Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs: Is It Always Cancer?

Mast cell tumors are common in dogs. Early detection and staging is critical to diagnoses and successful treatment.


Mast cell tumors (MCTs) are one of the most frequent skin cancers seen in dogs. Mast cell tumors are the reason why careful monitoring of any skin growths is essential for maintaining a healthy canine. Any new masses on the skin should be evaluated by your veterinarian. In regards to MCTs, there are several predisposed breeds including Boxers, American Staffordshire terriers, and pit bulls.

Mast cells are important in the immune system, particularly in allergic reactions. They are found predominantly in the skin, but they are also found in lower numbers throughout the internal organs. Rarely are they found in the bloodstream. These cells are filled with substances such as histamine and heparin. During an allergic reaction, they degranulate – meaning they empty their contents onto or in the area of the offending allergen. The effect of mast cells can be seen when a patient develops hives and welts, as well as itching and redness.

As with any cell in the body, mast cells can develop cancer. The word cancer merely means the uncontrolled proliferation of cells. It can be divided into 2 broad categories – malignant and benign. Malignant cancers can be locally invasive and damaging, spread to other organ systems like the lungs, or both. Benign tumors do not spread to other organs and are cured by removal.

mast cell tumor on a dog
If a mast cell tumor is benign, it will not spread to other organs and can just be removed. © iStock/ Getty Images Plus/ Elen11

The symptoms of a MCT on dogs begin with a skin mass, most of the time (in rare circumstances, they can start in the internal organs, but this is more common in cats). They can be as small as a pea or as large as a softball. One important aspect is that they tend to wax and wane. They can start as small and suddenly become large, red, and irritated or weepy. This is a sign of degranulation, meaning the tumor has become irritated and released the nasty substances within it. The hallmark of a mast cell tumor is a tumor that grows and shrinks periodically.

If you note a skin mass on your dog, it should be checked by your veterinarian. As with any veterinary visit, your dog should have a nose-to-tail examination including weight and vitals, followed by a detailed history. Your veterinarian will ask how the mass has behaved, how long it has been present, and if it has changed significantly. They may also measure it with calipers.

After a history and physical exam, your veterinarian will focus on the mass with gentle palpation. It is likely they will recommend a fine needle aspirate. This involves taking a very small needle and obtaining a sample of cells from the tumor.  Another option is just having the entire mass removed and submitted for testing (excisional biopsy).

If your veterinarian is suspicious of a mast cell tumor and wants to sample it, they may recommend pre-medicating with Benadryl, an antihistamine. As we discussed above, one of the substances found in mast cells is histamine. Giving Benadryl may help prevent the tumor from degranulating during sampling. Sudden degranulation can cause a systemic reaction (anaphylaxis) and can be very serious or even life-threatening. Your veterinarian will handle any suspected MCTs gently, as a result.

Diagnosis is generally by a veterinary pathologist. MCTs are graded on two different scales – the older Patnaik scale (giving a number I through III with I being the least malignant), and the newer Kiupel system that simply evaluates high grade versus low grade.

mast cell tumor in dog eye
Boxers, American Staffordshire terriers, and pit bulls are prediposed to getting mast cell tumors as some point in their lives. © iStock/ Getty Images Plus/ cynoclub

If your dog is diagnosed with a mast cell tumor, your veterinarian will recommend staging as the next step. This means determining if the cancer has spread by conducting bloodwork, urinalysis, chest xrays, and abdominal ultrasound. Once staging is completed, a clearer picture of prognosis can be seen.

Treatment of mast cell tumors in dogs involves initial surgical removal followed by evaluating whether the whole tumor was removed. If it wasn’t (called “dirty margins”), a second surgery may be needed. Radiation is also an option when the entire tumor wasn’t removed. It may seem “simple” to remove a whole tumor, but sometimes the cancer cells have infiltrated the surrounding tissue on a microscopic level. For low grade (Kiupel system) or grade I-II (Patnaik system), usually removal is sufficient if the margins are clear. Even with removal, a dog will be at higher risk for developing MCTs again.

dog after mast cell tumor removal surgery
This dog is recovering from having two mast cell tumors removed. ©Greg King

With high grade/grade III tumors, following surgery, oncologists recommend chemotherapy. This is usually administered by a veterinary oncologist. If chemotherapy is not pursued, a dog with high grade MCT will likely stay on Benadryl and steroids to suppress the MCT until symptoms become too severe. As the disease progresses, the mast cell tumor will spread to distant sites like the liver, spleen, and lungs. Symptoms will correlate with the system that is affected.

A mast cell tumor is not the end of the world, but they can be very serious. It is important to notify your veterinarian when you find any skin masses so that they can be promptly evaluated. Early detection and treatment are critical to a successful outcome.

