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My son noticed a kidney bean sized lump on our Boxer's toe about six months ago. Guinness is about 6 years old. It took a while to really convince the vet that it was serious. By the time it grew to a golf ball sized mass, the vet agreed it had to go. He took the entire toe (about two inches of underlying bone). The biopsy came back mast grade 2 and clean margins. Two months later, the tumor took hold adjacent to the scar. We had that removed promptly via a second surgery. Grade 2 again, but the tumor wasn't contained in margins. That's not horribly surprising. Surgically, the paws are a tough location given they don't have much skin that can be removed.

Another month passed and the original tumor seems to have caught on again. It's steadily grown to the size of a golf ball again.

Another tumor has appeared on his thigh, about a foot higher from the toe. This one is funky and shaped more like a torus than a blob. The fine needle aspiration hinted mast as well. No surgery... yet.

And another lump has shown up on his chest. It's about the size of a kidney bean. So three sites.

The vet suggested he's a goner, albeit in a extremely sympathetic way. I actually had to bluntly ask, "Is he going to die from this?" He discarded the idea of prescribing prednisone (surprised me) and didn't have enough oncology experience to estimate treatment cost. I'm guessing chemo would be a fixed cost. Radiation probably scales with the number of tumors. Probably looking at $5000+ just for chemo.

So what to do? There's so much literature on the subject. Many studies contradict each other. I don't have the utmost confidence in the three vets we've seen, all of which add even more contradicting opinions. I'm surprised none have suggested a blood test to detect mast cells. It seems like it'd be a simple check to see if the tumor has metastasized (not assuming they are all related).

It's probably time to let the tumors run their course. Guinness has spent the last three months with a cone on his head. He's in surprisingly good spirits. But I'd hate to send him into surgery at least two more times. (We were talking about taking his entire back leg last time.) Add to that, the last two surgeries have been unsuccessful.

If there is anyone who's seen this type of cancer through the terminal phase, I'd appreciate the details in terms of knowing what to expect. From what I understand, it's going to be the histamines and ulcers that kill him. We have him on benadryl and pepcid. His stool is changing to a tan color and fairly loose. He threw up yesterday after a long 3 mile walk. Not sure if these a clear signs of an ulcer. His appetite is still really good. Any idea how long we have?

Thanks all.
 

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I would recommend seeing an Oncologist. Getting all the information you need to make the right choice. ( even if its just for your own peace of mind ) You seem like you really want to do whats best for him and its hard to know whats best when you do not really have his whole health picture. At the very least. Lets say it turns out really bad. At least then you know and any decision you make you will feel like you made the right one in your heart. But maybe it will not be as bad as you think and they may be able to help him. and you do get another 6-7 yrs with your dear pet. Just a visit may clear a lot of things up for you and help you make the decision and also maybe help you with what to expect in the coming months.
 
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