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Old 02-08-2006, 06:05 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Southwestern USA
Symptoms of cancer?

Hello Folks, donít want to cause a panic here. I just really need to know, so I can sleep again.

Iíve been reading up on nutrition and I have noticed that many owners here are perplexed by an on and off stomach upset. Is it the food? Maybe it was something she ate... maybe this, maybe that. Some more chronic cases need a Pepsid a day before bed. My dog had that too. She died of a mast cell cancer, grade 3. She had these symptoms for well over a year. If you include the more minor symptoms, eating grass, being picky about her food it was maybe more like three years. I have been kicking myself for months thinking I should have spotted that something was seriously wrong. Vet number three just said it was oily food, pancreitis, give her some Mylanta and Pepcid, feed her sensitive stomach dog food from now on.

I would ask a good vet, but one of my other questions is about finding a good vet. I have no immediate resources to have this question answered definitively. Mast cell cancer is common. If these other dogs symptoms are caused by cancer, I should not wait until I find a vet to have this question answered.

Now I know that mast cells are cell type that occur all over the body, they are part of the immune system. When something goes awry, they flare up and cause a small hard red or pink bump on the skin. They come and go at first. You think, maybe it is a reaction to a tick, or a bug bite, or even like acne. No real problem. When they get bad they well up larger and bleed profusely, then disappear again. They can also grow under the skin, not causing the tell tale pink color. Those are the bumps that we have biopsied (needle aspirate) to make sure they are not cancer. Please note: The needle aspirate test in the best hands still allow 15 to 20% of the cancers to slip by.

The mast cells help respond to inflammation and allergies. When they become cancerous they do into overdrive releasing many chemicals causing gastric ulcers, internal bleeding and allergies. When your dog dies of mast cell cancer it is not the cancer that kills them, it is that you can no longer stand to see it suffer all the gastric and intestinal distress. The drugs stop working.

So this is my question. If any one of you are Vets or have Vets that can answer this question please ask it for me. Was the stomach upset I was complacent about an indication that the bump she had was not benign? (We had it tested before. Vet number one said it was OK, donít remove it. I went to there specifically have it removed.) Could we have spotted this cancer sooner if I had pushed the vet harder? If I have another dog with these symptoms, what the !!!!!!!!! do I do?
Ema Tanigaki
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Old 02-08-2006, 06:20 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Ontario, CANADA
Images: 8
Re: Symptoms of cancer?

Ema, don't beat yourself up over it. Stomach upsets are common symptoms for just about anything and everything! If the bump was never removed and biopsied, thats where I would see that the vet was unjustly complacent.

Just a few months ago my Vegas had a lump on his paw. I waited about a week or so, but it had me concerned I went in and we scheduled it to be removed. THey wanted it removed. Better safe than sorry. If someone doesn't want to pay to have it removed and biopsied, then fine needle aspirate at the least.

Catching the cancer sooner or probably would have prolonged your agony. All the costly treatments, and consider the chances of survival? Don't beat yourself up over "could've, should've". You did what you could with the little to nothing to go on.

Remember her memories for what she was, not what she died of.
Vegas a.k.a Terre Moto a.k.a. Cornutazzo - VPG III
Brio a.k.a raggamuffin - puppy

43% of all statistics are worthless!
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Old 02-08-2006, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Midwest
Images: 17
Re: Symptoms of cancer?

Iím sorry for your loss. I donít think you should second guess anything that was done. I recently (december) lost a pet to something with similar symptoms, (cat), she died from complications of the biopsy's done, FNA was not possible. Sometimes you just have to say you did your best and like your doing share what you learn. Everytime someone reads this post you have done some good. I found another great website that talks about the not only the symptoms of Mast cell tumors in dogs but also shows the cytology if youír interested.
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Old 02-10-2006, 12:15 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Southwestern USA
Re: Symptoms of cancer?

Thank you for the nice responses.

I am not as much of basket case as it may sound. Well at least not all the time. Reading the cries for help brought all the memories vividly back to me. The link that ws posted answered some nagging questions in my mind. But I will enforce my desires more when dealing with my new Vet.
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