For more information on mast cell tumors in dogs, read our other articles on the topic:
About Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs
What Are The Treatment Options for Dogs With Mast Cell Tumors?


  1. Surgical removal is not always best! I have seen horrible consequences with surgical removal in recurrence with a vengeance even leading to the euthanization of a patient. Modulation of the immune system with natural remedies – herbs and such should be the mainstay of treatment. Whenever you remove the “primary tumor” you risk causing tumors in the same or other places. It seems to me that this article was not written from a holistic perspective, but from a conventional one.

  2. My little pug has 2 mct’s half way down on his back leg. They have been there almost all of his life. They are small, about the size of the end of my little finger. They are light in color, almost white and are flat. At one time they were a little swollen, but since I put him on antioxidants and both probiotic and prebiotic’s plus immune defense herbs plus a change in diet, then adding fish oil, acv, and curcumin they have remained the same size and flat. Does this mean that his mct’s are most likely benign?

  3. Lost my lovely Holly 3 yrs ago
    Nasal cancer
    She started with nose bleeds
    Sadly we had to make the most heart breaking decision and have her put to sleep

  4. I noticed a lump on my dachshund and have read the material on mast cells. I sched. an appt. with the vet on 7/24/2019 and hoping for the best. Reading the articles on cancer and the lump that is on her has enlightened me and praying that she will be fine. She comforted my mother when she had colon cancer and me during my mother’s death and I must do the same for my friend, my dog.

  5. Could you tell me more about the treatments you used . Just today I had a biopsy done on a small pinhead size tumor that’s growing on my dogs ear. His brother had multiple mast cell tumors that spread to his liver and I lost his over a year ago. They were removed once and then came back with a vengeance a year later. Then a year after that he was gone. Brody is my service dog. He has terrible skin allergies so he is producing lots of histamines. Today I got him on an allergy med and antibiotics to get the skin irritations under control. I won’t know about the tumor for a week. But I have been giving him probiotics, fish oil and quercetin for years.

  6. My sweet Paxton a Puggle was diagnosed a week ago with mass cell. He is almost 16 so they would not even consider surgery. This lump appeared out of nowhere. He is one of the sweetest most loving dogs we have ever had. The cancer seems to be taking a real toll on him. They gave him cortisone and he has been on antihistamine. It went down a little but I noticed him limping today. There are now two more lumps very close to the original. I can’t see a good out come at this point. Bless his heart it’s so hard to watch and not be able to do anything.

  7. You are doing what you can, Leslie. We just found out our sweet pitbull has a mass that is cancer. We are walking right beside you.

  8. Thx for info. My pitmastiff is 7 she has one on her neck. Waiting to see.. Vet said needs removed.

  9. My 13 terrier mix is having surgery in a week for a mct on her belly area. I hope this is the right decision. I’m so worried about the anesthesia/surgery etc. she’s been on prednisone, Benadryl and Pepcid for 10 days and not seeing much change. She seems to be acting absolutely normal, eating, drinking, playing etc
    Would she be seeming “sick” is it were a high grade?


  11. Hi our dog was diagnosed with a mast cell yesterday. The doctor aspirated the bump and determined it’s supposedly mild. We scheduled surgery for Thursday. No I’m scared that it might making it worse reading these comments. How long has your dog been diagnosed with mast cells and did they also determine it with extracting tissue with a needle?

  12. Rita my staffordshire had a large lump behind her front leg. We had it removed and now there is about 10 new lumps growing in the same spot, 6 weeks after removing. Took her to the vet today and basically was told that treating it with strong antihistamines is the only option. The first mass removed was very large and the vet said he does not recommend recutting a larger area and more grow back.

  13. Elisa, I would be interested in knowing more about what I can do for my dog in terms of diet and herbal remedies if you are willing to provide your insight. Harley is a 4 year old frenchie that had her first mast cell cancer removed (left ear) in 11/2018. She had a second (back leg) removed just 3 weeks ago and today I found another suspicious lump above her right back foot heel pad. Her staging has been negative (ultrasounds, aspirates, chest X-ray) and both tumors have been a grade 2/low. I want to do more for her if I can! Thank you! Amy

  14. Please also try the combination of CBD capsules around 45 mg a day ( My dogs weights 65 lbs ) and Graviola capsules ( 1400 mg ). My dog had autoimmune disease and VET recommended chemotherapy. Within two months ALL symptons were gone ( she was very weak, pale gums, tongue, couldn’t walk much ). Now 2 years after I just noticed a skin bump…I will start with the Graviola and CBD again. Please research it.

  15. Can you give me more detail information for CBD oil and Graviola Capsules?
    I have a mixed breed male dog has a lump now.
    I had taken him to vets several times, all vets said it is just a fat pocket.
    I have scheduled an appointment with oncologist next week.
    I already met a surgeon for removal surgery but not recommended due to size in large.

