As you may know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We likely all know someone affected by this disease, and unfortunately, our companion animals are affected too. Mammary Gland Neoplasia is something we see in our patients here at Sierra Veterinary Clinic, and it is the most common tumor in intact female dogs. Certain breeds at increased risk include Spaniels, Pointers, Poodles, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, and Yorkshire Terriers. One of the risk factors is related to the timing of when you spay your pet, so this is also a good reason to spay early. According to the Clinical Veterinary Advisor, intact females and females spayed after two years of age have a sevenfold greater risk of mammary neoplasia compared to those spayed before age 6 months.
Just like in people, surgery and/or chemotherapy are options for treatment, and prognosis depends on a wide range of variables. This year, one of our favorite Dachshunds, 7-year old Maddie, came to see Dr. Patterson to have a lump on her chest checked. When cytology of an aspirate came back suspicious of cancer, her mom scheduled surgery right away. During surgery, we actually found a second growth and both were sent for biopsy. Although the results confirmed that it was cancer, Maddie recovered extremely well from surgery and is still doing great today. Being aware of lumps and bumps on your pet is so important, and being proactive is key. So, be sure to check yourself, and your pets!