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Dr. Gary
Dr. Gary, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19798
Experience:  DVM, Emergency Veterinarian; BS (Physiology) Michigan State Univ
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My 6 year old boxer LuLu was recently diagnosed with mast cell

Customer Question

My 6 year old boxer LuLu was recently diagnosed with mast cell cancer by a board cert. oncologist (based on results of an aspirate of the spleen). Next step was the removal and biopsy of the spleen.. and a true biopsy of her liver (removal of a small portion of her liver). The good news is that the spleen biopsy came back negative/showed no cancer BUT they lost the biopsy of the liver. My options now are to perform laparoscopic surgery to re-biopsy the liver OR my other option is monitor her via periodic ultrasounds and blood tests. I want to keep cost out of the equation now and focus on what is best for LuLu. Also, questioning if I choose NOT to do the additional surgery (and just monitor her via periodic ultrasounds and blood tests), would those test really be able to show if/when she has cancer or are they worthless? Trying to figure out the best thing to do, money aside right now...re-biopsy of liver or monitor her. Could anyone help? Thanks in advance.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Gary replied 2 years ago.
Hello. I would actually do something a little different. I would do a ultrasound guided biopsy of the liver. I'd probably check a couple areas and get 2 or 3 biopsy samples. This is done pretty non-invasively. Some dogs we'll end up giving a short acting anesthetic. Some we just do it while they're awake with a local anesthetic. This will allow you to evaluate the liver without going through another surgery. Laparoscopic is another good option, but it's a little more invasive than ultrasound guided. Either one should give you your answers. Bloodwork is not likely to be all that helpful. Periodic ultrasound is only needed if the mast cell cancer is high grade. With a low grade mast cell cancer, periodic screening is not needed as long as there was a surgical cure. I hope this helps, let me know if you have any other questions.