  16. Many of us are looking for holistic treatment available for dogs. Can you please give recommendations?

    My 20 pound Schnoodle was just diagnosed with a mast cell tumor today and will be undergoing removal this Thursday.
    If I can get some holistic treatment into her after the surgery I will feel much better. Can you recommend what to give her for her weight and for how long?
    Thank you.

  17. My dog had 3 MCT’s removed 4 years ago, they were low grade, today she had another one removed, she is an 8 year old AMSTAFF . As I find them I will keep getting them removed.

  18. My american Bull dog Mack has been on a regimen for mass cell tumors for over 5 years he is 11 he says 125 lbs. He takes 4 tabs of benydrl and 4 tabs of cimetidine 4x a day. He has developed puss filled welts. I found this I formation on a website called Veras babies (I think) she is a breeder of boxers she has very good info. I dont think she breeds anymore. she also had information o. dogs boxers that pass from a heart ailment. hope this helps

  19. I have a Pittbull as well, 6 years old. Had 1 low grade on top of head removed and last week
    2 inside thigh, also low grade. Seeing an Oncologist 11/1. Saw a 2nd vet for a 2nd opinion and doesn’t think an oncologist is needed.

  20. My mixed breed (shepherd,chow,spitz) has at least 6 of these Mast Cell Tumors now and also those scaley bumps that contain puss . My vets (2 different ones) have told me not to drain the scaleys and the Mast Cells are harmless. Meanwhile there isn’t a place on my dog that doesn’t have a lump. I have had one removed and it never came back but it cost so much I can’t keep doing that. I am a senior on limited income and love my dog dearly but I don’t know what to do. I give her cooked chicken and rice and very few treats. Anyone have any ideas to help me?

  21. Nadine, do.some Google searches.on help for senior limited income pet owners. I can’t remember details but know that I have come across such info in the past especially as it relates to.serious let illnesses..
    Best of and your sweet friend.! I make boneless chicken. In the slow cooker and freeze enough for several weeks. A cheap healthy treat is apple pieces. Just don’t let her have the he seeds (poisonous.)

  22. Thank you so much for replying, I appreciate it more than you know. I am going to try the apples as treats as the ones I buy her are expensive and I will not give her anything that isn’t made in the USA. We are going to our vet this week and I will talk to one of them again.

  23. My sweet 9 yr Boson Terrier, Molly, had a small, pea size (maybe tad bigger) wart looking bump on lower back area. First noticed something sev months ago, reminded me of pencil eraser or smaller- no growth. In early summer months it chgd some, so 5 weeks ago took him to vet, she thought it was nothing but would biopsy if I wanted ease of mind. I did. 9/19/19 & a clean cut, 3 days later found it was grade 3 MCT 😢 in past week noticed a very small bump on forehead, had it I think 2 yrs ago but went away on own. And 4 days notice another small pin head size bump on thigh.
    I’ve been giving her Benadryl for a few years, had skin allergies. Going to try & get her in vets, need to know if it’s MCT or maybe something else. & if or when she should take Pepsi’s/prednisone. Prior to removing first bump I started giving her turmeric, only because I thought it was good for her. Anyway I’ve been very sad past few weeks. Grade 3 is suppose to be most aggressive. 💔

  24. Hoping so… our pets become our family. My kids are 30’s early 40’s and I’ve been by myself for many years. I got her 6 months after I had to put asleep my 11 yr old Boston.
    Plz keep us updated. Hoping & praying she lives 8+ more years, w/good health. 💕

  25. Sooo sorry. My previous BT was 11 When I had to put her to sleep. One of the hardest things ever had to do.

  26. Was it MCT? What grade? I’ve been shying away from Chemo only because I heard with grade three, it prob only give her cpl months. And she wouldn’t feel well. I tease grade 1 & 2 that Chemo or radiation gives hog a 95% chance of living 3+ years.

    Anyone have personal knowledge on MCT grade 3? Thank you.

  27. I write my current story w/my sweet loving BosonTerrier below. Molly had a small wart looking thing removed- & biopsied. Clean edges so got all of it. However it came back grade 3. If u look below there is more Hx I will say in past week I see 2 more bumps, very tiny. Maybe size of small seeds. On head larger of 2 sunflower size bump. Seeing vet next week.
    Plz read what I wrote below and if you can give me even a close prognosis- & what I can do mean while, I’d truly appreciate it.
    Thank you! 💕

    I recently lost my dad to a very aggressive/deadly skin cancer- Merkel Cell. I got him into a trial, extended his life 2.5 years but hardship to get to treatments. This reminds me of that a bit. Aggressive & malignant.

