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Mast Cell Tumor (Mastocytoma) in Cats



Manipulation of the tumor may result in the release of histamines from the tumor due to the mast cells releasing from the tumor into the blood stream. Antihistamines may be prescribed to alleviate some of the symptoms related to this effect. This same behavior can come into play as a result of surgical intervention; antihistamines will be used under the circumstances, as a large release of histamines on the body can have a drastic effect on the organs.


Surgery is the treatment of choice for mast cell tumors of the skin. Surgical removal of the spleen is the treatment of choice for mast cell tumors of the spleen. Surgical removal of the spleen along with chemotherapy may be beneficial when mast cells circulating in the blood accompany mast cell tumors of the spleen.


Excisional biopsy with wide margins is reasonable for very small tumors. Incisional biopsy of large mast cell tumors is recommended to obtain a tumor grade, to predict prognosis, and to establish a treatment plan. Your veterinarian will probably consider pretreatment with antihistamine therapy prior to an incisional biopsy. Biopsy of lymph nodes and other suspicious internal organs is appropriate. Complete surgical removal with 3-cm margins in all planes is recommended for all moderate Grade 2, high Grade 2, and Grade 3 tumors; margins of 2 cm or less may be adequate for Grade 1 and low Grade 2 tumors. Surgical removal of regional lymph nodes is recommended for all high Grade 2 and Grade 3 tumors.


Living and Management


Your veterinarian will want to microscopically evaluate any new masses and evaluate the lymph nodes at regular intervals in order to detect spread of Grade 2 or Grade 3 tumors. Your doctor will also want to perform a complete blood count at regular intervals if your cat is receiving chemotherapy. Immunity can be affected by cancer fighting drugs, so it will be important to protect your cat from illness and communicable diseases during this period, as well as sticking closely to a healthy, immune boosting diet.



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