The Symptoms & Treatment of Breast (Mammary) Cancer in Dogs
This article will discuss the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of mammary cancer in dogs.
Symptoms & Diagnosis of Dog Breast Cancer
- Mammary tumors can appear as a single mass or as multiple pustules.
- They tend to be very hard and rigid.
- They can grow very rapidly, doubling in size over the course of a month.
Dogs have five mammary glands on the underside of the abdomen. Malignancies are usually indicated by rapid growth, irregular shapes, firm attachment to the underlying skin, bleeding and ulceration. It is impossible to definitely determine the type without a biopsy or tumor removal for analysis.
Dog Mammary Cancer Treatment & Prognosis
Unless the patient is very old, or not physically able to withstand it, the initial recommended treatment is surgical removal. If detection is early and the tumor is contained and promptly excised, the cancer can be totally eliminated in 50% of malignancy cases.
- Chemotherapy may be suggested following surgery to decrease the risk of recurrence.
- On its own, chemotherapy has been shown to result in complete or partial remissions in only a few isolated cases.
- Radiation therapy may be suggested for local control of inoperable mammary cancers.
A downside of radiation therapy is that it is not completely effective in larger tumors. Cancer cells at the center of the mass will often survive, opening the door for recurrence at a later date. Because of this, veterinary oncologists will often use radiation therapy in conjunction with surgery and/or chemotherapy in an attempt to target residual cells.
As a loving dog owner, it is important you know and understand canine cancer because all dogs have a 1 in 2 chance of developing it.
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