Mast Cells And Brooke

It’s time again for Give Cancer The Paw blog hop.


Thanks to our hostess’s Pooch Smooches and Peggy’s Pet Place for this great blog hop!

Brooke’s story……

Way back in July of 98 John and I picked up our first Chesapeake puppy that we were owning together. Brooke was born 5/8/98. We wanted a male but couldn’t find a breeder that had a litter with a male so we went with getting a female and named her Brooke. She didn’t come from someone I would necessary call a breeder, this was his first litter and us being young really didn’t know what we were looking for. Even know I was a Veterinary Technician and I checked that OFA’s were done on the hips but other than that I really didn’t check things out, didn’t know how to read pedigree’s, they didn’t have the health clearance’s then that we have now so that was limited. Brooke came with a birthmark, her momma had bit the tip of her ear off so we would always know which puppy was Brooke.

Lovely puppy Brooke.

Lovely puppy Brooke.

Brooke did a great job hunting her first year.

Brooke did a great job hunting her first year.

After her first year things went downhill. We never did any formal training with her and let her Chesapeake natural retrieving skill do the job. She hunted her first year then she put the breaks on and wouldn’t pick up another bird after that. She became aggressive as she got older, she was going to be our first breeding Chesapeake but with the aggression issues and then failing OFA hips we had her spayed. She was a great companion and guard dog for us but too many people couldn’t take care of her.

Brooke and Norman.

Brooke and Norman.

When Brooke was 6 years old and still having aggression issues my Grandpa died so that left my Grandma living alone out in the country by herself. We lived 3 miles from her but it wasn’t right next door and she was afraid to be by herself. She had a couple occasions when creepy people came knocking at her door so after that she asked me if she could “borrow” Brooke for a few days. I took Brooke over and had a talk with Grandma what she could and couldn’t do with Brooke if she wanted to keep her fingers. I was a little leary leaving Brooke there but that soon ended as Grandma and Brooke hit it off. For the next 4 years Brooke kept the strangers away, slept on Grandma’s bed and made her feel safe. It was a match made in heaven and I was so pleased at how this relationship went so well. I do have to mention that Grandma was a farm girl and never had dogs in the house nor did any vet care except Rabies vaccinations. So when Brooke was diagnosed at age 8.5 yrs with having Mast Cell tumors I really didn’t think Grandma was going to do anything but I was surprised and she wanted to treat her and keep her around for as long as possible as she made her feel safe.



What started out as one small lump on Brooke’s side developed into many lumps. A lump appeared on Brooke’s side, no big deal right? They get lumps and bumps and some are adenoma’s, some are fatty lumps, some are much worse. I gave the lump a couple weeks to see what was going to happen with it, if it was going to grow, if it was going to shrink, if it was going to change in anyway to give me a idea what it was. It grew and then it became ulcerated so I knew I had to get it checked out. I took her to work with me and we did a FNA (fine needle aspirate) on it. Looking at the cells under the microscope I could tell right away it was a Mast Cell tumor. Brooke then had surgery to remove the lump, while she was under we noticed some red plaque like structures on her abdomen, we took a biopsy of one to see what that was (turned out to be more mast cells). We sent the lumps to the pathologist to confirm what we already knew and to have them stage it.

Staging the Mast Cell Tumor

In order for a rational therapeutic plan to be devised, the extent of tumor spread (or stage of the tumor) must be determined. The World Health Organization has determined a clinical staging system based on the body areas affected by the tumor. Between the stage and the grade, a plan can be devised. The tumor is staged 0 through IV as described below:

  • Stage 0: one tumor but incompletely excised from the skin.
  • Stage I: one tumor confined to the skin with no regional lymph node involvement.
  • Stage II: one tumor confined to the skin but with regional lymph node involvement present.
  • Stage III: many tumors or large deeply infiltrating tumors, with or without lymph node involvement.
  • Stage IV: any tumor with distant spread evident. This stage is further divided into substage A (no clinical signs of illness) and substage B (with clinical signs of illness). In order to determine the tumor stage some probing of other lymphoid organs must be performed.