  28. I have a 12 year old Female mixed breed dog that has a large Mammory gland Tumor that’s ulcerated and she also has a large tumor around her anus that leaks bloody fluid I’ve taken her to the vet and they basically told me they wouldn’t do the surgery and it’s pointless to do …do you have any info on what I should do and should I get another opinion? I don’t want To loose her she’s like family.i don’t understand what’s causing this and it’s not getting any better .

  29. My Frenchie had grade 3 MCT. She had one removed inner anal, discovered when we had to take her in for constipation issues. When we got the diagnosis from the biopsy, we thought she only had two to four months to live. we had six or seven wonderful months with her. What happened was she got a large lump on her leg and it was inoperable. but even though it was inoperable we are not ones that could have afforded a big surgery for a dog with cancer. Benadryl worked wonders when she broke out with 16 tumors all at once. within four days they were all gone with the exception of the one that was probably causing some spread. We could keep her comfortable with the Benadryl and prednisone but at the end she needed some pain medication. When we could see that she was no longer comfortable and bordering on being distressed we had her put down. Looking back I am glad that we did not put her through a lot as far as all the surgery and radiation etc. With this disease I have not seen a lot of success with either the allopathic medicine or the natural medicine. mast cell tumors tend to come and go and the prognosis is so different depending on the dog. It’s a hard situation. And you have no idea how long your beloved pet will live. They could live a very long time or they could succumb to the cancer. No one knows. I think the main thing is just to give them the best life possible and keep them comfortable no matter what options you take for treatment.

  30. My lovely dog Little Moo had a tumour removed last december then 5 more appeared in its place. She has had one that was ulcerated removed and another partially removed however this is growing back with a vengeance. I have put her on Piriton but his has not helped so changed to a different one, my vet has now put her on Loxicam. I am at a loss as putting her through constant surgery seems cruel. She spent all summer having operations. I had her neutered and the tumour became really aggressive at this point then she was attacked by another dog had 2 operations on a wound to her neck and it seems the tumours grow more when her body is trying to fight other things. I have changed her diet to mainly home cooked food and i apply cannabis oil hoping to cure her.

  31. My dog had a mass cell tumor on his leg about a year ago his name is Cai I had it removed they got all the margins and I thought he was fine about a week later while he was still recovering another one appeared on his chest and a small one on his head about two months later, fortunately right after his surgery I went to a holistic Doctor Who gave me an immune herb called IMMUNE COMPLEX by the company (standard process) YOU CAN Get on Amazon or at whole foods, he also gave me a Chinese herb spelled Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang, I also give him two Benadryl in the morning and two in the Eavening he’s been doing very well so far they have shrunk tremendously they were never big to begin with but they are staying small and the same size I also changed his food to a company that I have delivered I know longer give him kibble which I will never do for another one of my dogs the company that I get the dog food from is called the Farmers Dog… which also has fish oil real meat and vegetables if I had time to cook the food myself I would but I’m very busy this does cost a lot But I thank God and my lucky stars I’m able to do it the food has even helped him lose weight the kibble had him overweight by 15 pounds and he’s already lost it and looks 10 years younger I’m not saying this is a cure but I am saying so far I’m satisfied with it I don’t wanna put him through another surgery I’m scared that it will come back even worse just some information that may help anyone out there my name is Jennifer.

  32. Our 11 yr old white pittie was diagnosed with mast cell tumors 7 months ago. Vet took a slide sample from the worst tumor on her belly and said surgery would have to occur in order to determine the margins of it. I couldn’t afford the quoted price of surgery ($1000) so I opted for the conservative treatment of 3 Benadryl and 2 Pepcid every 12 hours. I am retired & home full-time, and noticed those 5 pills (given in a pill pocket) would make her sleep a lot, but then seemed to wear off after 6 hours. She would be back to licking & biting the tumor on her belly (which vet said would get grosser looking and ooze). At first I put cloth cone on her to prevent the licking & biting, but then figured what quality of life was that for her so took it off. I experimented & gave her 1 Benadryl tab every 4 hours and just 1 Pepcid daily (as otherwise the Pepcid seemed to cause her to desire to vomit). Eventually she chewed off the MST on her belly, leaving behind a small scar. None of the grossness the vet had predicted. About 5 months after her diagnosis, she developed another MST on inside of one of her back legs. She chewed on that MST, too, but it bled profusely. I immediately took her to another vet who gave an antibiotic for 10 days. That vet said she hoped I realized pittie wouldn’t survive this. I knew that from what I had been reading, but vet couldn’t tell me approximately how long pittie would live. I was told to try to keep her from bumping the bleeding MST on leg by putting a sock on that leg. Of course pittie tore it off & continued to chew on tumor like she had the one on her belly until her self-surgery removed that one, too. (I kept frequently laundering her bedding throughout that process.) During the past month of Covid-19 stay-at-home-even-more-than-before, I observed she has some days where she is so tired & weak-acting she can barely jump up one step onto our deck, and only eliminates 2x/day. Other days she runs around the backyard chasing squirrels with her long-time companion dog & leaps up that back deck step with energy. Very unpredictable. The first vet had told me I would know when to put her down by when her bad days were greater than her good days. I have recently switched her food from dry dog food to wet canned fish & mackerel dog food. Since she wasn’t licking or biting at any tumors, I cut back the Benadryl to 2 daily & the Pepcid only a few times weekly. (She really has only vomited a handful of times in the past 7 months…One day this week when she acted like she was going to, her companion dog began licking her face & she relaxed & didn’t.) I was told by one of the 2 vets that eventually she won’t be able to keep any food down & will look like she feels pretty cruddy. I notice that although lately she doesn’t feel like eating as much, she keeps regularly drinking water. Also recently her breathing was becoming very labored, so I experimented with reducing or eliminating the Benadryl; the past week her breathing rhythm during sleep now sounds more natural. I keep wondering if she will pass away on her own or if she will eventually be in great pain & need to be vet-assisted. On her bad days she mainly looks fatigued.

