March 14, 2016
Tessa hit a speed bump.
On March 6, I felt a lump near her left armpit. The vet aspirated it the next day, and it came back as a mast cell tumor. Surgery was today.
Mast cell tumors are nasty, and tricky. They tend to be unpredictable but there are several factors that give an idea as to how things might play out. Hers was grade 2 (grade 1 being the lowest, grade 3 being very aggressive), and the mitotic index (a measurement for cell proliferation) was 4, with 5 being the cut-off as to when a grade 2 might behave like a grade 3. So overall, it could have been worse, and could have been better. We got clean margins, which is a good start, though not a guarantee. Ironically, my dog Yogi was diagnosed with the same kind of tumor in May 1996 - 20 years ago. We were unable to get a clean margin at the time, and the prognosis was 6-8 months - but the tumor never returned and she died in 2004 at age 14, from other causes.
The course of action for Tessa will be vigilance. I will check her for any new lumps quite frequently.
Unwrapping a get-well package from our friends!