Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dog mast cell tumor update: Sinead hits the 6-month mark

Sinead the Boston terrier in her chair

When Sinead was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor (a form of dog cancer) at the beginning of 2016, I spent a lot of time talking with veterinary cancer experts about her prognosis. Specifically, I wanted to know when I could stop treating her like a very fragile animal that might not live for long and start treating her like the vibrant, active Boston terrier she was when this whole thing started.

The best answer I got (although veterinarians do like to hedge their bets, so getting a clear answer is tough) was 6 months. If we could go 6 months between some kind of medical intervention and the tumor not coming back, we could rest just a little easier.

This week, Sinead hits that 6-month mark.

Sinead the Boston terrier with a tumor

Just to show you how far she's come, here's an old photo that showcases the nasty tumor. You'll see a little white speck right above her left eye in this photo. By the time Sinead was diagnosed, that bump had been over her eye for about a year. It didn't grow larger or smaller, and it didn't bother her. But it was there.

As I detailed in this blog post, we used a novel form of chemotherapy as a followup to an unsuccessful surgical removal. The chemo took just a few minutes, and it came with no pain or side effects. Sinead also has no scarring. Her treated eyelid looks just as fabulous as the untreated eyelid.

Sinead the dog's face in closeup

Since Sinead had cancer so early in life, I will need to monitor her regularly and watch for new lumps and bumps. It's possible that this tumor is a harbinger of some kind of genetic defect that will make her prone to more tumors later in life.

But for now, we're celebrating her successes. Here's to many more months!

And for those of you who have been following and sharing my foster cat story, I have an update. Panda has been here for several days now, getting fluid therapy and medications and force feedings for his fatty liver disease. He is a little too weak to resist those treatments, but he doesn't seem to mind them. And today, he's looking quite a bit better.

Panda the foster cat in a towel

His expression is bright and alert, and his lips are looking pretty darn pink (instead of yellow). He can move quite quickly now, and he's spent a lot of time working on his scratching post after his force feedings. That old spunk is coming back. He's also found his voice and is doing soft purrs when held or hugged.

We have a ways to go yet, as Panda still seems very queasy. He smacks his lips often, and he sometimes drools to excess during his feedings. I know he isn't feeling all that positive about food right now. He also developed a strange whistle when breathing, and his nostrils were blocked with black goo this morning. He's heading back to the clinic today to have that assessed.

So we have some good news and some bad.

Thanks for all of your comments and your support, both for Panda and Sinead. Do leave me a comment, and I'll read them to these kids. Thanks!


  1. That is great news for Sinead and I hope she continues to do well.
    Good news also that Panda is showing some improvement for his fatty liver disease. I hope the black goo from his nose can be quickly cleared up too.

  2. Sinead, we are so glad to hear your good news! We are purring and praying for Panda. Hugs to you all.

  3. I am glad Sinead is doing well. I will be praying for both him and Panda.