Kiwi’s Cancer Therapy Treatment

In December Kiwi had a mast cell tumor removed from the crevice of her front arm. She was a strong fighter throughout the surgery, even having to wear a donut around her head for almost 3 weeks after.  If we do not start radiation treatment ASAP, not only will we have to come up with another $4k to administer all the tests again we did in Feb, but we risk her cancer spreading and advancing to a more serious stage. 
27697300_1518479024.0995_funddescriptionKiwi went through a series of tests and ultrasound imaging to prepare for her treatment. She will have to do a 1- hour session, 5 days a week for 4 weeks, totaling about 20 sessions of radiation therapy. This will be very hard for her and also extremely costly.

27697300_1518479059.4626_funddescriptionThe treatment will run to be between $8k-$10k and since it will all happen within a month, the payment has to be completed within that time frame. I have some credit available to charge some of the expense, and I have pet insurance (but it caps out at $1000 for each diagnosis) and am completely maxed out after that which is why I am seeking any help. I will be throwing a series of fun event fundraisers as well to bring together friends and other dogs, where everyone can also meet Kiwi :)

After her surgery, biopsy results showed that the cancer cells were still present since they could not get a wide enough margin without amputating her leg (which they did not think was necessary and we did not want to do unless it was). The exact cause of this cancer is unknown. 

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This 7-pound nugget loves to be carried in your arms or in your bag, and will sit on your lap during any office work. She also likes to Netflix and chill (as in, cuddle in bed watching movies). 

27697300_1518480022.8872_funddescriptionFor those of you that have had the pleasure of meeting Kiwi, you know that she is a ray of sunshine that loves people, cuddling, running on the beach and on the grass, and playing (preferably with humans!).

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For more info on her diagnosis and treatment, you can continue reading:

Both normal and cancerous mast cells contain hundreds of chemical beads that can be released into the surrounding tissues. These beads contain irritating substances such as histamine, heparin, and other reactive chemicals and enzymes. When these chemicals, particularly histamine, are released by mast cell tumors into the normal body tissues, side effects can include digestive tract upset (including bleeding ulcers), skin rashes, shortness of breath, collapse and possibly death.


Kiwi’s treatment plan couldn’t be determined until after we discovered the extent of the cancer through a combination of tests known as staging. Staging includes examining microscopic samples of the organs where mast cell tumors commonly spread: local lymph nodes, the spleen, bone marrow, and other areas on the skin. Another factor that determines treatment for dogs with mast cell tumors is the examination of a solid section of the tumor under a microscope for grading. Grading can help us predict how likely a mast cell tumor is to recur or spread.

After the tumor removal surgery, a biopsy was performed and they confirmed that it was indeed a cancerous mast cell tumor and she is at Stage 2. Stage 2 can easily act like a Stage 1, but can also become Stage 3 and spread which we do not want to risk.

With surgery, a wide margin of normal-appearing skin must be removed from around and beneath the tumor to attempt to eliminate all of the cancer cells. Problems with healing at the suture line and re- growth of the cancer are likely to occur when cancer cells are left behind.

We have visited with a Veterinary Oncologist (Cancer Specialist) at the Vet Cancer Group who has prescribed 20 sessions of radiation therapy to kill the cancer cells. It uses a source of energy to kill cancer cells in a specific local area on the patient’s body so it’s much safer than Chemotherapy (last resort). Radiation is most effective when only microscopic amounts of a tumor are present. A series of 18-22 treatments is necessary for tumor control. The side effects and expense are usually greater with radiation than with surgery, but radiation can be performed in areas where further surgery is not possible or would be deforming.

How the money will be spent: 
Her medical estimate has been posted to the image gallery with costs for the radiation therapy and medical costs that go along with it. We have also already spent thousands on consultations and visits prior to her scheduled surgery.
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Organizer

Kat Matutina 
Organizer
Los Angeles, CA
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