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Anyone have a dog with Mast Cell cancer?

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    Anyone have a dog with Mast Cell cancer?

    My dog was diagnosed with an MCT on Thursday. I was kind of rushed out of the office because my allergies were starting to make it hard to breathe, so they didn't go into a lot of detail about it. I have to call them Monday with an update and schedule an appt for surgery.

    Other than her prognosis (which I am thinking is not good considering her rapid decline and symptoms), I am worried about the cost. This current vet is new to us. We have only been there once for shots so far. Our old vet would have upcharged us to no end, but this new one seems reasonable. So far the charges amount to only $325 for exam, blood tests, biopsy, prescription food, and some sort of antibiotic. I was really expecting it to be at least $500. I have no clue what the surgery will cost. Anyone else have a ball park figure of what they paid?

    I'm also worried about how my daughter will react. We have decided not to tell her anything until after the surgery. The tumor was found on her birthday, and she is way too sensitive about things like this. It will ruin her birthdays forever.

    #2
    Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
    My dog was diagnosed with an MCT on Thursday. I was kind of rushed out of the office because my allergies were starting to make it hard to breathe, so they didn't go into a lot of detail about it. I have to call them Monday with an update and schedule an appt for surgery.

    Other than her prognosis (which I am thinking is not good considering her rapid decline and symptoms), I am worried about the cost. This current vet is new to us. We have only been there once for shots so far. Our old vet would have upcharged us to no end, but this new one seems reasonable. So far the charges amount to only $325 for exam, blood tests, biopsy, prescription food, and some sort of antibiotic. I was really expecting it to be at least $500. I have no clue what the surgery will cost. Anyone else have a ball park figure of what they paid?

    I'm also worried about how my daughter will react. We have decided not to tell her anything until after the surgery. The tumor was found on her birthday, and she is way too sensitive about things like this. It will ruin her birthdays forever.
    My neighbor's dog just had that surgery this week, on liver and spleen I believe. She said it was $3,000, but this was at a true animal hospital, not just at a regular vets office. I read it is often benign, not cancer. Neighbor said they would not know if it was cancer or not until after the surgery. It sounds like you already know that it is cancer. I don't think she has results yet.

    I think the vets office should give you an estimate before you make a decision. Also ask what the prognosis might be after surgery. Not all surgery actually gives quality of life after.

    Prayers for your family as you face this.
    My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

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      #3
      Vets are big business here, so they are all pretty much hospitals. There really isn't any mom & pop vet practices around here anymore. There is one in the area that is basically the animal equivalent of a level 3 trauma center, but the majority of procedures are done at the vet's office. I chose this particular one because they offer hydrotherapy for my dog's back, but we haven't had a chance to use it yet.

      He did a biopsy last time, and I really thought that it was just an allergic reaction from the way he was explaining things, but he definitely said, "Oh no, let me be clear. This is cancer." Her leg was the size of a ham this morning, so now they are holding off surgery again until the steroids kick in and the swelling goes down. She started having odd stomach issues at the same time I noticed the lump, and that is just complicating things. I'm hoping it didn't spread to her stomach, but the vet doesn't think they are related. I'm still waiting on an estimate. They didn't send one via email last time and still haven't after I asked for it again.

      I shouldn't complain too much about it. We certainly have the money since we are not moving and don't need the down payment anymore. It is just one thing after another lately. We blew through the FSA limit already and we didn't even submit the bills for my daughter's orthodontia. I really wasn't expecting her tooth exposure to be so expensive, but they said it is considered a surgery and expect to be over $2,000. I'm still waiting on the estimate for that one too, but I know our dental coverage is 50% for procedures. Bah!

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        #4
        I'm sorry for all your expenses.

        My neighbor's dog was diagnosed with pancreatitis by xray I think which is how they also saw the mast cell tumors on the liver and pancreas. Her dog is doing well. Pathology has not come back yet.
        My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

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          #5
          Thanks for the prayers. I got a call today that they want her back in asap for another biopsy, so I'm taking her first thing. The weird thing is that they want me to drop her off in the AM and pick her up later. The other biopsy was done right in front of me and then the slides were taken to another room to be read. I just find it odd that they said they talked to an oncologist, when I thought the vet I was seeing specialized in oncology. And the oncologist wants them to redo the biopsy, so maybe it isn't cancer? Or a different cancer? I don't know. He seemed absolutely certain the last two visits. At least her leg is only twice the size now so the steroid is working, and she is acting like her old self again. Unfortunately, she is a hyper jerk and I can't take her on a walk yet to wear her out.

