05 September 2013

Scary News from the Vet: Dog Mast Cell Tumor

Okay so. Yikes news today, involving this familiar face:

Portrait of the Dog as Young Dog

About three weeks ago, I noticed a weird lump on the back of my dog's neck. It didn't look like much, maybe an infected insect bite or a strange sort of pimple. Using the powers of the internet, I learned that you should ask your vet about weird dog lumps, since some of them can be serious.

I know. Adorable.

Meanwhile, because everything happens at once always, my elderly cat, who has been diagnosed with chronic bronchitis, decided to go into super cough mode. I ended up taking both dog and cat together to the vet when we got back from our brief trip to the cottage.

Ben Rarely Allows Himself to be Photographed.

Long story short: the cat is basically okay, although hopped up on steroids for the time being. They took a cell sample from Dizzy's lump and it turns out it's a mast cell tumor. On the good side, it is recent and it is tiny. This type of tumor ranges from relatively benign, treatable with surgery alone, to terrifying death sentence. Dizzy's going in to have the lump removed this coming Wednesday. I'm not happy about the fact that my dog needs surgery, but I am happy that I caught it so early and that I didn't brush it off as nothing because it's small.  After that, it's a wait to hear back from the lab (1) to confirm that they got it all and (2) to tell us how serious it is.

I am trying not to freak out but I am freaking out quite a bit. Dizzy is under six years old and, besides a history of allergies, he's a pretty healthy and tough animal. I'm hoping it will be okay.

He Knows When You've Been Bad or Good

FYI: I am working with a holistic practitioner as well as with a conventional vet on this, i.e., working on it from all angles of which I'm aware. If any of you have experience with this, please let me know if you know anything beyond what a vet would tell you, or even just let me know how it went for you. Well wishes and generalized good vibes will be much appreciated.


Luanne G. Smith said...

Oh, you know I love that face! I had a little scare like that with my Boston Terrier too. Only her lump was on her stomach. Did the biopsy and it turned out to just be one of those fat lumps older dogs tend to get (she's almost ten). But it was very scary when we were waiting. Hope your baby is okay. They are the best dogs. So lovable.

And glad the cat is okay too. :)

Andrew Leon said...

I'm wishing your dog the best.
I know that they are part of the family. The dogs, not the cats. Or maybe that's just my cat.

Elizabeth Twist said...

@L.G.: Glad your Bostie was okay. Glad I'm not alone in being shit scared, too.

@Andrew: Thanks. I will post an update post-surgery and when there is news. The dog and cat are both part of the family, although the dog is a weird amorphous blend of brother / best friend / child / bossy dad, and the cat is mostly like an elderly, somewhat standoffish uncle, except when he's like the drunken uncle who insists on peeing in strange corners. What I mean is that I love them both equally.

Andrew Leon said...

I do not love mine equally. I love my dog. I love her a lot. The cat... well, I like the cat. I mean, I really, really like the cat, but I think he wakes me up in the middle of the night too often for me to love him.

Botanist said...

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and for Dizzy. It's always a painful and anxious time whenever one of our animals is unwell.

Little Gothic Horrors said...

Oh, hoping that poor little Dizzy will be all better in no time! My beloved 18 year old cat has had a really tough year health-wise, so I know how stressful and heartbreaking this can be! Best, best wishes! ❤

Elizabeth Twist said...

@Andrew: That's a cat for ya. Mine has caused no end of trouble but he was there for me, in the sense of almost always up for a cuddle and actively catching mice in my somewhat infested apartment, when I was going through the most hellish time of my life. He's still pretty much there for me, even when he's being crotchety and needing to be pilled. I love him, unreservedly. It is a different kind of love, though, than that dog love. Dog love hits you right in the heart, you know? It's like nothing else.

@Botanist: Thank you for stopping by. Yes, this waiting and worrying is terrible. I would rather be sick myself.

@LGH: Sorry to learn about your cat. 18 is pretty good! Go cat! I am hoping for a great outcome for Dizzy. Best I can do is focus on what I can do to make the situation better or at least not worse.

Deborah Walker said...

I'm so pleased that you caught it early. I'm sending Dizzy lots of love and wishes for a swift recovery.

Also I keep thinking about Ben, hopped up on steroids! Poor Ben.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Thanks Debs. With all the good vibes going on, I swear the lump is half the size it was. I've read that mast cell tumors can grow and shrink dramatically, but I like to think it's healing.

Yeah, poor Ben. He seems to take the steroids like a champion and use their added energy to increase his badness. I knew he was getting better last time when he started hopping up on the stove after supper to lick the pans clean. When I approached him to tell him "no," he would leap halfway across the kitchen and rocket out of there like some insane jungle creature. He's not quite there now, but he's getting there.