I took my dogs to the vet yesterday. Arran needed to get his stitches taken out after the surgery he had two weeks ago. Zane was along for the ride, but also got his routine allergy shot because we were close enough to the next month. Arran’s surgical wound from his surgery has healed nicely and he even removed three of the stitches on his own.
The vet removed the remaining three stitches, then gave me the news about the pathology report. Unfortunately, I was right to be suspicious about the growth on Arran’s head. It was a mast cell tumor. The pathologist graded it at 1.5, which means he thinks there is a chance the cells could spread. However, the tumor had clean margins, meaning there was no sign of cancer cells in the skin surrounding the tumor. It was also a very small growth, maybe the size of a medium sized pea.
The vet explained that we could put Arran through tests to see if chemo would be useful for him. But, she said the pathologist said if Arran were his dog, he wouldn’t do that. It would likely involve a bone marrow tap, which would be stressful and painful. Moreover, chemo has limited results with this type of cancer. There is a chance that the surgery was curative, but unfortunately, mast cell tumors tend to recur. I will have to watch him closely and have every new growth tested and/or removed.
I don’t know if I could say Arran has cancer like I could with the two dogs that preceded him. My old dogs, Flea and MacGregor, had prostate and neural sheath cancer respectively. Flea was diagnosed by the same German veterinarian when we lived here back in 2009. We brought him in because he was having trouble peeing and pooping. She initially thought he’d gotten into something that upset his stomach until she checked his prostate and realized that it was hard and irregular and looked like a map of Russia.
Both Flea and MacGregor had their diseases for awhile before we knew what was going on, so there was little we could do for them other than keep them comfortable. Arran, on the other hand, is very strong and healthy, and as far as I know, the cancer was removed when he had his surgery. Or, maybe it wasn’t. Only time will tell. But then, when it comes to life, there are never any guarantees. Even if he’d never had a mast cell tumor, he could die in an accident at any time. Or he could die of something totally unrelated to the growth on his head. It does look like we caught the tumor early, though, so this news isn’t nearly as horrible as it could be.
Another bright spot in this drama is that the vet bill was very low. Yesterday, I got the comprehensive bill for the surgery, toenail clipping, a couple of allergy shots for Zane, pathologist’s report, and prescription drugs. The bill for all of that was the US equivalent of about $250 before VAT. Since our vet accepts a VAT form, we didn’t have to pay that. Even if we had, it still was a lot cheaper than similar service in the United States.
Arran this morning.
Well, I’ll just have to keep an eye on him. Luckily he’s both cute and sweet. Anyway, let my story be a lesson to you. If you find any weird growths on your dog or anywhere else, it’s best to get them checked out before they turn into something sinister. I am glad I didn’t acquiesce when the vet said maybe we didn’t need to remove that growth.