What Are Mast Cell Tumors?
Dogs are prone to many ailments, among them mast cell tumors (MCT). The condition can be defined as the abnormal growth of mast cells. These cells reside in connective tissues near external surfaces in the skin, mouth, nose, lungs, etc. Mast cells play a role in immune response since they contain histamine and heparin. Also, they play a role in the formation of blood vessels and tissue repair.
In dogs, MCT is the most common skin tumor. Once it starts, unchecked the tumors spread to other parts of the body such as the spleen, bone marrow, and tract.
MCT’s can develop in all dogs, but certain breeds are more at risk. These breed include Boston terrier, boxers, bulldogs, Weimaraners, Shar-Peis, golden and Labrador retrievers.
What Are The Types Of Mast Cell Tumors?
MCT tumors are graded according to their differentiation. This is the degree to which the tumor cell resembles normal cells. Cells that are more differentiated are considered healthier than the others. Based on this distinction, there are three grades:
The tumor is least aggressive since cells are well differentiated. There is a low chance of metastasis (spread to other organs).
The degree of differentiation is still good, but there is the potential of spread of the tumors locally.
Tumors are considered highly aggressive, and there is poor differentiation. They can spread regionally to bone marrows, lymph nodes, liver and spleen.
What Are The Symptoms Of Mast Cell Tumors?
Symptoms of mast cell tumors in dogs include bumps since they occur near the skin surface. Most tumors, roughly 50 percent, are in the region between the anus and vulva in females. In males, it is the area between the anus and scrotum. Look for bumps which can be reddish and ulcerated, even in parts such as the paw. Most lumps occur singly, but it not uncommon to find more multiple bumps.
Diagnosis Of Mast Cell Tumors
MCT is a diagnosable condition, requiring a trip to the vet. The veterinarian using a needle will draw a sample of the suspicious mass and conduct further diagnostics on other parts of the body. Next, blood work is performed to gauge the grade of the tumor cells. After the diagnosis, the doctor recommends suitable treatments.
In both humans and dogs, early detection means better luck of curing the condition. In dogs, both grade 1 and grade 2 cells, provide more assurance. For grade 3, tumors have already spread to other parts of the body, and the prognosis is poor.
Treatment Of Mast Cell Tumors
Treatments can be curative – meant to remove the tumor cells or palliative –done to prolong the life of your pet.
Conventional Treatments For Mast Cell Tumors In Dogs
Sometimes surgery is appropriate for dogs. Especially when they have grade I or II cells since the tumors are localized. According to statistics, MCT recurs in only 5% to 11% of dogs, after complete resections or removals of the tumor masses. In some cases, two surgeries are necessary as well as radiation or chemotherapy.
The use of radiation involves targeting of tumor sites with high energy beams. It is done for curative and palliative reasons, in which the effectiveness depends on the number of frequency of treatments. The therapy can cause side effects such as hair loss, pain, inflammation, among others. Unlike surgery, it is useful in treating regional tumors associated with grade 3 cells.
It involves the administration of drugs such as prednisone and vinblastine. However, chemo drugs have various side effects since they destroy the cancer mass and healthy cells in the process.
Disadvantages of Modern Techniques
Conventional treatments are expensive prompting the majority of pet owners to opt out of these procedures. Are there any alternatives?
Using CBD With Mast Cell Tumors
When dealing with mast cell tumors in dogs, one therapy is not enough. It is imperative to explore other treatments for your dog. You stand to prolong its life, make it a bit more comfy, and save costs in the process. According to researchers, a promising alternative is the use of medicinal Cannabidiol (CBD) oil extracted from the hemp plant.
CBD comes from the hemp plant and is non-psychoactive. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid compound comes from flowering marijuana plants. A notable difference between hemp and marijuana is that it grows upward like the bamboo, to heights of 10-15’. Marijuana grows wide and thick like a bush.
Parts of the hemp plants are of commercial value. For instance, textile industries use the stalk to make high-quality fabrics. Food industries use the seeds, to make snacks. Several countries grow hemp for these purposes including China, which now holds over half of the 600 patterns on the hemp plant.
Of late, CBD has received much interest and even hailed as a magic solution against horrid ailments facing man. Its other uses are much more subtle such as its use for relieving stress, anxiety, and depression. All mammals with an Endocannabinoid Sytem (man, dogs, cats, horses, etc.), stand to benefit.
Mode Of Operation: Using CBD With Mast Cell Tumors In Dogs
Up until the 1980s, scientists did not know of the existence of the endocannabinoid (ECS) system in mammals. The EC system is a series of receptors sites all throughout the body. These sites are classified into CB1 and CB2. The take instructions from cannabidiols, which are a class of natural chemicals such as CBD and THC found freely in plants.
Upon the interaction of cannabidiols with the receptors, the body responds in various ways. Let’s take, for instance, someone who has smoked marijuana. The smoke contains THC, which upon interaction with receptor sites particularly CB1, produces a ‘high’. Thus, we say the substance is psychoactive or mind-altering.
When CBD interacts with the receptor sites ….ah good things happen. It can modulate pain response, anxiety, appetite, nausea, inflammations, the list goes on. Its action against tumors stems from its association with the ability to inhibit tumor angiogenesis and metastasis. CBD has the ability to cause the death of unhealthy cells, and stop rapid division of abnormal cells.
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The effects of CBD are benefitial to the body. No negative side effects have resulted from its use. However, the research on the right dosage for use in pets is lacking. Also, most tests take place in vitro (in test tubes using cells) but not in Vivo. But, there are literally thousands of patient anecdotes, where the use of CBD products has resulted in therapeutic effects.
Dogs should not be left behind. Yes, CBD might not result in 100 percent cure of mast cell tumors in dogs. But neither do surgeries, chemo, and radiation. The best approach is to use all the therapies together and watch as the pouch benefits, from the synergic effects.
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