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Anyone have a dog with Mast Cell cancer?

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  • FLA
    replied
    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

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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.

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  • creditcardfree
    replied
    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.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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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  • creditcardfree
    replied
    I'm so sorry it has been confusing and hard on your lovely dog.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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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  • creditcardfree
    replied
    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.

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  • rutgers07
    replied
    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.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • creditcardfree
    replied
    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.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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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  • LivingAlmostLarge
    replied
    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.

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  • creditcardfree
    replied
    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.

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  • msomnipotent
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:

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