Vetalog question

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TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
In another post I said how I found a lump on Brady's leg and I have been researching options.

At first I just wanted it gone, surgically removed and hopefully get a good path report. Now since looking at options and the success that Susi has had with Cami and the Vetalog injections, I am going to talk to the vet about it.

But, I want to know what stage the MCT is (if it is even a MCT) and was wondering how they figure that out if doing the Vetalog. Do they aspirate it and make a determination from there or just guess?
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
You have a few options.....
In our case I could (99% of the time) diagnose Cami's MCT's since she had so many. I would just call the oncologist up and schedule an appointment for an injection. Simple.
Through the years if she would see something that I knew wasn't an MCT or she wasn't sure of she would do a needle aspirate and check it out before injecting.
That being said one time a vet student (teaching hospital) got the slides mixed up and they injected a growth that wasn't a MCT and didn't inject the MCT which I told them WAS a MCT. We had to go back for that one at a later date. The growth that wasn't a MCT but was injected went away after the injection however it was nothing to begin with so in all likelihood it would have went away on its own eventually OR perhaps the Vetalog helped it. We will never know.
The majority of vets don't have any idea about the use of Vetalog for MCT's. There aren't any studies on its use to treat MCT's. We just happened on it due to Cami's oncologist being an expert in MCT's and she has pretty much tried everything there is to try with them. When I was researching HER I found two articles she had written about Vetalog and MCT's. Actually not really an article per say but a snippet of info IN an article!
She does offer phone consults to those vets who are interested however and is at Ohio State University Vet school (Dr. Cheryl London).
Oncologists who specialize in MCT's will have heard of its use (or they would have read about something maybe even used it themselves).
I'd say 99.9% of traditional vets will tell you to have it surgically removed because this is how they are trained to rid the body of growths.
You could always get lucky and have a vet that is willing to read up on it and try this form of treatment. That vet would be a keeper!
It would be best to have a needle aspirate done at minimum however this procedure isn't 100% accurate 100% of the time. MCT's slip through the cracks occasionally and benign growths will be deemed a MCT when they are not.
A punch biopsy done and then sent to pathology will give you a far better picture of what you are dealing with. If it is a higher grade MCT (some 2's and all 3's) then the Vetalog doesn't have much of a chance of working. It is best utilized for grade 1 and grade 2's that act like grade 1's. Slow growing, small and without much chance of metastases which you can't know until a sample is sent to pathology. The good thing about punch biopsies is that in a lot of cases if the tumor is small enough they can get it ALL with this procedure which doesn't require any sedation....just a little lidocaine (or similar) to numb the area. Two or three stitches and you are done.
Injecting the Vetalog into an unknown tumor isn't taking a huge risk unless the patient would be allergic to the medication. It is a commonly used drug to treat allergies (a much higher dose than to treat a MCT). Since it is sub dermal (I think that is what it is called) the side effects are VERY mild. We noticed Cami would drink about 1 extra bowl of water a day for about 3-4 days after her injections. An added benefit was that her itching from the histamine in the MCT's was gone for a long time after wards as well. It is a form of prednisone so the potential for additional side effects are there with its use however again, they are using a very small amount in comparison to its traditional use for severe allergies.
I am probably rambling now but I did remember something the oncologist said once....
If it were to be a higher grade tumor which the Vetalog really can't touch... to use the Vetalog in that situation would be delaying treatment for something that would need to be addressed sooner rather than later.
The pathology report from a punch biopsy can always give you a clear picture of what you are dealing with.
If I ever have to deal with MCT's again I would always go the punch biopsy route. Having "been there done that" this is the best bit of info I could give anyone. Figure out what you are dealing with before you have to have them put under and cut on (surgically removed).
It might take a bit longer to get answers this way but a week isn't too long with a MCT. Some labs can get reports generated within a couple of days. OK. Enough of my MCT chatter!
 

TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
Thank you Susi! I was hoping you would see this thread.

After reading this and searching and reading your other posts on MCTs, I feel much more armed with information. I hope the vet will be open to researching Vetalog and possibly using it if we are dealing with a MCT. She is pretty open to me and my craziness so I think she may do it.

I enjoy your MCT babble so by all means, babble! If someone could get your knowledge and experience down on paper, they would be a very lucky person.

Would you suggest I give Brady Benadryl before the vet appointment on Tuesday since the vet will be messing with it or will that screw up any testing results?
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
I personally had Cami on Benadryl daily for many years and all through her multiple bouts with MCT's. She was on it from age 2 through her death at age 6. Anytime a new suspected (or known) MCT would have to be dealt with she was on it. It never affected any testing.
MCT's tend to swell and shrink on any given day with or without the Benadryl. It helps to have it on board when they are being manipulated (by any means) so it wouldn't hurt to call your vet and ask!
I personally would be giving it but I am not a vet. I just know what MCT's are capable of if they get "angry". Cami never experienced a bad reaction to them being messed with (other than temporary swelling) but I have read many articles that mention what can happen in the worst case scenario....anywhere from hives to anaphylactic shock.
If you've ever given Benadryl before and there wasn't any issues then your vet should be OK with prior administration before checking the growth out. Most will dose it prior themselves via injection before suspected MCT removals for the same reason.
 

TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
I personally had Cami on Benadryl daily for many years and all through her multiple bouts with MCT's. She was on it from age 2 through her death at age 6. Anytime a new suspected (or known) MCT would have to be dealt with she was on it. It never affected any testing.
MCT's tend to swell and shrink on any given day with or without the Benadryl. It helps to have it on board when they are being manipulated (by any means) so it wouldn't hurt to call your vet and ask!
I personally would be giving it but I am not a vet. I just know what MCT's are capable of if they get "angry". Cami never experienced a bad reaction to them being messed with (other than temporary swelling) but I have read many articles that mention what can happen in the worst case scenario....anywhere from hives to anaphylactic shock.
If you've ever given Benadryl before and there wasn't any issues then your vet should be OK with prior administration before checking the growth out. Most will dose it prior themselves via injection before suspected MCT removals for the same reason.

I think I will go ahead and give it to him. I know if I try to call the vet, I won't be able to get past the "gatekeeper" secretaries and techs and I know they will say no. He has had Benadryl before without any problems and as long as it isn't going to mess up test results, its not going to hurt to give it to him.

I did notice it shrunk a little bit yesterday. Hoping for the vet to be receptive and in a good mood tomorrow. The appointment isn't until 6:50 so she will probably be tired and ready to go home :(
 

TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
I did give him Benadryl before going just in case. She looked at it and said it may be an infected hair folicle as it looks funny and has a hair growing out the middle of it. She aspirated it and didn't see anything abnormal so she wants to let it go for 2 weeks to see if it changes at all while we are treating a yeast infection in his ears.

She said after 2 weeks, if it doesn't go away, we will remove it. I asked her about Vetalog and as soon as I mentioned it, she started nodding her head, saying she has used it to shrink tumors in cases where there isn't much skin to close with but never to kill off a tumor. My guess is she just hasn't used it long enough to kill the tumor, just enough to skrink it. She said they didn't have it there but she is more than willing to order it and try that route if I wanted to instead of surgery. In 2 weeks, we will make a determination on what to do. I think I may want to have her do a punch biopsy to see what we are dealing with and then if they don't get clean margins with the punch, we'll do the Vetalog to kill off the "dirty" cells if it ends up being a MCT.

Does that sound like a good plan?
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
Sounds like a great plan! Hopefully it isn't anything but that plugged hair follicle! That is what we will pray for at least.
Did she by chance pull that hair out? If not.....that would be the first thing I would do! Tweezers and pluck!
If it were plugged then removing the hair might result in a tiny hole for some sort of escape route of whatever is in there. In theory of course.
I would also do an online search and see what is suggested for dealing with a plugged hair follicle. Might come cross something that you could do at home to help the process along.

