Canine Mast Cell Tumors Unmasked

Canine mast cell tumors have gotten the attention of dog owners in recent years – and not in a good way. The existence of these nasty growths is one of the major factors of cancerous deaths in dogs. There is good news, however. Veterinary scientists estimate that in roughly half of the mast cell cases they see, they can save the dog if the disease is detected early enough. And therein lies the problem.

It’s up to the health-conscious pet owner to be able to detect the onset of mast cell growth and take the appropriate action as soon as it’s discovered. Since dogs cannot express the kind of pain or illness they are suffering from, all we could do for them is to always be watchful of a their heath condition. Cancer or the abnormal cell growth may begin by attacking the dog’s skin, internal organs, tissues, and even bones.

So, what exactly are canine mast cell tumors? These tumors do not have a specific form. Appearance may vary from each affected dog and other conditions. A special technology for such tumors called the “needle aspirate and cytology” could very well detect the presence of mast cell tumors on dogs. This technological advantage requires a small needle to be inserted it into the tumor area that is then examined microscopically. Under the microscope, these mast cells appear as round and large cells with dark granules.

Studies have shown that when these granules are released, they cause swelling, redness and itching as the granules contain histamines. Sometimes a large number of granules are released into the dog’s bloodstream. This could cause the dog to vomit or come down canine stomach ulcers.

English setters, boxers, golden retrievers, bullmastiffs and Boston terriers are the most common dog breeds that are highly prone to canine mast cell tumors.  It can happen at any sex and age but older dogs are the most common victims.  Since mast cell tumors cannot be really prevented, especially for those who are highly at risk, always be alert of any lump or other changes in your dog’s health patterns. Consult with your vet regularly and report any lump growth as soon as possible. Give a low fat diet and organic foods. Getting a pet insurance of your choice is a smart move for your dog’s victorious battle against canine mast cell tumors.


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