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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 27355
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My boston terrier has a small lump few years. recently a vet

Customer Question

my boston terrier has a small lump for a few years. recently a vet doing his annual check up asked about it and poked it to see what it was. he said that it is possibly 1 of 3 stages of something (not sure what he called it) that needs to be removed, indicating that it could be a cancerous lump? my dog has never paid attention to it, but now after prodding with a needle, he is licking that area. how urgent is this and should I seek another opinion as to what it is?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

Ziggy's vet found mast cells in the needle aspirate. We grade mast cell tumors as grades 1-3 depending upon how malignant they look microscopically. Bostons are over-represented for these tumors which must be removed at your earliest convenience. It's important to note, however, that mast cells can migrate into inflamed areas and NOT represent a mast cell tumor and so after removal of this lump, it should be submitted for biopsy to our pathologist. If it truly is a mast cell tumor, staging is important; in other words, nearby lymph nodes should be checked for metastasis, X-rays of Ziggy's lungs checked for metastasis, and abdominal ultrasound performed to look for metastasis. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I will have it taken care of. Does this mast cell mean that he has cancer? The location of the lump is away from lymph nodes, it is on his left side before the top of his leg.
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

No, as I mentioned above, the presence of mast cells may simply indicate inflammation. Our pathologist can determine if that's the case or there really is a mast cell tumor present. Please continue our conversation if you wish.

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.
Hi Liz,
I'm just following up on our conversation about Ziggy. How is everything going?
Dr. Michael Salkin