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Using CT Imaging to Identify the Draining Lymph Node in Dogs with Mast Cell Tumors


Mast cell tumors are the most common malignant skin tumors in dogs and surgery is the treatment of choice for addressing these tumors. These tumors can spread (metastasize) to other areas and drain into the surrounding lymph nodes. If a tumor has spread into the lymph node it may also spread to the spleen, liver, and bone marrow and additional diagnostic tests may need to be performed. Identification and surgical removal of a draining lymph node (the sentinel lymph node) is used for determining local metastasis and can impact prognosis and treatment recommendation. As every dog and tumor is different, it has been shown that the node closest to the tumor is not necessarily the sentinel node. The goal of this study is to utilize computed tomography (CT) to identify the sentinel lymph node prior to surgical removal.

ELIGIBILITY: Dogs with a confirmed cutaneous mast cell tumor who will have surgery performed at the Cornell University Hospital for Animals will be eligible.

COMPENSATION: The study pays for the CT scan of the tumor area and contrast agent used to identify the lymph node. The cost of the removal of the lymph node and histopathology of the lymph node and primary mass will also be covered by the study. Full staging to determine distant metastasis will be performed with either a CT scan of your dog's chest and abdomen or chest x-rays and abdominal ultrasound. Cost of staging is not covered by the study. Pre-operative costs to diagnose the mast cell tumor, as well as the surgical and recovery costs will not be covered by the study.

Principal Investigator: Galina Hayes, BVSc, MRCVS, PhD, DACVS, DACVECC 

CONTACT/SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT: For more information contact Dr. Hayes or Dr. Lapsley at 607.253.3060 or email the clinical trials coordinator at

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