Animal Updates

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Carol  ·  Dec. 1, 2010

so molly has had a soft mass on her hind leg for more than a year..i noticed in the last few months that it was slowly growing and i have ignored it cuz it did not bother her and at almost 20 years old, i wasn't planning on goofing around and rocking her very old boat.. this morning i notice that it seems over night the thing has exploded and grown twice as big...and it is really hurting her now too....shit! infected tumor? a tumor whose blood supply is now compromised? a mast cell?

i think it is a mast cell tumor..they are histamine based...typical to go crazy over night if she bumped it or licked it or somehow made it unhappy by it getting irritated. i took her into the vet...sue said she thought it was fluid filled and tried to drain it...nothing but air came back in the syringe...i think it is a mast cell....lets not poke it again...molly is pretty darn mad by this point.
and the more we bug it the redder and angier and more painful for her it gets...i am so sure it is a mast cell.


so here are the options..
try to surgically de-bulk is huge and most certainly malignant and it is not going to close very well and probably won't heal.

take off the leg completely high above the mass so we are well into healthy tissue with good blood supply so it will have a good chance to heal.

treat it palliatively with steriods to try to temporarily shrink it, and pain meds for comfort and see what happens.

here are the issues...molly is an almost 20 year old dog...if NWAC got her age correctly from the owner when she was seized..the possibility exists that since the owner was very elderly she may have been confused. when molly came in at 16 with her friend ruby at 18, they both sure looked 16 and 18 at least... ruby died within a few months of arrival but now molly at 20 looks pretty damn good.

but what if molly was really only...say... 12 in 2007? then she would only be 15 now..not 20...ok, well even 15 is pretty old to take off a leg...but not if she was going to still be going strong at 20 again~!
and..molly is so freaking healthy..except for her thyroid condition and a bunch of these funky bumps and masses..she is sailing thru her old age. no heart or kidney disease, no arthritis, no deafness or blindness or anything else...she is in great physical and mental shape..except for that freaking nasty and very painfully large mass on her leg.

anyway i opted for option #3..steriods and pain meds with a re-check on saturday. if that tumor shrinks..maybe then they can remove it without removing the leg or maybe we will just carry on with the steriods for as long as they have good effect (18 months was the longest effect i have seen with mast cell tumors controlled on steroids in ancient dogs.)
and on a 20 year old dog...18 months more is pretty damn good....even on a 15 yr old dog...18 months more is nothing to sneeze at.

if however the tumor doesn't shrink and her pain doesn't go away by saturday..i think we might have to euthanize...i just can't see me saying ok to taking off her leg...but good lord i am so tempted because otherwise she just looks and feels so good.

anyway..if she doesn't stop licking it, i am putting a cone on her head. she needs to let that thing settle down and forget that it is really mad.


new dog in..the pound called and had a 10 yr old shitz with bloody urine and bladder stones and an enlarged heart that they don't have the medical budget to follow thru with. so saints welcomes forrest...a thick and black very hairy guy. it took him all of three seconds to say hello to everyone and then start playing with the toys. he is very cute, very sweet and a very relaxed and cheerful little guy.
in my own defense... couldn't let him get nuked over bladder stones..that just would be grossly unfair.
he is currently trying to out smart, out wit and out play dee for the tennis balls..BOTH of them really want to play with ALL of them. too cute.



I lost 2 13 year old pug littermate sisters to mast cell cancer three months apart. I had the initial lumps removed and got clean margins on them did the steroid/anit-histamine bit etc but the lumps were stage 3 by the time they popped up enough so you could even see them. it very rapidly showed up in their lymphatic systems... like 3 months after lump removal, so i had to send them on. i was shocked at how fast those lumps popped up... on the first little pug-let, it wasn't there when i went to work in the morning and was the size of a ping-pong ball when i came home at lunch to let them out. bummer.