Pretty awesome that she is willing to try the Vetalog if need be. The fact that she has used it to shrink tumors in locations where surgery wasn't viable is a good sign. Typically multiple injections spread out 2 weeks apart is needed to actually blast the cancer cells enough to kill off a MCT. A friend of mine with Cami's cousin had (has) a MCT. Cami's oncologist who just happens to be my friends pet sitting client (how lucky is that), injected her girls MCT just once and it disappeared for about a year. I kept telling her it wasn't dead but since she couldn't see it anymore....out of sight out of mind. It reared its ugly head again and she will be having multiple injections this time around. I don't think we killed one off in under 3 injections (6 weeks). Most were 6 injections (12 weeks). The 6th was usually just an extra...just in case, injection. Couldn't see the tumor any longer after the 5th.

Would be great news if you came back next week and posted that it was gone and a bunch of goop came out!
 

TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
Sounds like a great plan! Hopefully it isn't anything but that plugged hair follicle! That is what we will pray for at least.
Did she by chance pull that hair out? If not.....that would be the first thing I would do! Tweezers and pluck!
If it were plugged then removing the hair might result in a tiny hole for some sort of escape route of whatever is in there. In theory of course.
I would also do an online search and see what is suggested for dealing with a plugged hair follicle. Might come cross something that you could do at home to help the process along.

Pretty awesome that she is willing to try the Vetalog if need be. The fact that she has used it to shrink tumors in locations where surgery wasn't viable is a good sign. Typically multiple injections spread out 2 weeks apart is needed to actually blast the cancer cells enough to kill off a MCT. A friend of mine with Cami's cousin had (has) a MCT. Cami's oncologist who just happens to be my friends pet sitting client (how lucky is that), injected her girls MCT just once and it disappeared for about a year. I kept telling her it wasn't dead but since she couldn't see it anymore....out of sight out of mind. It reared its ugly head again and she will be having multiple injections this time around. I don't think we killed one off in under 3 injections (6 weeks). Most were 6 injections (12 weeks). The 6th was usually just an extra...just in case, injection. Couldn't see the tumor any longer after the 5th.

Would be great news if you came back next week and posted that it was gone and a bunch of goop came out!

The hair is still there, I thought about plucking it but was afraid that if it was a mct that it would more harm than good. I am afraid to mess with it in fear that it is a mct as if somehow it will start to spread if messed with.

I will look on the internet now to see about the hair folicle.

I will try to post a picture later to see what you think about it.

Thanks for your help!
 

Cami

Boxer Insane
If the bump didn't react in a bad way, other than possibly some minor swelling when your vet did a needle aspiration... then plucking a hair should be a walk in the park.
Removing something from an area is far less invasive than introducing something like a needle into it. At least I would think!
If it is a MCT you can't cause it to "spread". Whatever it is capable of is what it is capable of hence them having different grades. A 1 is always going to be a 1, a 2 is always going to be a 2, etc....
**Two's can mimic a 1 or a 3.
*Most* MCT's of the skin are contained to the skin and have arms (think tentacles) that are growing in all directions away from the center of the tumor as well as down below it.
I can understand you wanting to be cautious though. Perhaps the needle hole will allow for something in there to get out it if it needs to.
 

TossBranAbi

Boxer Insane
Well tomorrow we go back to the vet.

Here are a couple of pictures:
This one is a new bump, just a red raised area, looks like a hive but has been there for too long to be a hive.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tossbranabi/5301359852/

This is the original bump:
IMAG0701 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Another shot of the original bump:
IMAG0702 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

The tips of my finger are where the two spots are, just to show where they are in relation to each other:
IMAG0703 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Any thoughts? I am scared to death even though the vet said not to be. Easy for her to say!
 
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