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Grade 2 mast cell tumor.

Species: Dog
Breed: Golden Retriever
Age: 8-11 years
Hi, I want to adopt a 9yr old female Golden Retrever from this breeder. The breeder informed me that she found a lump on her back. I opted to have the breeder remove the lump and have a biopsy done. The breeder gave me the results which was Stage II MCT. I still want to adopt her but, I need to know what the next step is after this diagnosis? Thank you!!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi and thanks for your question.

Mast cell tumors can sometimes be quite benign and other times can be quite worrisome.

The first thing I would ask the breeder is whether she meant this was a Grade 2 mast cell tumor rather than a Stage 2 mast cell tumor.

In regards to grades of mast cells, here is the difference:


  • Grade 1 MCT: Very easy to cure

  • Grade 2 MCT: Usually cured with surgery as long as the pathologist says the margins are clean (i.e. they got all of the tumor out). 90% are cured with surgery.

  • Grade 3 MCT: Usually very bad news



When we have a mast cell tumor that we are worried about we will sometimes go further and do staging. (We may be worried if the pathologist says that the tumor margins are "dirty", or if it was a very aggressively growing tumor. Staging is looking for evidence of spread of mast cell cancer to other parts of the body such as the liver, spleen or lymph nodes. It usually involves aspiration of lymph nodes and other organs and ultrasounding the abdomen and xrays of the chest.

Usually, if a Grade 2 MCT is completely excised, we don't go ahead with staging.

So, in summary, if this was a grade 2 tumor and the margins are clear then this dog has a 90% chance of not having any more problems with mast cells.

If there was some staging done then we'll need more information as to where the tumor is spreading before we decide how serious it is.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Hi Dr. Marie,

I asked the breeder and it is Grade II MCT...I apologize for the misinformation. Her vet said Grade II MCT with narrow margins..is that a prognosis I need to worry about? Narrow margins meaning? Her vet also stated to her that they got it all out. Please let me know..thank you for clarifying te differenc of Grade II and Stage II MCT!

Sincerely, Florence


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

No worries about the misinformation! From what you have described, it sounds like Twinkle has a very good chance of being just fine.

"Narrow margins" means that around the tumor, the vet was also able to remove some tumor-free tissue as well which is very good. It would be better news to have "wide margins" where there is more tumor-free tissue. However, "dirty margins" would mean that not all of the cancer was removed.

So, according to the published statistics, if a Grade 2 MCT is removed with clean margins (which it was) there is a 90% chance that it will never come back.



Customer reply:

Hi Dr Marie,

I just want to say your insight has provided some relief to know she has a chance at a few more yrs..I pray. I know with any cancer there is still that slim chance of it returning but, I know with her age sometimes illnesses are likely. You have been very helpful =) Do you think if I adopt her that I need to do any further testing or just keep an eye on any lumps that may resurface?

Sincerely, Florence


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Glad to know that I have helped! That's why I do this. :)

It doesn't sound like there is anything more that you need to do for her at this point. If a new lump surfaces though then she needs to get to the vet right away to test it. If it is another mast cell the sooner it is removed the better.

Once again, thank you for adopting this girl! It's often hard for the dogs that aren't puppies to find homes.





Customer reply:

Hello,

Thanks again so much! I totally agree older dogs tend to have a harder time finding homes..I truly believe they make great citizens of society at an older age lol...she is soooo cute too. Have a wonderful yr and I definately will pay again to ask a question =)

Sincerely, Florence


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.