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Pathology report for mammary tumor.

Species: Dog
Breed: German shepherd
Age: 8-11 years
Shelby recently had her mammary gland removed as she had multiple tumors. This operation was about 4 months after she had one large mass removed. The pathology report shows neoplastic cells with mild anisocytosis and anisokaryosis. The neoplastic cells are heavily infiltrated by large numbers of eosinophils with some arranged in aggregates around hyper eosinophilic collagen fibers (flame figures). The neoplastic cells extend to multiple deep margins. We are taking her to a vet oncologist but I would like to know what all this means beforehand and what the prognosis is.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Shelby is having these problems. I'll see if I can interpret the pathology report for you.

Neoplastic cells are cancerous cells. Anisocytosis and Anisokaryosis are ways of describing the DNA inside of the cells. Generally, if there is a lot of this then it is a sign of an aggressive cancer. The pathologist is saying there is only mild anisocytosis and anisokaryosis so this is mixed news. It's not good that these features are present, but I'd rather have mild amounts than marked amounts.

Eosinophils are a type of blood cell that is sometimes present because of allergy, parasites or a type of cancer called mast cell cancer. However, if this was mast cell cancer the pathologist would have easily been able to recognize this. I am guessing that allergy is more likely in the sense that the mass is irritating to Shelby.

I have to say that I have never heard the term "flame figures". I'm not sure what to make of the hyper eosinophilc fibers. This is something you'll need to get the oncologist's opinion on.

However, I am concerned by the fact that the "neoplastic cells extend to multiple deep margins". What this means is that cancer cells can be seen all the way to the edge of the tumor. When we see this there is a high chance that not all of the cancer was removed during surgery. This is usually not the fault of the surgeon as often what happens is that there are tiny microscopic fingers of tumor cells that can extend very far. There is no way to know this as they can't be seen with the human eye.

The oncologist will give you several options. They will likely have more information from the report on the type of cancer that this is and what the expected outcome is. Many mammary cancers can spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs. The oncologist may recommend some other tests be done such as chest xrays (if they have not been done already). It's possible that further surgery can be done to remove more cancer. Or it's possible that they may want to monitor things for now.

I hope this is not too shocking news. Please let me know if you have questions.

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:

Thank you for your response and clear explanation. I have to admit I am concerned particularly with the fact that a large tumor was removed about 4 months ago and then this numerous tumors showed up what literally to me was overnight. I guess we will just have to see what the oncologist says. Again,thanks


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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.