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Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 11466
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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Concord, NC. I have a 6 yr old neutered indoor/outdoor pot

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Concord, NC. I have a 6 yr old neutered indoor/outdoor pot belly pig (Larry Potter) who has recently developed Mast Cell tumors, apparently not that common in pbpigs. I am very interested in something that I can do for him - like a natural tyrosine kinase inhibitor - that would give him a wonderful life without dreadful side effects. As of 7/1/11 when I got the pathology report back he's been taking 1 zyrtec daily, 1/2 prilosec daily, 1/2 benadryl with each feeding (2X/day). I am asking if you know of anything I can give him..... have been reading about Genistein, which seems to have promise; also bromelain, and vitamin D.

Larry is very much loved, and I want to do all I can for him. He's had 2 tumors removed but now has 5 more (pencil eraser size) starting up again in different locations. I am a 2-time cancer survivor (A.L.L.) and I know very well the horrible side effects of potent & life-threatening long-term chemo.

Can anyone help, or point me in the right direction? It would be so very much appreciated. Many thanks!!

Hello Maxine,

If you want to give Larry Potter the best chance at a good life, it would be best to work with a vet, rather than simply home-medicating. If you want to stick with strictly holistic care, you'll want to see a holistic vet. This link will take you to a directory of those who treat large animals in North Carolina:

One thing you should know about chemo in animals is that they very seldom suffer the kind of side effects that humans do. Many go through chemo with no side effects at all, some have minor side effects, and only rarely does anything serious happen. If your vet has recommended chemo, it might be a good idea to consult a veterinary oncologist at North Carolina State University. They have an advanced veterinary oncology center, and Larry Potter would get the best possible care there. Here's link to their site:

While mast cell tumors are rare in pigs, one vet has been studying them. From what she has learned, the tumors seem most similar to those found in cats. In cats, the tumors seldom become life-threatening and are surgically removed each time they occur. You can read an article on pig mast cell tumors by this vet here:

The Duchess Fund is a nonprofit organization that is funding research on pet pigs, and the vet who wrote the above article works with them. She would like other owners of pigs with mast cell tumors to contribute their pig's record in order for vets to learn more. If you're interested in helping:

The use of genistein in cancer treatment has, at this point, only been used in studies. In the test tube, it has been found to be effective. Anecdotal evidence indicates that it may be helpful with prostate and other cancers. Since it is a natural substance found in soybeans, you could go ahead and use it. However, there are no guidelines as to how much should be given. This is another area where you might want to consult a holistic vet.

Very little has been written on alternative cancer treatment in pigs, but there is much for dogs. Some of the information, such as using filtered water and organic foods would apply to any species. Many of the herbal remedies and supplements could be used in any species. You may want to read a comprehensive article on the subject, and then take what you feel may be relevant to a holistic vet for a consultation. Dr Roger Clemmons, DVM, at the University of Florida is a leading expert on integrative veterinary medicine. I would recommend that you read his article, which includes recommendations for vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. You can read his article here:

If you have more questions, let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope that whatever you decide to do, Larry Potter will thrive.


(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

If it helps his path report says poorly circumscribed, infiltrative mass composed of loosely arranged sheets of round cells that surround, separate, isolate & replace preexisting adipocytes& collagen bundles. Neoplast. cells show mild pleomorphism w/distinct cell borders & moderate amts. of amphophilic, finely granular cytoplasm. Nuclei r centrally located, round w/coarsely stippled chromatin & 1-2 magenta nuclioli. 0 mitotic figures in 10 high power fields. Scattered thruout neoplasm r moderate #'s eosinophils w/fewer lymphocytes & plasma cells. Multifocally is increased dermal collagen which is often separated by clear space (edema). Multifocal blood vessels contain transmigrating eosinophils & perivascular edema. Neopl. cells located 4mm from the margins of the sections examined. Comment: fairly well differentiated mast cell tumor. Recommend periodic monitoring for signs of regrowth.


Optional Information:
Type of Animal: potbelly pig
Gender: (neu) male
Age: 6
Name of Animal: LarryPotter

Already Tried:
At this time I'm giving him omeprazole once/day; benadryl 1/2 tablet with each feeding (2); zyrtec once/day. Interested in genistein as it's supposed to be a 'natural' tyrosine kinase inhibitor; also bromelain. I welcome any & all thoughts & ideas. He's had 2 lg. tumors removed, now has 5 (pencil eraser size) coming up, not in same place.

Your vet recommended periodic monitoring, rather than any other treatment. Since mast cells in pot bellied pigs seem most similar to those in cats, that makes sense. Antihistamines have been found to be helpful in cats.

It appears you are looking for solid information, which in the case of pigs, is simply not available. The pathology report doesn't really tell us anything about how this should be treated. The best information on mast cells is in the article I linked to above. As I said before, the genistein is in testing stages. If you want to do more than what your vet recommended, it would be best to work with a holistic vet.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you Very Much! I know an excellent vet at NC State and am familiar with the Duchess Fund. I also plan to email Dr. John Carr, who is quite an accomplished expert in potbelly pigs. I am familiar with Reiki & have a friend who is a master in this field of study. He has agreed to help. Also thank you for Dr. Clemmons' article, it's quite informative. Food is an issue with pigs since they are omnivores and their weight is hard to control, but Larry does get lots of fresh veggies, broccoli stalks, cabbage & carrots. Again thanks! And be well....