About 10 days ago I had a vet appointment. The main goal was to get Carmen's teeth done. She has a bit of weird bite so needs it adjusted every 6 months or so. I also get both horses a booster. And I had one other thing I wanted advice on, but more on that later.
First of all 'The Good':
The vet was very impressed with Carmen's body condition. She liked her weight and muscle. She said that Carmen's back was the best she's ever seen. Carmen's teeth needed a little work but is wasn't dire.
|Her weight is good even with all the green grass|
Now for 'The Bad':
Back in early summer I noticed a lump on Carmen's ear. She was mildly reactive to it and I assumed that it was a fly bite/sting or spider bite. But it never went away and I began to be curious. I took a photo of it to monitor it but it didn't really change. I decided to wait for the vet to come and ask her about it. In the meantime I also noticed another lump down by her muzzle.
Both of us thought the same thing and I'm sure many of you are as well- that it was melanomas. As a gray horse it would not be surprising at all. Both my vet and I like to have clear data so she decided to do a needle aspiration and send it off for analysis.
|The offending lump|
Now Carmen is drugged for her teeth floating. She is not a cheap drunk at all- she requires a larger than expected dose of tranquilizers and she metabolizes it quickly. My vet says that she's seen that a lot in Andalusians (I joke that the Spanish can really hold their liquor).
Carmen was not a fan of having a needle stuck in her ear lump and both the vet tech and I helped. My job was to scratch her favourite itchy spot to distract her. It didn't really work but the vet got some. She placed that on a slide and went back for another sample. Now the drugs are really wearing off and Carmen's decided that she's been very tolerant up to now but our quarter is up. The vet tech takes her head and the vet gets in position. This time I didn't rub her wither. I made myself really still and put my hands on her shoulder. I breathed really quietly while I thought 'I am here with you'. And with that, Carmen became totally still and didn't move while the vet took her sample. I don't know what made me do that but I swear she and I connected at that moment.
Back to the Bad:
I wanted to wait for the vet to call back before I wrote this post. I got that call today.
It turns out that it's not a melanoma at all. It's a mast cell tumour. Which are really rare for horses- estimates about 2-7%. Largely benign, they can be invasive.
We decided to remove them both and a date has been set for later in November (so the flies are gone). Unless it's starts to change and then it comes off sooner.
Panicking? Who me? I'm not panicking, you're panicking.
I am, of course, diving down the rabbit hole of research- sticking with science articles and not dr. google. I did request a research summary article from research gate. It asked me for my organization's name and I put in 'panicking owner of horse with mast cell tumour'. I'm sure that'll work. Right?
I am also, of course, imagining the worse case scenario. Because it's on her ear the vet can't really take good margins. If it comes back then we'd need to go the vet college.
|possibly enough to get me through|
If anyone has experience with a mast cell tumour in horses I'd appreciate some information. Unless it's bad, Just kidding. Sort of.
The soul eating part of my brain is telling me that of course this happens now that things are going so well. I know that life doesn't work like that. But still.