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RobynH

Mast Cell Tumours In Boxers

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RobynH   

It was with great sadness that my Boxer Lana was recently diagnosed with a grade 2 Mast Cell tumour on her back leg. This is my third Boxer and will be the third one to go down this route. She is not yet 8 years old so is younger than my other 2 (one died at 9 and one at 10) but has already had a spindle cell tumour on a front leg that appeared at 4 years old. Why do so many Boxers seem to go this way? Does anyone know if breeders are trying to do something about their predisposition to this nasty cancer/cancers? They are such great dogs and to lose them so young is heartbreaking.

I noticed the growth about a year ago. It is only about the size of a one cent piece but my experience tells me that its not the size that dictates the outcome. I also noticed about 6 other small ones come up at the same time, some on her front legs, some in her groin area, one small one on the back of her head. We were living in India at the time and veterinary help for dogs is very hard to come by and concentrates on the common illnesses and accidents rather than anything as complex as cancer so I left it until I got to somewhere more reliable before having it tested, secretly hoping that my fears would be wrong. I had also noticed many of the same symptoms I had in my other 2 Boxers during the last 12-18 months of their lives including stomach pain, days where she would just be 'off', not eating, diarrhea, vomiting, pain, difficulty pooping, peeing often, all the same things. I put her on Zantac, which I could get, and it seemed to help but I was at a loss to do much more there. I am now in the States, doing the six month process of getting them back to Australia so have access to better (though very expensive) veterinary advice but it's all pretty difficult. The vets advice was to take the confirmed one off straight away but my feeling is that this really won't affect the outcome or even necessarily give her more time as she has all the other lumps as well as symptoms that its spread internally and rather than have her cut up in so many places I think I would rather just keep her as comfortable as I can for as long as I can.

On the advice of a friend here I have started on a new diet that includes Kahoots dry food (the most natural I could find), with the addition of a mixture that includes brown rice, lentils, carrots, broccoli and cooked turkey mince, topped with a powder that includes Lecithin, nutritional yeast and Pet Kelp as well as additional Glucosamine and MSM supplement and she has certainly improved, with less apparent pain and fewer 'off' days. She is eating a lot and looks great (I think because the pain in her belly is eased with food or makes her think she's hungry) but I know with my other 2 boxers, they looked great right til the end with good weight on them and shiny coats. Nothing much ever showed up on the other dog's blood work and this seems to be going the same way. There are a few elevated levels as well as some crystals in her urine and blood and mucous in her stool but other than that she seems happy in herself (as always) though tires easily and is no longer able to jump up in the car or stretch herself.

I'm not sure there is much more I can do other than to make her comfortable, I think I'm just venting about the unfairness of it all and how I hate to lose yet another Boxer in this same way.

There is nothing like a Boxer to make you feel good. She taught me so much this dog and the thought of losing her is very difficult.

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Xyz   

I'd recommend booking het into a veterinary oncologist ASAP and follow their advice.

It is not uncommon for many dogs to live a long and healthy life once under correct treatment for MCT...

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~Anne~   

MCT are so variable in their presentation and how they progress that no two are the same. They do, however, seem to follow similar characteristics in individual breeds.

Pugs, for example from my knowledge and research are commonly diagnosed with low grade MCTs and live a reasonable time frame after diagnoses. My boy, a pug, has had both grade 1 and grade 2. His first was at least 6 years ago. We had no more for a few years and then quite a number in a short time over the last 3 years.

He now has other complications that may, or may not, have links to his MCTs. It appears not at this moment though.

Im not sure about the incidence of MCTs in Boxers. Is there a boxer forum you could perhaps join and speak to others?

I'm not fighting his anymore. He's been put though enough and I personally feel he is better off without further treatment, even if it me as his life will be a year or two shorter. He's now almost 12.5 years old. He's done well.

I have another female pug, Olivia who is 10, who has two lumps that are being checked tomorrow. I suspect one is an MCT. They're a devil that also is haunting me and my pugs it seems.

Good luck for your girl. I know what you're going through.

Edited by ~Anne~

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gsd114   

Its terrible but I have a few friends that are boxer people and they have all had MCT at some stages of there lives. Our ridgeback had one at 6yrs a grade 1 above his eye, it was the size of a pin head, don't know how I found it.

Its like GSD's and Golden retrievers and Heamangiosarcoma and other cancers. Our GSD's oncologist said that cancers are in all breeds and even mixed breeds of all ages, but she did say some breeds are very prone to it.

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