  33. Hi how is your doggie now ? My Bulldog just got a first tumor on the bottom of her back foot..

  34. Hi my little Yorkshire terrier has got a lump next to his anus , he is 16 yrs old I’m going to take him to the vet but I don’t think they will do ant treatment as his age and the lump is a little more then 10cm so I’m preparing myself for the inevitable I know it’s the right thing to do but I cannot see him suffer I’ve had since 7 weeks old he is part of my family it doesn’t get any easier also I don’t think it’s not fair to put him through anything x

  35. Our almost 15 year old Golden has had an MCT on his right shoulder for six months. We’ve had days that it bleeds but I can usually stop it. It’s tripled in size and I cannot stop the bleeding. We do three Benadryl with breakfast and three with dinner. Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Especially to stop the bleeding.

  36. Hello everyone, to stop bleeding, we can try a Chinese herbal powder called Yunan Baiyao. Ive been told ny two vets to stop my mast-cell tumor dog from bleeding. I applied the powder on the tumor now. Observing if magic will work out.

  37. Hi all, I had a boxer/Pitt mix that had mct to back leg in thigh at age 13 yrs old. It was high grade but vet still performed removal which required a large amount of the muscle. I was scared of the surgery at his age but without it he would have very little chance. They were able to remove all the cancer without amputation (which my vet did not recommend due to his age). He lived four more yrs after(17), it did come with some negatives as he lost such a large amount of muscle in that leg that he never regained much of its strength and it eventually was too weak to hold him up so he would loose his balance alot and was not able to lift himself back up the last yr of his life. We would have to lift his hind end up for him and carry him up/down stairs but he never lost his zest for life and still demanded his daily walk that once was over a mile to not even a block until the day he passed away. I never regretted my decision for the surgery as he was happy and gave us 4 more years with him and gave him a chance to help train his little brother- a boxer that now has what I fear to be a mct on his back paw..this one I fear as he is relatively young (5yrs) and area does not have much tissue to work with for removal…

  38. My 13 year old min pin was just diagnosed with a mast cell tumor by her back leg It appeared the day after I took her to dr for an allergy injection . The next day tumor appeared which I believe the shot activated Has anyone put their older dog through surgery??? I do not know what to do. Bella has a collapsed treachea,seizures, cushions dsease and pancreatitus

  39. We adopted an elder Beagle in 2017. Six months later she was diagnosed with a mast cell tomor on her spleen. We opted not to do surgery as we wanted to preserve as much quiality of her life as possible. Our vet felt best case scenario she could have 6 months to live give or take. We did a lot of research and discovered the benefits of Benadryl therapy. After discussing with our vet we started giving her Benadryl twice a day. She did wonderful on this therapy and the tumor did not grow rapidly, our vet was amazed year after year she returned for her check-up. Unfortunately, the end of July this year she succumb to the tumor and we had to lay our precious girl to rest. From first date of diagnosis she lived 28 months full of quality and love. I’m so glad we did our research and gave her the best possible chance to fight the tumor.

  40. I would live to know more on your methods, please. Our almost 17 (human years) year old Jack Russell x Shih-tzu has developed one near his ear that had flared up, and is weepy and gross. The vet said he would not recommend doing anything given our dog’s age.

