Mastocytoma and Boston Terrier

All Boston terrier owners should be aware of the high incidence of this tumor in the race. No one knows exactly why they appear, but if there is a hereditary factor. It affects both females as males. There are old favorite,

This is a tumor that mainly affects the skin and subcutaneous tissue (which are just under the skin).

In veterinary medicine we know as "the great imitator", takes different clinical presentations: may seem like a minor bump that sometimes appears with bristly hairs circumscribed, often comes and goes (and thought we saw something that is no longer ... . and is again). Most of the time a tumor is solid and firm, often red and swollen, and on the same day changes color and returns to its previous size.

In most cases, hair loss affected area. Something very important is that as time progresses pica, the dog licks, scratches, appears red zone.

It may appear as an ulcer, even as a plate. Sometimes we think that it is a "lipoma" (benign tumor of fat) where there is actually a mastocytoma.

Importantly, it is difficult to differentiate from other skin lesions, tumor or not.

And most important: Do not wait to see what happens, to see if it grows. If a lump in the skin of our Boston must go as soon as possible to our vet, we help to put the problem early, we will guide treatment and prognosis.


Mastocytoma should always be considered as a tumor POTENTIALLY MALIGNANT TUMOR AS IS UNPREDICTABLE.

The good news is that you can diagnose with the simple act of using a fine needle aspirate and cytology do, some are diagnosed in the clinic, the most serious need of expert eye of a pathologist.

Smaller is better, the tumor is not only what we see, what is more encompassing than what you see, because they are invasive. We speak of a tumor whose treatment almost always passes by wide margins surgery, remove much around to make sure you do not leave bad cells. With very aggressive tumor behavior, doing things, sometimes, the results are disappointing.

SORT histological tumor grade, say that there are different degrees, the lower the better prognosis. The grade I tend to be the most common in this breed, in general, a good surgery usually eradicate the problem, (although there are peers who have experienced cases of grade I and aggressive behavior, but this is not common). Grade II mastocytomas are difficult to predict, the ideal always have a good biopsy pathologists therein indicate the parameters that give us information to treatment (a new specific medication and surgery) and subsequent monitoring of tumor. The grade III are always bad, with a high incidence of metastases, but there procedures that may be attempted. Normally it is recommended not directly operate and put medication or chemotherapy.

For residual cells in the surgical incision not despair, you can re-reoperation, if the area permits. And depending on the pathology report, we can sometimes use chemotherapy to prevent recurrence.

Today, fortunately, there is a wide range of drugs that could be used with minimal side effects or at least controllable.

PLEASE NOTE: the location of the tumor is very important, are worse in those emerging eyelids, scrotum, groin and preputial area, nail bed, vagina and vulva, some of these areas for the little room at the time of skin surgery.

There is a visceral way, but fortunately is rare.

Tumors that have long or that are more aggressive usually accompanied by gastrointestinal symptoms: vomiting and diarrhea, and hematochezia or melena.


Luisa Ojeda Cabrera
Veterinary experience in the Boston Terrier breed


Photos provided by Dr. Cabrera Ojeda

Photos property of Ms. Elena Martinez de Merlo, PhD from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Dpto.de Professor of Medicine and Surgery, Faculty of the UCM

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