tumor that appeared almost a year to the day of his last mast cell tumor in the same location. Last year we had it removed and he had a rough recovery. It was considered stage 2. He also has one that appears to be on his groin but we are not certain this one is a mast cell. When I pointed that one out to the vet last jan he adivsed to leave alone as the location would not be conducive to surgery. So should I have this second ulcerated one removed? Would it make sense to just try steroids as I read that can be an option as well. We love our big guy and don't want to subject him to anything our of our selfish need to have him aound but I would like to have the surgery if it means he will continue to live a happy life.
Where is the ulcerated one?
The trouble with mast cell tumors is that when they are removed, I think it is a margin of 3centimeters in all directions which has to be taken along with it. Which is an awful lot of tissue. Usually the best option for a mast cell tumor IF in a suitable location (such as a foot or hind leg) is amputation.
Now only you, and your vet know how he would cope with that. It all depends on what kind of 10 year old he is, how he would respond to the surgery, whether there would be a high enough quality of life remaining to him afterwards, and whether he has the energy and stamina to make a really good recovery. OK you don't want him to act like a 2 year old dog again, but a healthy happy and pain-free fairly active 10 year old. Do you think that would be possible, after such major surgery?
I would definitely ask for a lymph node biopsy before even considering such a drastic step. If there are signs the mast cells are also present in unusual numbers in his nearest lymph node, then there is a chance the cancer may be metastasizing. In which case amputation may not be the answer.
And I would definitely have the one in his groing also biopsied to be sure if this a mast cell tumor or not.
You would have a better picture of the situation if you had those 2 biopsies done.
If amputation is unwise, or impossible for his case, then the steroid treatment might be worth trying. I don't know enough about that treatment for this, I admit. Your vet, of course may not know enough about this, and may refer you to a veterinary oncologist or other specialist.
I do hope something works for him, but applaud your ideas to not keep him with you out of selfish motive, but care how he would live his life and be happy. I wish you and him the very best.
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