Mam­mary gland tu­mours in fe­male dogs

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - VET CORNER | FEATURE STORY - with Dr An­nette Kelleher VET­ERI­NAR­IAN

DOGS can de­velop mam­mary or breast tu­mours which can ei­ther be be­nign or ma­lig­nant. Be­nign tu­mours are gen­er­ally slower grow­ing and less likely to spread to other ar­eas of the body. Ma­lig­nant tu­mours tend to be faster grow­ing and can spread through the lym­phatic sys­tem to other ar­eas of the body. The tu­mours usu­ally af­fect older fe­male en­tire dogs - they are ex­tremely rare in bitches that have been de­sexed at a young age be­fore they have had an oestrus cy­cle. The statis­tics for devel­op­ing tu­mours have been found to be 0.5 per cent for bitches spayed be­fore the first oestrus cy­cle, 8.0 per cent for bitches spayed be­fore the sec­ond oestrus cy­cle, and 26 per cent for bitches spayed af­ter the sec­ond oestrus cy­cle. Once the bitch is over 2.5 years old, there is no ben­e­fit to be gained by spay­ing to pre­vent mam­mary tu­mours, al­though there are plenty of other rea­sons for spay­ing older fe­male dogs. The signs of mam­mary tu­mours can be sin­gle or mul­ti­ple masses that grow in the mam­mary tis­sue along the dogs ab­domen. The tu­mours can be­have in dif­fer­ent ways, they may be slow grow­ing but some­times they grow very quickly and can be­come ul­cer­ated. If you sus­pect your dog has mam­mary tu­mours it is im­por­tant to take them to the vet and have the lumps checked. Most mam­mary lumps can be sur­gi­cally re­moved. Surgery can be quite suc­cess­ful if the lumps are be­nign, how­ever if they are ma­lig­nant the dog may not do well long term. If the lumps are re­moved, they can be sent to the lab­o­ra­tory to find out what type of can­cer they are and whether they are likely to spread or not.

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