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Anyone have a dog with Mast Cell cancer?

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    Originally posted by msomnipotent View Post
    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.
    That's good news on the cost for your dog's surgery. I do hope it goes well. And it's a wonderful feeling to have cash set aside for the things we need to do.
    My other blog is Your Organized Friend.


      So she had her surgery this past Tuesday and has already been rushed to the vet twice although it should have been only once. We didn't get proper treatment at the ER vet the first time. She is doing ok, but they didn't get clean margins and she will have to have additional treatment. The vet is conferring with a specialist to decide what to do. We decided to remove a warty growth from the top of her neck while she was under. In hindsight, we should have waited for that. Now the cone of shame rubs on the stitches and she goes nuts trying to knock the cone off of her head. She has taken me out at the knees several times already, and the cone is all dented up. She looks like a hobo dog. All of our furniture is in odd places just so she has room to walk around and she still manages to crash into stuff.

      The surgery wound up costing $1,100 plus another $200 for ER visits and I don't know how much on extra vet tape, bandages, Benadryl, and so far 7 bags of Pill Pockets. Just the Pill Pockets were over $100 already. I was pleasantly surprised to only pay $45 for last night's visit. Her leg was swelling up (which is why we went to the ER vet in the first place) and then leaked all over when she spooked and bolted upstairs. By leaked, I mean "left the house looking like someone was murdered slowly, and all over the house". There were actual puddles on the bed, trails all over from one side of the house, up the stairs, to the other side, the back down again, and some in the car. Several towels and a dog bed were lost that day. I suppose she may have calmed down sooner if I wasn't running behind her screaming, "OH MY GOD!!!STOP!!!!" the whole time, but we will never know for sure.

      I am having an awful time trying to keep her bandages on and her cone comfortable. I have tried a dressing sponge on her neck, held in place with with either vet tape, gauze, or and Ace bandage. We have also tried a section of pipe insulation for cushioning. So far, she has knocked everything off. I have gone though a case of dressing sponges, 3 rolls of gauze, 6 rolls of vet tape and 3 rolls of human bandage tape stuff trying to keep the incision covered, but everything falls off. I have even used kitchen string and trussed her leg up like a chicken, but no luck. I bought the smallest pair of pantyhose the drug store had last night and will try that after I take the pressure bandage off tonight, but getting a wild beast into pantyhose will not be a joyous event.


        Another update

        We were directed to go for a consultation at a university a few hours from our house because we were told they were one of the few facilities that were able to do some special radiation. Turns out that they don't, which wasted 13 hours of our time and $700 for tests. To further twist the knife, they said there is a facility that has the equipment that is less than 10 miles from our house. There is a dark spot on her spleen, so now we wait for the tests to come back. The good news is that what I thought was another tumor is just a cyst, and her heart, lungs, and abdomen are clear.

        I am in the midst of a moral dilemma. We have 4 options. We can leave things be and see where it takes us, pay about $2,000 for chemo for 8 weeks, give her some sort of pill that has more side effects than chemo and we will never know how long she needs to stay on it until we take her off and see if tumors show up, or spend $5,000 to $7,000 on targeted radiation and be done with it. We are deciding between chemo and radiation.

        I'm leaning towards chemo just because I have a gut feeling that there is more that just hasn't been caught yet, plus it is several thousand dollars less than radiation. But we have the money for radiation and the vet felt that it was the best option. I don't think she was just padding the bill since they would not be the ones doing the treatment. There are several pros and cons to both. My husband will go with whatever I decide, and I feel that we are morally obligated to pay for radiation if that is what is best. The main reason for going with radiation is that it is 90%+ effective and chemo is about 70%-90%. If the tumor comes back, they will probably have to amputate the leg do to its location. Our dog has a very long back and already has spinal problems. It is a very real possibility that we would have to put her to sleep because she wouldn't do well on 3 legs like other dogs would. I don't want to "save" money by going with chemo and then wind up spending more if it doesn't work.


          boy, that's a tough decision you have to make between chemo and radiation. Good luck figuring it out.

          you made me laugh, even though it's not funny to you, about trying to put pantyhose on a dog

          your vet's prices seem very low and reasonable compared to what I've paid for vets around here, if that's any consolation

          I'm rooting for your fur baby