  41. My dog athena bless her, is my therapy pet l. When i got her the vet said she had a cyst…at the age of 2 the “cyst” made her real sick we did a biopsy and found out stage 2 MCT. They were aggressive and removed a LOT of tissue. At the age of 3 in the fall i was giving her a wash in the back yard i was always checking for lumps and bumps (i found nothing) next day i brushed her and found a tumor the size of a base ball on her back leg. In a 24 hr window she got super sick we got it removed. When she was 4 i noticed her original suture line was swelling….i asked the vet to remove that tissue, they were going to until they shaved her down and saw 16 small rising nodules. They sent me to the cancer specialist who suggested we do radiation and removal.

    I passed on the treatment because it would have only “extended her life expectancy 3-6months and she would have been feeling low the entire time.

    I started changing her food,
    Shes on bone broth (home made)
    Baked chicken breast

    Its helped her keep weight on
    We recently celebrated her 6th birthday july 14th 2020 and now shes getting sick again, gassy, diarrhea tired ( these and lack of desire towards food are her signs)

    Shes on benadryl 2: 50mg x2 daily as well.
    I love her so much and this past year shes had a blast! Running and gunning like a pup should.
    I hate MCT

  42. My golden, 11 years old, has a mast cell on her upper lip….she weights 73 pounds…I noticed reading at the posts many have tried Benadryl …….will it be safe for my golden.

  43. A large lump suddenly appeared on the rear thigh of my 5 yr Mini Schnauzer three weeks ago. Vet aspirated some cells and lab work came back, aggressive, malignant MCT.

    Was booked for surgery yesterday but when I got there the vet ( a different one, one of the regulars ) said that she didn’t want to operate. In order to get good margins she would have to remove half the muscle on the thigh, and she feared the reconstructive surgery would never heal.

    She suggested first trying a new to market drug, refined from plants from the rainforest, that she claimed has been getting incredible results. I felt sceptical, but they have been so good and have always made good calls on treatments for my dogs, and I could see what she meant about the amount of muscle mass that would need to be removed. As yet we don’t know if it has metastasised, and if it has and we are into the last month’s of her life I don’t want her to suffer that way.

    Anyways, she said that it may eradicate the tumour completely or shrink it to an operable size so I agreed and she is booked in for a jab tomorrow.

    The drug is Tigilanol tiglate / EBC-46 and having Googled it I am now feeling far more hopeful for my little girl. It is just becoming available here in the UK but I have no idea of availability elsewhere.

    I also don’t know the cost of the drugs and treatments but I am fortunate enough to have good insurance and will recover almost all of the costs.

    I’ll update in the weeks and months ahead.

  44. So 5 yr Mini Schnauzer had the jab this morning. She was also sedated and had a sample taken from lymph node as first staging. A few other spots shaved, they were obviously checking other lumps which are the typical comedones you get in Schnauzers. She is currently very quiet and quite zonked out, feeling sorry for herself, not wanting fussing. Reckon that will change as the sedative leaves her system!-)

    She will be visiting the vets every few days over the next few weeks.

    What is expected to happen? The tumour will turn black, harden as it dies and then it and the skin covering will fall away leaving an open wound we aren’t supposed to cover. That should take about a week and then we should see the wound heal over the following two weeks. After 4 weeks if the tumour was completely destroyed and the lymph nodes were clear then we have been very lucky. If there is any initial tumour left there is the option of one more jab and or surgery.

    The cost of the jab if anyone is thinking of following it up was £500 GB, for 2mg in 2ml vial for a tumour 2cm across and quite raised. Dosage depends on tumour size. Expensive, but if it works, less money, pain and aggro than surgery. The brand name is Stelfonta. I will post progress here in the weeks ahead.

    God luck to my little Tasha, and good luck to anyone reading this who’s pooch is also suffering.

  45. Two days after the injection and the vet took the dressing off yesterday, the area of and around the tumour is going from blue to black and spreading further across the leg it is red and inflamed. Her hind quarters and lower abdomen are painful and we have to be careful handling her. For that reason she is on tramodol, along with steroids, anti-hustamines and anti-nausea drugs.

    We have been told to expect the wound to start opening up as the skin starts to Slough off over this weekend. We have to leave the wound open and have been told how to deal with it. Will provide progress next week.

  46. The wound opened up, in an unexpected way. Rather than becoming a hole in the middle that spread outwards, the skin separated in a ring around an island of flesh that cover whatever was left of the tumour. That final patch of skin has come off tonight – and disappeared, she may have are it. Yuk. She now has an open wound with a circle of flesh about 4 cm diameter missing, and muscle exposed. I can’t see any sign of anything remaining that looks like a tumour or looks out of place, but I am no expert.

    From hereon in, over the next few weeks the wound should start skin over and heal.

    Within herself, as each day has passed she has got more back to herself. She is protective of her leg and not yet playful, which means our older dog, her mum, gets to play with all the toys unmolested, but I don’t expect that it will be long until she feels confident enough to get stuck in again.

