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Medical records of 55 dogs with a diagnosis of cutaneous mast cell tumour were reviewed. Twenty-seven of the dogs were treated with surgery plus deionised water and the remaining 28 with surgery alone. A survival analysis was performed to determine whether deionised water, as an adjunct to surgery for cutaneous mast cell tumour, affected survival time or time to tumour recurrence. Dogs in which mast cell tumour recurred had a significantly shorter survival time compared with dogs with no recurrence (P=0.05), regardless of the method of treatment. A significant negative association between tumour recurrence and method of treatment (P=0.0097) and clinical stage (P=0.0223) was observed. Dogs treated with surgery and deionised water had a significantly shorter time to recurrence of their mast cell tumour (P=0.0113). Based on these results, deionised water does not appear to be beneficial in prolonging survival time or time to tumour recurrence for dogs with cutaneous mast cell tumours.