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Spoke with the oncologist yesterday as we didn't make it for review because of the weather (blizzards). I asked her loads and loads. I told her about the new vet's philosophy on dealing with lumps and that I didn't agree. She agreed with me.

Thought this info might be useful to note:

Basically, if a dog has had MCT any lump should be fine needle aspirated. This does not involve anaesthetic or sedation so you lose nothing. The aspirate may not be conclusive but then it may. If it is conclusive, ultrasound, blood tests and then surgery are the way to go. If it is not conclusive, all of the above starting with ultrasound.

Dogs with previous MCT should be given a cancer check monthly for 3 months, then at 6 months out, then at 12 months out. The vet should check the groin area for swollen lymph nodes, the spleen by pressing around the stomach to see if there is any enlargement and the chest, as well as the previous site of MCT for any swelling. This is a basic cancer check. MCT spreads to the lymph nodes, chest and spleen initially. If after 12 months post-surgery, there is no suspicion, you can assume your dog is rid of it. However, you must always be vigilant because the chances are it could recur elsewhere. Daily checks can help you get to know your dog, notice lumps and bumps, changes in coat, etc and therefore allow you to pick things up quickly.

A trained eye, however, can pick up things that you might not think as significant, hence the routine cancer medical.

Boxers are prone to lumps and bumps of all kinds, benign as well as malignant. You would not want surgery with clean margins for a simple cyst, therefore aspirate and ultrasound could save a lot of pain and heartache whether there be malignancy or not. My vet wants to do this, i.e. remove clean margins, so say 2.5cm of healthy tissue all the way round to save the use of another anaesthetic at a later date. Now if it turns out to be a simple cyst, the surgery has gone too far and if it turns out to be MCT, ultrasound scanning will determine how far it has gone, allowing greater margins if necessary.

I also asked about herbal assistance, such as echinacea (a herb I love due to its immune boosting properties). She said that there is no clinical evidence to support its benefits with MCT. Likewise, there is no reason not to try it as it certainly can't do any harm.

My major concern or perhaps its just a niggle is the spleen.  When Henri had ultrasound scanning before his surgery, the spleen had a mottled appearance.  The onco didn't think it was significant but I'm a worrier.
 

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It's tough. As you've noted, boxers are particularily known for their issues with cancers. With cancer being the number one killer in dogs of all breeds (including mixed breeds), being vigilant is never a bad idea.

Aspiration is a good idea, and I fully admit falling prey to "panic mode" the last time one of my bitches had a lump on her hock. Vet said remove it, so we removed it. . . Then I spent the next three or four weeks back and forth to the vet because she kept breaking the sutures open. The results came back benign (it was a capillary hemangioma), but we would have likely known that (and avoided a whole heap of problems) if he had done a needle biopsy first.

Sending good thoughts that Henri continues to stay cancer free. Definitely not fun worrying about the lumps and bumps on our dogs.  :(
 

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Thank you.  We remain vigilant and to have this advice direct from an oncologist could be invaluable for the future.  Here's to benign lumps and bumps for the future.  Thanks again.
 
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