          The good news is that I received the estimate from our dental insurance for my daughter's procedure next month and while I know I saw $2,200 on the form from the oral surgeon, our insurance is saying that the procedure is only $1,000 and my portion is $650. So that is a weight off my shoulders, as long as it is correct. I have to call them tomorrow to verify.

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            #6
            Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
            Thanks for the prayers. I got a call today that they want her back in asap for another biopsy, so I'm taking her first thing. The weird thing is that they want me to drop her off in the AM and pick her up later. The other biopsy was done right in front of me and then the slides were taken to another room to be read. I just find it odd that they said they talked to an oncologist, when I thought the vet I was seeing specialized in oncology. And the oncologist wants them to redo the biopsy, so maybe it isn't cancer? Or a different cancer? I don't know. He seemed absolutely certain the last two visits. At least her leg is only twice the size now so the steroid is working, and she is acting like her old self again. Unfortunately, she is a hyper jerk and I can't take her on a walk yet to wear her out.

            The good news is that I received the estimate from our dental insurance for my daughter's procedure next month and while I know I saw $2,200 on the form from the oral surgeon, our insurance is saying that the procedure is only $1,000 and my portion is $650. So that is a weight off my shoulders, as long as it is correct. I have to call them tomorrow to verify.
            I hope all goes well with the biopsy...make sure you understand exactly what they are doing!

            And great news on the dental procedure. When things cost less than we expect, it does take the stress off.
            My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

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              #7
              I had two dogs with cancer. One lived with chemo another 10 months. The other lived 15 months. They had a good extra year. The year of chemo wasn't bad at all. Other than all the crazy driving i did to the vet all the time.
              LivingAlmostLarge Blog

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                #8
                I am killing time before I have to take her for an ultrasound this morning. The second biopsy came back as sarcoma with some mast cells, so they are thinking that her stomach issues are caused by cancer and not pancreatitis. Depending on how this turns out, I'm already planning on doing the chemo and surgery, but I have a feeling my husband is going to say we need to put her down before our trip in 2 weeks. There is going to be an uproar. Worse comes to worst, I can just stay home. I paid for our plane tickets with vouchers from when we got bumped, so I'm really out only $100 or so for taxes. And the ultrasound is only $325; so that is a plus. Another vet wanted $900 to do an ultrasound on our other dog years ago, so I was expecting a huge bill today.

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                  #9
                  Wish you and your dog the best. My friend's dog did get diagnosed as cancer. They are going to meet with an oncologist, but currently don't plan to do the chemo and just give him the best life they can with the time they have left. It is such a personal decision, and the costs are a factor to consider.
                  My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    It really is such a hard decision. My sister had a dog that had cancer about 5 years ago. On the advice of her vet, she decided to not treat the dog because she only had a few months left. The dog lingered for 2 years before they put her to sleep. She still talks about it and how she regrets it.

                    The good news is that the ultrasound showed that it did not spread to her organs or her throat! The bad news is that they now have no idea why she is having the stomach and throat issues. Even though it cost some extra money, I feel really good about kind of having to insist they check her throat during the ultrasound. Our last dog died a painful death because I didn't put my foot down when a different vet was dismissing my concerns, so that isn't going to happen again. The plan now is to confirm with the oncologist that we should start chemo now and then surgery as soon as the swelling goes down.

                    But now my aunt is backing out of house sitting for us. We are leaving for vacation soon and she doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of the dog. It looks like I will be staying home, but at this point I really don't care. I just want to get this done and over with.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
                      It really is such a hard decision. My sister had a dog that had cancer about 5 years ago. On the advice of her vet, she decided to not treat the dog because she only had a few months left. The dog lingered for 2 years before they put her to sleep. She still talks about it and how she regrets it.

