Dogs, the same as people, are prone to diseases such as tumors and cancers. And they too can be fatal for our furry friends too. In this article we will discuss mast cell tumors in dogs and how much the treatment costs.
What causes mast cell tumors in dogs?
Mast cells are white blood cells that circulate throughout the body. The mast cells help when parasites attack the organism by releasing histamine.
These cells can typically be found in the connective tissue. When a dog has mast cell growth, it is considered to be life-threatening because these cells could potentially release a great amount of histamine which could lead to death.
This type of tumor is usually found on the skin, which makes it easily removable, but it has to be done by a skilled surgeon. However, sometimes mast cell tumors can hide internally, making them hard to remove.
How are mast cell tumors in dogs diagnosed?
Owners usually notice some funny-looking lumps or growths on their dogs’ skin which is why they bring them to the vet’s office for a check-up.
The vet then performs something called fine needle aspiration, where he just uses a sterile needle and a syringe to pull out some cells from the growth. Those cells are then looked under the microscope and a diagnosis is given.
In cases where the tumors are hidden internally, it can be a challenge for the vet to diagnose them. The dog may experience weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and loss of desire to play.
Once a fine needle aspiration has been done, the vet may do a biopsy where they take a sample from the formation that is then sent to pathology in order for the grade of severity to be confirmed.
Grade 1 tumors are basically not scary, which means that they were caught on time and the chances of metastasis are very minimal. These tumors can usually be resolved by surgical excision. Grade 3 tumors are more serious because they could potentially cause more serious illnesses and there is a big chance that they have already metastasized. Grade 2 would be something between the first and third grades.
How is mast cell tumor in dogs treated?
The treatment almost always involves a surgical approach, apart from cases where it has metastasized up to the point where nothing can be done anymore.
Tumors that are graded as grade I almost always make a full recovery after the surgical treatment.
Tumors that are graded as grade II require a combination of radical surgical approach and radiation and the studies confirm that this way you could expect your dog to recover.
Dogs diagnosed with grade III mast cell tumors usually undergo surgery and systemic chemotherapy. However, the prognosis is not good.
Surgery for the removal of this tumor will cost you between $500 and $1000. If the dog received radiation or chemotherapy, the owner would probably have to pay between $5000 and $10000.