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A Canine Mast Cell Cancer Treatment Breakthrough!

If your veterinarian believes your dog has mast cell cancer, you need to know about the biggest canine mast cell cancer treatment breakthrough in years!

senior dog with mast cell cancer tumors
In memory of Ajax, one of our longest-lived Tripawd dogs with Mast Cell Cancer.


Dr. Sue Shares Canine Mast Cell Cancer Treatment Breakthrough News

Canine Mast Cell Cancer (MCT) is common. But that doesn’t make it any easier. This cancer accounts for about 21 percent of all skin tumors in dogs. And about 40 percent of those tumors happen in the limb or tail. Many Tripawds like Maggie the TriPug joined us because they lost a limb to it. Usually amputation is a last resort after many failed surgeries to extract the tumor.

Mast Cell Cancer can be one of the most treatable but frustrating dog cancers for pet and parent. In our Tripawd Talk Radio interview with veterinary oncologist Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, she referred to mast cell cancer treatment as like playing Whack-a-Mole. In The Dog Cancer Survival Guide, authors Drs. Demian Dressler and Sue Ettinger say:

While long-term survival is more common with MCT that with other dog cancers, MCT is a tricky cancer to predict.

Until now, the best hope for treating Mast Cell Cancer in dogs has been a combination of tumor resection (removal) surgeries, and an immunotherapy treatment called Palladia. This excellent Mast Cell Cancer in Dogs article gives a great overview of the first first anti-cancer Mast Cell Cancer therapy approved by the FDA:

In a clinical trial of dogs with mast cell tumors, Palladia helped nearly 70% of dogs to destroy, reduce, or halt the growth of tumors. In certain mast cell tumors, Palladia can “turn off” the abnormal protein signal (c-kit) that often plays a role in their growth and development. Interestingly, the drug has also been shown to reduce/slow the growth of other types of cancer by decreasing a tumors blood supply (by inhibiting both VEGFR and PDGFR) and limiting its nutrients.

Look Out Mast Cell Cancer, Here Comes STELFONTA

canine mast cell cancer STELFONTA
Visit the STELFONTA web page to learn more.

Today, we are thrilled to announce there’s a new non-surgical Mast Cell Cancer therapy for dogs: Stelfonta. That’s right: NO SURGERY is required to kill non-metastatic Mast Cell Cancer tumors in dogs! Treatment is given with a needle injection, usually without anesthesia. STELFONTA shrinks, and dissolves the tumor in a matter of days. It is derived from berries of the Australian native blushwood plant (Fontainea picrosperma). The anti-cancer properties of blushwood berries have been known for many years. Now, the FDA agrees.

According to Veterinary Practice News,

For both the animal and its owner, it’s a pathway to preserving a better quality of life, particularly since a single treatment is sufficient to destroy the tumour completely in 75 percent of observed cases. — Virbac launches STELFONTA, a ground-breaking new treatment for canine mast cell tumours (MCTs)

Since we aren’t veterinary oncologists, we’ll leave it up to the amazing Dr. Sue Ettinger to discuss:

Why STELFONTA for canine Mast Cell Cancer is so exciting


What you need to know about STELFONTA for Mast Cell Cancer in dogs

And how the treatment helped Dr. Sue’s first STELFONTA patient be done with Mast Cell Cancer!

Leave no doubt about it, cancer in dogs sucks. But this is an exciting time for veterinary oncology breakthroughs! Ask your vet about STELFONTA for your best friend. If you try the treatment, let us know how it worked in the comments below.

Recommended Reading

STELFONTA Success Stories

12 thoughts on “A Canine Mast Cell Cancer Treatment Breakthrough!”

  1. My wonderful pitt mix has been diagnosed with a Mast Cell Tumor. It is relatively small at this time, but the vet is wanting to surgically remove the mass. It is on her back leg and does not seem to be bothering her at this time. She has had been diagnosed with allergies and she takes a medication from the vet daily. I am in the Clearwater Florida area and am wondering if any vets in my area have been using the Stelfonta for the tumors.

  2. My 13 y/o lab Lucy has a mass at the base of her tail. We have her on Benadryl and waiting on stelfonta. She was very active a day before we took her in after regurgitating her dinner. What should we be thinking about. Her appetite is way down and we have her also on Cerenia. Thank you.

  3. Our 13 y.o. jack Russell Has 3 soft palpable masses about the size of marbles one under the chin one by her front leg, and one on her side. She has been having seizures that are of the grand mal variety. Very odd that we took our dog to a vet in oregon and the doctor did not make ANY. remarks about the 3 masses, She had been coughing and trying to cough something up non productive. Any thoughts? My wife thinks we should put her down.

    • Hi there. I’m so sorry to hear about your pup. JRTs can live a long, long time past age 13. Our thoughts: get an opinion from a board-certified veterinary oncologist ASAP. They are the best way to get answers to help your sweet doggie. Lots of love to you both.

  4. Dr. Sue,

    Thank you for this very helpful VLOG on Mast Cell tumors. I just received the diagnosis of a grade 3 neoplasm in our 13 y/o female Doberman who has an approximately 6-7 cm subcutaneous mass in the peri anal region. The mass was originally fluctuant and soft and then over a three week period became enlarged and more firm. We live in NM and will consult with an oncologist, but she has not been worked up yet for mets and our general vet was not optimistic regarding anything but palliative therapy with Cimetidine and/or steroids and suggested no surgery or chemo. I hate to make our wonderful Phoebe suffer, but on the other hand would think that a negative u/s or ct of the abdomen/pelvis might give us some hope for a decent theraputic result. She seems asymptomatic in terms of any general malaise or other signs of metastatic disease at this time. The path was from CSU and suspect it is accurate. Not sure I recall the mitotic index from my brief conversation with our local vet. We are very sad.

  5. Hi! My name is Joseph from South Carolina. My Pitt-bull named Shelby has a very large Mast Tumor behind her nose about the size of a golfball. Vet recommended radiation and chemo treatment. As a cancer remitted patient myself, I refused to put her through this. I learned of the Stelfonta treatment and I am literally in tears as I hope and pray that this can actually work. My Vet has not heard of this treatment and still recommends traditional treatments. Are you aware of any SC Vets offering this treatment?

    • Hi Joseph. I’m sorry to hear about Shelby. From what I know about Stelfonta, it may not be an appropriate treatment for a tumor in that location. But, I encourage you to see the Stelfonta website and contact them to find out where you can learn more directly from a veterinary oncologist or general practitioner using the treatment.

      Also, please keep in mind that cancer therapy for pets is drastically different than it is for humans. When it comes to pets, the focus is on quality of life, always. They do not receive the huge treatment doses that humans do. If your vet is not an oncologist, I encourage you to speak with one.

      Best wishes to you and Shelby for many happy memories ahead.

  6. Are there any Vets in southern California using Stelfonta? We are in San Diego. Our dogs MCT has returned after surgical procedure 6 months ago.


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