When you do surgery on Mast Cells you need to have a wide margin around the tumor to get it all. Any cells left behind will regrow and need to have surgery done on them again to get it all. Stage I & II are usually curative with complete excision. Stage III  and IV not so much.



After we removed the Mast Cells, she did have more occur. The more that occurred the worse they got. It was time to make a decision on what we were going to do. Grandma wanted to do everything she could for her so we started chemotherapy. Brooke had 6 months of chemo. She did excellent with chemo. Brooke was good for awhile then the tumors came back with a vengeance, they were bigger and she had multiple ones that would become necrotic and break open there were so many and so large surgery wasn’t a option anymore. We did chemo again and after chemo the tumors would shrink up until they would fester again and break open. My doctor said that Brooke was the worse case of Mast Cell tumors that she has ever seen. Grandma wasn’t ready to put Brooke down yet so we continued chemo to shrink the tumors. Brooke never knew anything was wrong.  We managed to keep Brooke going for 1.5 yrs when the tumors spread to her internal organs and she passed away in her sleep one night. She was 10 yrs old when she passed.

Mast Cells are nasty tumors, they start out small and people aren’t concerned with them because they look so innocent but they aren’t. Mast Cells need to be removed immediately and they need to be sent into the pathologist to find out just what you are dealing with. If more come up they need to be removed also. If you have a tumor that comes and goes it could be a Mast Cell. They release histamine and swell up and then the histamine goes away so the tumor shrinks so if you have a lump that comes and goes have it checked out. If you have a small red lump you should have it check out, you should have all lumps checked out to be on the safe side.




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Nothing But Norman #1

Happy Saturday everyone!

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Norman is doing really well, he is happy, tail wagging all the time. This week we were able to take another trip to the lake where he had loads of fun and of course I got many pictures so I can have a picture of him once a week for many years to come.


Have a great weekend!

Thanks to a couple of blogging friends I am going to be adding Nothing But Norman to:

Pet Bloggers Blog Hop

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Welcome to the new and improved Pet Bloggers Blog Hop the Original and longest running pet blog hop going strong since April 2010! This is is a weekly event to help you connect with other Pet Bloggers. Whether you are a seasoned blogger, one who loves reading pet blogs, or if you’re just thinking about starting your own blog – there is definitely something here for you. Acquaint yourself and enjoy – this is your resource, so use it as you see fit!

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You only need to add your link once to be seen on all the Pet Blogger Blog Hop Linky Tools for that week. If your blog is not pet related your link will be removed. Also note that only one post per blog is acceptable, and links promoting giveaways that are unrelated to the pet blogger hop will be removed. This is a weekly community building event and not a promotional vehicle.

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Grab the NEW “Pet Bloggers Blog Hop” button and include it in your Saturday Blog hop post so that your readers will know what is going on.

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Follow your co-hosts Of the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop listed in the first 3 slots of the Linky Tool.
Follow as many other blogs on the Linky as you’d like.
Following could mean via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, their daily newsletter, or any other place they happen to be interacting on the web.
Take a moment to comment on the other blogs that are linking for the Pet Bloggers Blog Hop telling them you’re visiting from the blog hop.
Make friends learn new things watch awesome animal videos and grow your blog.

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This ‘N That Thursday


Today we are joining 2 Brown Dawgs for their This ‘N That Thursday’s blog hop!

This is what she has to say about the hop,

A little of this and a little of that and everything in between…

“This ‘N That Thursday is for anything you want!  Maybe you want to post about unrelated topics, or each topic isn’t quite long enough to make up a whole post, or you have awards to share, or you have one long post…anything goes!  So grab the button and join the hop!”

