A message from Cathy Turnipseed to all members of Fight K9 cancer on I Remember Love!

Hello everyone.  I'm a new member of your group because my 8 year old, 70 pound baby, Taz, was recently diagnosed with mast cell cancer.  His tumor sits right on top of his ankle joint, which is going to make it hard to get a clean edge when its removed, plus promises a difficult recovery, while we try to keep the ankle immobile while the graft heals.  We're devastated, as you can all relate too.  We lost Lucy to lymphoma 2 years ago, and our 17 year old dachshund Vinnie followed a few months later with lymphoma also.  We feel snakebit, with three cancers in less than three years, and are exploring environmental causes.  We have three other dogs at home, and can only wonder who's next at this point.

I'm taking Taz for a consult at a specialty clinic in Columbus Oh tomorrow for diagnostics to see if the cancer has already spread to his organs, as he shows some shortness of breath and is a bit lethargic.  He's scheduled for surgery on Thursday to have the tumor removed, but if tomorrows test show it's spread, I'm not going to put him through it unless there's a compelling reason.  Amputation isn't being discussed yet.  We'll do whatever palliative care is necessary to keep him comfortable.

Have any of you dealt with mast cell in this location?  Has anyone tried the homeopathic treatments I see advertised?  It makes sense to try to support his immune system, but there seem to be so many options, I'm not sure which to try.  I haven't had that conversation with our vet, but plan to.

We tried chemo with Lucy, but even tho she was big and strong, her body just couldn't tolerate the IV chemo.  So we went with a course of leukerin and neupegen, and she just collapsed after a treatment one day and died at the emergency clinic that night.  I was out of town, and didn't have the chance to say goodbye, which still hurts, 1 1/2 years later.  My husband was with her, and rushed her to the e-clinic 70 miles away after she was somewhat stabilized locally, with a temp of 106.  It was a horrible time for all of us. Because of Lucys experience with chemo, we're reluctant to put Taz thru it.

Any advice you can offer is greatly appreciated.

I'm new at this posting thing, and apparently I sent an email out to all of you, and the end of it got cut off. Sorry about that.

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi Cathy,


I'm so sorry your Taz has cancer--and that you have been through this two times before!  I have had no experience with Mast Cell cancer--our Phoebe had Plasma cell cancer!


I guess my only advice would be to try not to jump the gun as far as treatment goes until you get the full picture of how far Taz's cancer has progressed.  We too had decided not to do chemo as we were thinking that it was the same as with humans and we didn't want Phoebe's last days to be spent sicker from the chemo than the cancer!  But after talking with the oncologist, we decided to give it a try and Phoebe handled it beautifully and we got 11 more months from her because of it! 


I know you had a bad experience and a bad outcome with Lucy, but Taz is a different dog, with a different form of cancer, so I would try and just be as hopeful and optimistic as you can.  I know this is hard as you are scared and worried, but just know that this group of people are so caring and wise and were always there for me when I needed to vent, cry, rejoice, and then ultimately grieve with us when we did lose Phoebe!  You have come to the right place, and I'm sure there is someone that has experience with Mast Cell that can give you particular advice.


Keep us posted, and I will pray for Taz and you.


Hi Cathy,

My Bailey had Osteosarcoma. We found out in August and lost him in January. He actually did not die from the cancer. We had a puppy (Benson--who is now 18 months old) along with Bailey (who was only 6) and Benson jumped on Bailey and knocked him down. Bailey had been hit by a car 5 years earlier and had both legs on the left side shattered. We were told then that if Bailey ever broke either of those legs again, they would not be able to be pieced back together. His Bone Cancer was in the rear left leg just above the knee and we elected to have that leg amputated and not do chemo. Bone cancer does not respond well to chemo. Since he had no rear leg to balance, when he fell, he landed on the left front leg, which broke and we couldn't fix it.  We had no choice but to let him go.

He did very well on a grain free diet which I cooked. I got the recipe out of Dr. Dressler's book and followed the suggestions as closely as possible. I truly believe that had he not broken that front left leg, we would have had him around for at least another 4-6 months. His cancer had not spread as far as they could tell.

I think that you should get all the information available and then make your decision, however, I agree with Kelly---Taz is a completely different dog with a different stamina level and I would try chemo and a holistc approach also.

Please keep us all posted and know that we are hurting right along with you. We all understand your feelings and will continue to pray for healing for Taz.



Kelly and Jill, thanks so much for your words of wisdom. I didn't mean to sound like our mind was made up about treatments. Of course, if chemo is the recommended alternative, we'll certainly do it. What i've read so far is that chemo doesn't have much impact on MCT. Tomorrow is a big day for us, with abdominal ultrasounds, x-rays, blood work, possibly a bone marrow test, and lots of questions for the doctors.

