Mast Cell Tumors in French Bulldogs
There is good news and bad news regarding mast cell tumors in dogs. Most mast cell tumors are successfully removed and require no further treatment, though a dog with a mast cell tumor may spring another one, so owners must be aware and on the lookout. But in most cases, when you remove the tumor, you remove the problem.
Mast cell tumors (MCTs) are common in dogs, accounting for approximately 20 percent of all skin tumors in dogs. Mast cell cancer is very common in brachycephalic dogs like Frenchies, Boston Terriers, Pugs, and especially Boxers.
They can be very invasive and often regrow after surgical removal; they may also spread (metastasize). MCTs can arise from any skin site on the body and can have a variety of appearances. Any lump or bump on your dog should be looked at by a veterinarian. Some MCTs release histamine, which can cause swelling and bruising around the tumor. MCTs can be treated successfully if diagnosed early.
Surgery is the ideal treatment for MCTs, as long as the cancer can be completely removed and has not already spread. The tumor has deep roots. When they are removed about 3cm around the tumor must be taken out. For malignant tumors the borders around the tumor are biopsied to see if the edges are clean (cancer free).
Sometimes mast cell tumors are more dangerous or they appear in hard-to-remove places–paws, for instance–and additional treatment like radiation may be required.
Signs & Symptoms of Mast Cell Tumors in Dogs
If your pet displays these signs or symptoms of a mast cell tumor, have your pet examined by your primary care veterinarian as soon as possible.
Mass Lesion Involving the Skin or Subcutaneous Tissue At Any Body Location – Individual tumor appearance is highly variable:
Some lesions are ulcerated, others are covered with hair
Redness, bruising and fluid buildup (edema) can occur, and may worsen with manipulation or scratching
Tumors can fluctuate up and down in size
Enlarged Lymph Nodes – Swelling and enlargement of lymph nodes can appear near areas of tumor involvement
Gastrointestinal Symptoms – Loss of appetite, vomiting or diarrhea
Other Signs of Cancer – While the above are some of the common signs of a mast cell tumor, there are other signs of cancer. For example, weight loss, weight gain, a persistent cough, and wounds that won’t heal are also signs of cancer.
Mast Cell Tumors can take many forms
Feel your dogs body regularly and check genitals, legs, tail and face area closely. Any small wart like bumps found, see vet quickly and have a needle aspiration done to determine what kind of cells are in the bump.
The key is to remove the bumps quickly when they first appear and your dog will stand great chance of no reoccurrence. A wait and see it grow approach can be deadly.