I was going to wait until Norman passed to start a day of remembrance for him by posting up a picture of him once a week and dedicate that day to my soulmate. After some thinking about it I decided why wait, I need to start his day this week. I have been taking pictures of him and plan on taking as many as I can while he is still with us so I might be able to dedicate a day a week to him for many years to come. After talking to a blog friend when I was feeling low and tossing around what I was going to call his day she came up with “Nothing But Norman”. I love it so a big thanks and hugs go out to Jodi at Heart Like A Dog for coming up with the name of  Norman’s day. The name may change one day but for now it will stay. Here is the picture I came up with for the badge of his day. This picture was taken when he was at our trainers many moons ago (I believe back in 2003) I wanted a picture for his stud dog ad and this is what I got. This picture is on the door of my truck advertising Sand Spring and it was also picked as the breed profile picture of a Chesapeake on the Westminster Kennel Club website.  If I knew how to make a badge I would make a badge. Maybe one of you other clever bloggers could let me know how to make a badge. A big thank you also goes out to Linda at 2browndawgs for resizing it for me so it can be placed on my sidebar and still be able to read the writing on it. I thank both you gals for being so willing to help me out when I have blog questions.

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Whatcha think? Norman’s day will be Saturday’s since I’m not doing a blog hop on Saturday and Saturdays were when we would most likely go hunting, training with our friends or went to hunt tests.

I dedicate Saturday’s to “Nothing But Norman”

You all know that Norman was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma on June 5th. This past week a fellow chessie owner contacted me because another blogger and friend Tina at Misty Shores Chesapeakes gave her my link to the post I wrote about Norman having Osteosarcoma. Paulette over at Cape Cod Browndogs found out last week that her 11.5 year old female Chessy named Scout has Osteosarcoma also. She started a blog to write about her girl so she will have a remembrance of their time together until the end. I am glad she started a blog as I think it will be very therapeutic for her. I know writing about Norman and showing off his pictures to my blog friends has really helped me cope with what I am going through. If you have a moment hop on over and say hi and let her know you are there for her and Scout.

 Another Award


Leah and Kirby over at Kirbysdawgblog so graciously gave me another award. I can’t thank them enough, what a really cool award.  I’m sure I am really far away from 50,000 hits but it’s very cool nonetheless. One day, one day baby I will be there.

The MY FAVOURITE THINGS AWARD was created by yours truly to celebrate a milestone of mine. That milestone would be fifty thousand hits to my blog. That’s right… fifty thousand big ones! Yoo-hoo! YOO-HOO!!!

The rules to accepting this award are to thank the Blogger for Giving you this award and give a link to their blog, Post the award on to your blog, Name 6 of your favorite things, and finally pass it on to as many Bloggers as you want.
So here are my 6 favorite things:

1. Hugging Norman, Nellie, Gambler & Glory

2. Hunting with Norman, Nellie, Gambler & Glory

3. Taking pictures of Norman, Nellie, Gambler & Glory

4. Writing about Norman, Nellie, Gambler & Glory

5. Friday night fish fry’s in WI

6. Sunday night suppers with my brother’s family

I would like to pass this award on to these lovely bloggers:






And a little of that:


MK thinks she is a dog and loves to play with their favorite little pheasant toy. This toy is as big as MK and she picks it up and carries it around. You can’t tell from this picture how big it is but it is big.


See how big the toy is now?


You best stay away from that trap little kitty. MK is giving that trap some of her own jaw action!

So that wraps it up for today, why don’t you hop on over to 2 Brown Dawgs see what their up to and grab the badge and join the hopping fun!

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Wordless Wednesday ~Keep Pet’s Cool

July is Blogpaws Pet Safety Month so make sure during the warm/hot weather to keep your pet’s cool and have lots of fresh water available to them.


Pet Safety

Wordless Wednesday ~Norman Update

Ok so today has a couple of words as I want all my blog friends to know how well Norman is doing since his osteosarcoma diagnosis June 5th. He is doing so well I can’t believe it. He is only on Rimadyl for pain relief and he has a small, small limp. He is happy and even gets rowdy at times. We went to the lake last week for a swim and he loved it! I hope we have many more months like this.


Wordless Wednesday is a community linkup of bloggers. Visit our host, BlogPaws, and you can use the icons below the post to hop from site to site. It is a great way to discover new blogs…..or even just a convenient way to find all of your favorites in one place. When you visit each site, be sure to leave a comment and let them know you found them through Wordless Wednesday.


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