Dog Mast Cell Tumor Treatment Approaches?

Mast Cell Tumor on Dog Lip

Mast Cell Tumor on Dog Lip

My four year old Charlie (Lab/Chow mix) had a Mast Cell Tumor (on her lip) and a mandibular lymph node removed Feb 4, 2010. Yesterday, March 24, when I expected her to get her fifth chemo treatment, the doctor found an enlarged lymph node. That lymph node was aspirated. We are now awaiting the histopathology results.

The doctor suggested three possible avenues: CCNU, Palladia, or Kinavet... I am wondering if anyone has any experience with Mast Cell Tumors and any of these treatment approaches. Vinblastine unfortunately did not appear to have worked.

Any response would be greatly appreciated! Thank you.

Mara Levene

Editor Suggestion Dog Cancer Treatment

Dear Mara,

Sorry to hear about your dog cancer problems.

Canine mast cell tumor treatment is done on the basis of the clinical stage of disease and the veterinarian's prediction towards the biological behavior of the tumor. Different stages are based on the involvement of local tissues (the lip in this case), local lymph nodes (mandibular lymph node in this case) and the generalized metastasis of cancerous tissues in other parts of body (has the cancer spread) have been defined for assessment of the clinical stage.

On the other hand, the biological behavior of Mast Cell Cancer in dogs differs with each patient. A definite diagnostic approach and close monitoring is required to determine your dogs exact condition.

According to the brief description provided, the Mast Cell Cancer or Tumor in this case appears to be in Clinical Stage II, i.e. which involves a single nodular tumor on site (lip) and local lymph nodes (mandibular) only. Usually there are four different clinical stages for Canine Mast Cell Cancer. Anyhow, clinical stage is only an assumption, confirmation can only be made through clinical examination and by performing a detailed biopsy.

For treatment, Vinblastine is an antimicrotubule drug, which is effective on certain types of cancers only. It has been proven for cancers occurring on the head and neck region, but it should be remembered that it can only control cancerous growth in specific conditions only.

For now, it is important that the latest results are assessed and that the indicated approach for treatment is followed. For a conclusive treatment of dog mast cell cancer, it is always recommended that aggressive surgery is preferred, since chemotherapy has not been proven to be very successful.

In this particular case, probably clinical stage II, a recommended approach is the use of chemo therapeutics, preferably Toceranib (Palladia), which is only chemotherapeutic agent approved for Mast Cell Cancer treatment in dogs, and radiation therapy are needed. Radiation has been proven to be very effective over canine mast cell cancer.

If required, it is recommended that you use aggressive surgery to eliminate dermal and local lymph node cancerous tissues. This tissue should be removed in any way possible, otherwise in stage III or IV, it will be very hard to control the progress of the cancer.

Remember, this assessment is done on the basis of the information you provided and is only a prediction of any possible future development, This should never be considered as a definite conclusion since we are not aware of the exact clinical stage and biological behavior of the canine cancer in your dog.

For additional support, we can recommend that you take good care of your dog, since your dog is under stress (which of course you already do). Spend as much time as possible with your dog, and keep your dog as comfortable as possible. Natural remedies can help to make your dog more comfortable by eliminating possible toxins in the body and by making your dog feel better. These types of natural remedies have been proven to be very effective for supporting pets with any type of cancer. We suggest the product C-Caps as it was formulated specifically to help dogs with cancer and is from a reputable manufacturer.

Best wishes to you and your dog as you undergo another round of canine mast cell cancer treatment. Please keep us up to date on your dogs condition.

Comments for Dog Mast Cell Tumor Treatment Approaches?

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 05, 2010
Mandibular cancer
by: Anonymous

My dog was just diagnosed with something very similar yesterday. I appreciate the advice shared here.
I wonder how you are doing in the treatment of your beautiful dog? What changes have you noticed since the diagnosis? Have you tried any home remedies such as dietary alteration that you can recommend?
Obviously, I appreciate any advice you may have.
I wish you and your dog the best and will be thinking of you both.
Thanks for your courage.

Aug 17, 2010
re: Charlie
by: Anonymous

With a heavy heart, I have to tell you that on August 4th I had to let my Charlie go.

After Vinblastine stopped working the end of March, I finally decided on Kinavet, partially because of the research results I found, and partially because it was cheaper than Palladia.

The drug was a miracle. The tumors went away, and until mid July, Charlie seemed great. And then suddenly, the drug stopped working and the tumors came back.

I had promised her "no more surgeries" - three was enough! And at that point, I decided no more drugs either! Steak and bacon was in order! Although her tumors grew very aggressively, and she started getting uncomfortable, she did eat until the last day - a whole roasted chicken actually!

When Charlie first was diagnosed I did lots of research and changed her kibbles to "Blue" 100% grain free (tumors feed on carbs/sugar), added olive oil/fish oil, or canned salmon, which she loved. In addition, I did order K-9 Immunity and K9 Transfer from Aloha Medicinals, which claims to be an "Advanced Immune Modulation Therapy". I do not know if either made a difference...

In retrospect, I do not know if I would take the same approach again. Next time around, I might go straight to steak and bacon! Then again, she was with me for another six months, and I am thankful for that.

Let me know how you are doing.

Best wishes to you and your dog - courage, strength, and love!


Aug 17, 2010
thank you
by: Mara

Much belated, many thanks to the editor for the detailed response!


Oct 12, 2012
Mast cell tumor
by: Anonymous

Two months ago my lab mix developed a large mass on his hindquarter.It was a mast cell tumor.My lab is 14 years old and surgery was not an option.My vet prescribed prednizone 20mg twice a day which i started him on in 10 mg twice a day and then increased to 20mg.His tumor decreased in size but when he came off the med the tumor grew in size with extreme aggression which caused severe walking problems.We have restarted the prednizone and he has made some improvement.The drug does have side effects with increased urination,hunger and thirst.Not sure what else can be done other than giving him good nutrition,and supplements.Wondering if anyone has any helpful information about this condition.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Cancer.

Ask a Vet Online

12 veterinarians
are online now.
Ask a question,
get an answer ASAP.