Did you know dogs and cats can get breast cancer? Mammary tumors are most common in female dogs, but can also, although rarely, affect male dogs and both genders of cats. Prevention is the best medicine for mammary tumors, but if that’s not an option there are some important things to note about the diagnosis and treatment of mammary tumors.
Prevention Relies on Spaying
The best way to prevent mammary tumors in your dog or cat is to spay them. Spaying before 6 months of age gives dogs a 99.5% chance to avoid mammary tumors. Spaying at a year old raises the risk to 8% (a 92% avoidance rate). Spaying at a year-and-a-half raises the risk to 26% or a 1-in-4 chance of tumor development. Cats that are spayed before 6 months are 7-times less likely to get mammary tumors than cats that are left unspayed. Spaying your cat later in life reduces their risk by up to 60%. For both dogs and cats, earlier is better.
Diagnosis Requires Testing
If you notice a suspicious mass, mammary secretion, swollen breasts, or anything unusual about any of your dog or cat’s breasts, you should bring your pet to your veterinarian for diagnosis. They will need to undergo testing to determine if they do in fact have any, whether they are benign or malignant, and what specific type of cancer is present. Tests that need to be performed include bloodwork, x-rays, an ultrasound, a possible CT scan, aspiration of the growth, and a possible biopsy.
Treatment is Surgical
If it is determined that your dog or cat has mammary tumors they will likely require surgery, though some tumors will not. The prognosis after surgery varies greatly for each fur-friend. Factors such as type of cancer, malignancy, presence of metastatic disease, and underlying conditions are only some of the variables that can affect the short and long-term prognosis of your companion.
Post-surgical monitoring is necessary if the tumor was malignant to check for recurrence and metastasis. Your pet should see its veterinarian every 3 months for the first year, and every 6 months afterward.
Trust Maryland Veterinary Surgical Services With Your Companion’s Health
Your companion’s health is important, and the team at MVSS is ready to provide the best care possible for your furry family. We are dedicated to combining comprehensive exams and assessments with informative and honest discussions of your companion’s care. Once we have worked with you to decide on the best course of action for your dog, our professionals will use their surgical expertise to work towards the goal of giving your companion an active and pain-free life. We are proud to serve loyal companions in Catonsville and Baltimore. To learn more about our services, give us a call at 410-788-4088 or visit us online. For more information and tips for pet health, follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.