                      The good news is that the ultrasound showed that it did not spread to her organs or her throat! The bad news is that they now have no idea why she is having the stomach and throat issues. Even though it cost some extra money, I feel really good about kind of having to insist they check her throat during the ultrasound. Our last dog died a painful death because I didn't put my foot down when a different vet was dismissing my concerns, so that isn't going to happen again. The plan now is to confirm with the oncologist that we should start chemo now and then surgery as soon as the swelling goes down.

                      But now my aunt is backing out of house sitting for us. We are leaving for vacation soon and she doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of the dog. It looks like I will be staying home, but at this point I really don't care. I just want to get this done and over with.
                      I'm sorry to hear about your dog. Our chihuahua had a MCT in her cheek and the surgery was completed at a specialized facility. The surgery cost almost 5k which included the visit with the oncologist, surgeon fees, lab tests, etc. It was also a complicated surgery because of her size (just 4 pounds) and the excision area compared to the size of her face. They are really the only place that can do such an operation in my state so I would expect their fees to be higher than a more populated area with options.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
                        It really is such a hard decision. My sister had a dog that had cancer about 5 years ago. On the advice of her vet, she decided to not treat the dog because she only had a few months left. The dog lingered for 2 years before they put her to sleep. She still talks about it and how she regrets it.

                        The good news is that the ultrasound showed that it did not spread to her organs or her throat! The bad news is that they now have no idea why she is having the stomach and throat issues. Even though it cost some extra money, I feel really good about kind of having to insist they check her throat during the ultrasound. Our last dog died a painful death because I didn't put my foot down when a different vet was dismissing my concerns, so that isn't going to happen again. The plan now is to confirm with the oncologist that we should start chemo now and then surgery as soon as the swelling goes down.

                        But now my aunt is backing out of house sitting for us. We are leaving for vacation soon and she doesn't want the responsibility of taking care of the dog. It looks like I will be staying home, but at this point I really don't care. I just want to get this done and over with.
                        I hope you are and your dog are doing okay. I have regrets on putting our cat down sometimes, but then I remember that the stress of extra treatments would have been very tough on her. And I have to remind myself she had stopped eating on her own. No amount of coaxing over days was helpful. I find that to be a very clear natural sign for an animal. Again, it is a personal decision.
                        My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

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                          #13
                          I'm still very confused about the whole thing. Now he wants to do a biopsy. I thought he already did several biopsies, but those were just aspirations. I don't know what the difference is. I have spent over $800 so far and I don't feel like we have got any closer to treating this. I really think that the vet is confused as well. Now he is suggesting I go to a specialist 3 hrs away for surgery. My dog panics in the car. I'm not sure how well she would do on the way back unless we stayed at a hotel until she recovered. My daughter isn't mature enough to get herself to school, so that is kind of out of the question. What is really weird is that the tumor keeps changing shape. One day it is the original lump, the next it is more of a swelling higher up on her leg, the next day it is the lump and the swelling, etc. I said that I really wanted to get this removed sooner than later, but they said the swelling needs to go down first. Instead of starting chemo, they increased the Prednisone and she is going nuts. If she isn't drinking water, she is begging loudly for food. If she isn't begging, she is hyper as can be. Or she barking to be let out to pee 50,000 times a day. Lucky for me today is the day we decrease the dose, so I'm hoping she calms down a little.

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                            #14
                            I'm so sorry it has been confusing and hard on your lovely dog.
                            My other blog is Your Organized Friend.

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                              #15
                              The swelling has gone down enough for her surgery, so I have it scheduled for Tuesday. The good news is that I was expecting the surgery to cost about $1,500 to $2,000 and it came in at $700-$900. I was shocked. I'm feeling like our old vet was a major waste of money and kicking myself for not switching sooner. They would have charged several hundred dollars just for pre-op blood tests, and this vet isn't even doing any tests. The other vet was probably just padding the bills.

                              In an earlier post, I mentioned that my daughter's surgery was only $650. The insurance won't even consider the $1,500 charge for anesthesia, which is why their estimate was so low. I'm going to owe more like $2,200, but we have the money set aside already. The dentist warned us two years ago that she would probably need braces, so I started earmarking money back then.

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