    Still waiting on staging results from labbbut fingers crossed they will be clear.

    Will update, probably next week.

  47. The open wound is healing and is half the size it was, and the staging has determined that her closest lymph node was clear.

    And she is back to her normal playful, loving, demanding self.

    This drug (imho) is something of a wonder drug.

  48. Probably the last update. The wound now is tiny and covered in a scan. Aspirations and examinations of her lymph node suggest no spread so we got lucky. The vet and I are both over the moon with her textbook reaction to the drug and her recovery. She describes the drug as working on the filaments that spread out from the tumour in the same way a weed killer works on roots, and clears the margins in a way that surgery couldn’t.

    If your dog does get a MCT and you can afford such treatment or have insurance. Enquire about it. If your vet doesn’t know about it, ask them to look it up and consider it. it has worked wonders for my dog.

  49. I had to have my beautiful Yorkshire terrier Milly put to sleep 3 days ago, we rescued her from Spain didn’t know how old she really was maybe 3 years, we had Milly nearly 9 years, in 2018 I noticed a wart on her bottom right gum it was removed but never tested, in June 2019 I noticed it had grown back could also feel a lump in her neck,she had both removed then the worst call I got from the vet to say it was an aggressive mass cell tumour, the vet said it would come back over time, surely it did and was very aggressive in July 2020, they couldn’t operate this time so put her on steroids, with steroids it was still growing and fast, the size of the tumour in her neck was taking over her little body it was also rock hard, the one on her bottom gum and lip was the size of a golf ball, it also started to weep and smell, she was loosing all interest in walks 2 weeks ago she ate her food but I think that was down to the steroids she couldn’t chew she just gulped it down, she would cough and breathing up her nose was like she was honking it was an awful sound, Friday 4th December at 3pm my beautiful girl went to sleep at the vets, I couldn’t let her suffer anymore, she was messing more in the house and had terrible smelly runny poo, I could see she wasn’t happy anymore and was quickly going down hill, I feel so guilty that I let her go on this long as I didn’t want to let her go, I’m heartbroken and feel so lonely without her, 💖

  50. Look up 5 mushroom blend and start feeding it to your dog. Feed turmeric as well. Both have been well known to shrink tumours. CBD oil is very good as well

  51. Awww karen i feel your pain and sadness as im going through the same thing. I have a 10 year old Bichon Frise and he as been my world for a decade. He has lumps on his body and a big one on his neck. Ive never had them tested as didnt want to know and put him through chemo and pain. He has had them 2 years but he has started scratching the one on his neck so its bothering him. I know its just a matter of time and i wont let him suffer but i dont know how i will live without him. Its just him and I in the house so i dread that day.x

  52. My Boston terrier had the same thing on her back foot on toe and then it went into lymph node in back of leg .

  53. Hi! Just recently discovered my dog has one on its leg and it’s also spread.. just curious what you choose to do?

  54. Hi Ashley I didn’t know if you were commenting on my post but I didn’t choose to do chemo I brought her to tufts in Walpole mass they really couldn’t do much they did offer chemo and did a liver aspiration and when they did that it made everything worse ,, they should have gave her Benadryl before aspiration so if u do aspirate make sure they give Benadryl!!!!!she is on prednisone and Benadryl and it was helping at first but today her leg is swollen were the cancer has spread into her lymph node so now we have to come to terms on what to do it’s been a night mare ! And it all started w a little cyst on her toe and my vet should have done biopsy and they didn’t ,, and I think to my self maybe they could have bought it early .. best of luck to you ,, does your dog cave mast tumor?

  55. Hi Linda, Have you heard of the Tagamet/Benadryl protocol? My 7 yo female Labrador has a large MCT on her lip. Vet said inoperable. I found the protocol and began it 2/9/21. We’ve seen the mass shrink about 50%. If you’re on FB, look up the protocol by Vera. She’s very responsive and the page has been very helpful!

  56. My little chihuahua has a small mast cell tumor removed Oct 2020. She is 13. Biopsy showed not in lymph nodes but just found out it was grade 2. Vet told me then he thought he got it all. Now she has a hard golf ball size lump on her belly. Vet said maybe a hernia. Opened her back up and can’t remove it. Not a hernia. Said it looks like lymph node. Waiting on biopsy. I love my dog so much. This is breaking my heart. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want her to suffer. She is eating food I cook her. Drinking water. I think the original surgery made things worse.

  57. I agree – when my AMSTAF first got an MCT, (about the size of the tip of my thumb) I asked for it to be removed (I am glad that there was no histamine release) – the cut of the margins left my pup with staples across his entire backside!! (a shock to see for a tumor so small). I was not really given any real explanation or advice or treatment options.