Taz will be upset that that he doesn't get breakfast with the others (he loves his food!) but he'll be happy to have me to himself for the day, even if it does involve needles.

Thanks for your stories about Bailey and Phoebe. I'm so sorry for your losses. I have no doubt they're the guardian angels for Taz and all the others going thru this!

We'll be saying extra prayers tomorrow.
My dog Sunny, age 8 was diagnosed with Mast Cell cancer two years ago. He has had 6 surgeries to remove the mast cell tumors, and thank God all the tumors have been able to be removed. A week ago he had his ultrasound and chest X-rays and is now cancer free. I am so very sorry that your baby Taz has mast cell cancer. I will keep Taz in my prayers. You know your baby better than any of us and seeing how you are such an amazing mommy, I know you will do whatever you think is best fir your baby. That is what matters. I never tried homeopathic remedies so I don't know if they work. I wish I could give you more info, but I don't have any. If you ever need a shoulder, feel free to call me, Katherine, at 951-514-7102. I'm praying for you, your baby Taz and family. Love, Katherine rush
Katherine, I am so happy to hear about Sunny. Every victory is a blessing for those of us who lost our fur babies. It gives all of us the hope that this nasty disease can be overcome. Smooches to Sunny. Keep up the good work. We will all pray that Taz will follow in Sunny's footsteps and be cancer free soon.

So sorry about your Taz.  I echo what everyone has said, you know him best and that will guide you to the right choices.  My Sadie has osteosarcoma,  She is getting close to the end of her fight.  You couldn't have found a better group of people.  Everyone here is so supportive and loving and never be afraid to post or ask anything no matter what.  there is so much love and care here.  I hope your boy has a good outcome, but know we are all here for you  no matter what.


Hi Everyone,

Taz and I had a big day today.  We were at Medvet in Columbus from 9:30 this morning till almost 4:00 this afternoon.  The team there was outstanding, from Dr Lasher, the resident oncologist, to the technicians and the desk people.  I left feeling Taz has a great group of people on his side.


He had blood work inlcuding a buffy coat screen, chest xrays, and an abdominal ultrasound.  Everything came back negative, but he has a big spleen, so they did a needle aspiration and we don't have those results yet.  They're betting it won't show anything because it's uniformly big, not irregular or lumpy.    Dr Bill will hold off surgery tomorrow until those results are in, because if the spleen shows cancer, then we talk about chemo before surgery.  Please keep us in your prayers tonight!  You know how gun-shy I am about chemo.  The good news is, it would be a different protocol than Lucy had.  If the spleen is clean, then the recommendation is full radiation after the sutures from surgery come out.  19 treatments over 4 weeks. 


The bad news today, is we found two more instances of MCT.  A "wart" showed up on his throat yesterday, grew noticeably overnight, so they aspirated it, suspect MCT, and it will come off tomorrow also.  I stopped at our vet's office on the way home to make sure they had all the info (and they did -- awesome!), and while I was waiting, I noticed a bump behind his right jaw.  Dr bill took a look, and will take it off tomorrow too.  Taz will look like Frankenstein when I pick him up.  Another prayer, please!  We're hoping for stage 1, although everyone seems to think the original lump will probably come back as stage 2. 


This cancer is  horrible in that no two lumps or bumps look the same.  His ankle looks like a hard, swollen bug bite.  His throat lump looks like a wart or skin tag.  The jaw lump feels like a pea under the skin.  I'm about to give him a full body massage to look for anything else, even though I did it over the weekend, and didn't find either of these latest instances.


I feel so much more prepared after today.  Dr Lasher spent over an hour with me this morning, talking about MCT, radiation, and options. 


Thanks so much for your posts.  They're truly helped me deal with the emotions over the last couple of days, and I'm grateful to all of you.  Katherine, I'm especially grateful for the hope I got from your story!  And thanks for the phone number!



I will say an extra prayer tonight that the surgeon's hands are guided by God to get all of this nasty cancer off Taz, and that the spleen is healthy.

I am glad that you feel comfortable with your team. That means so much. We are with you in spirit.

Thanks, Jill. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. We're going into tomorrow with a positive attitude, which is so important. I expect he'll look like frankenstein when I pick him . Poor guy! I'll post a picture, if I can figure ou how.


Will be sending lots of hopeful prayers your way in the morning.  So glad you found a team you trust, that's so important.  Keep  us posted please


His spleen is healthy!  He's in surgery now.  The prayers worked - thank you!


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