    Years went by with no return, then another popped up (close to his backside again), we opted for another surgery – as that one was healing, another popped up (on his flank). I couldn’t continue these surgeries so they offered Benadryl and prednisone – I wanted these to be the last resort as he was an older dog though very active and felt that these medicines were only masking the root cause and could make him fat and sleepy.

    I sought out holistic care.
    We stopped feeding him dry dog food (these foods over time can increase a histamine/inflammation issue), and instead, I started feeding him a blend of cancer-fighting vegetables and cooked human grade meats (blended for absorption, and frozen in ice cube trays for convenience) – eventually, he did get a lil bit of grain-free, high-quality kibble to help maintain his weight.

    I started seeing a holistic vet who prescribed vitamins (Vit A was a big one), as well as Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

    I know that sounds like a lot or questionable, but in less than 3 weeks, the tumor on his flank healed over and disappeared completely – he never had another one flare-up anywhere for the 3 years he lived after that. (he had a different tumor inside a joint rupture when he was 14.5yrs). In that time he remained a healthy and active dog – even jumping into the car and playing the sad day that I had to put him down because of the rupture.

    Knowing what I do now – I would make every effort to feed my dog a whole diet (not just kibble) and focus on getting at the inflammation issues that can lead to this histamine response from day 1.
    Hope this is a lil helpful for all those below who are interested in what holistic options are. I’m not a vet, just a pet owner who has seen the benefits of chinese and alternative medicine work wonders in humans as well as animals (and not anti-conventional medicine, but prefer an integrative approach)

  58. Can you share the diet? My Mini Schozzie had a big ulcerated MCT removed in November 2020. Two more tiny ones now. I need to change her diet.

  59. I’m so sorry for what you went through. I am going through that too and its heartbreaking to have the pup you love suffer

  60. I’m so sorry for your loss:'( my best friend and beloved Yellow lab/Boxer mix Jackie Brown was diagnosed with a MCT last week she is 13 and on diphenhydramine and Prednisone and the tumor suddenly tripled in size and over the last 4 days appears to have disappeared. Not sure what to make of it but i changed her diet to strictly protein and no o carbs of sugars and also give her cbd and cannibis for pain. She seems fine but i am absolutely terrified.

  61. Hi, may I ask what you decided to do? My dachshund was just diagnosed and his is on his back leg. They are saying not enough room to remove and may have to amputate.

  62. It’s really strange that after we took our dog to the vet with dysplasia dogs after a pain injection give it to him after few weeks i noticed this lump growing from his tip of flap ear,i don’t even know how much i can trust in doctors at this point,i know they’re good doctors out there but hard to trust them,the chemicals from injection could have caused some sort of allergic reaction,i have tried to keep my second dog as far as i can from doctors because the first dog i had the doctors pain medication killed him.

  63. In Februari 2011 our small poodle got a lump in her neck, our vet suggested to wait how it would develop. Eventually it grew to a 2 inch mass in a few weeks, but our vet not wanted to poke it with a needle and removing wasn’t his first choice either. For the same reason as Dr. Elisa Katz.
    Now, almost 12 years later, the 2 inch tumor is still there. Not growing, not hurting her and there never came another one. Our poodle girl sees her favorite vet twice a year. She is a very active and healthy lady with her upcoming 17th birthday next month. 🥰
    Greetings from the Netherlands.

  64. My girl had a Mast Cell tumor about 2.5 yrs ago. I have a vet who is very experienced in dealing with mast cell tumors. She went on Benadryl and had it aspirated (they timed it so surgery would be within a couple of days. It turned out she had a low grade tumor, and surgery went fine with plenty of margin. I also had every test done known to man regarding mast cell tumors, including one that tells you if she has a certain mutation that makes it more likely she will have another mast cell. So far, knock on wood, she hasn’t had another one.

    What I can tell you is that, having had breast cancer (15 yrs ago) I had a mastectomy and reconstruction. It was low grade enough (and not BRCA) that I could have just had a lumpectyomy. My philosophy is cancers like this just don’t go away with holistic concoctions. REMOVE the cancer and then go the holistic route. What I did was research foods and even probiotics high in histamine and low in histamine. Histamine is the big risk triggering mast cell tumors. Look up veggies and fruits that are low, high or histamine liberators and stick with the low. Certain probiotics are high (or low) in histamine, which I found out. Remember, dairy products such as yogurt are HIGH in histamine. Meats can be problematic, but you will find this in your research. There is a vet online (can’t remember his name) who is an expert in mast cell tumors and diet. You can google and find him. I would research and find a vet in your area that is very experienced and competent in dealing with mast cell tumors and knows to connect with a university to run various tests and be prepared with a helpful diet for after recovery from the surgery. Most traditional vets don’t deal with this so it’s up to you to do the research.