Mammary tumors in dogs originate in the mammary (or breast) glands and are a common finding in female dogs that are not spayed or spayed after 2 years of age.
Studies have shown the risk of breast cancer in female dogs that are spayed before their first heat or before 6 months of age, is almost eliminated at 0.5%. The risk, however, becomes much higher (over 26%) in female dogs that are not spayed or spayed after the age of 2.
Unfortunately, the exact cause of developing mammary tumors is not known but the contributing factors are believed to be hormones (estrogen or progesterone), obesity, & consuming high fat diets. (See Natural Cancer Cures below.)
Mammary tumors in dogs are the second most common tumors found in female dogs (skin tumors being the most common).
The mammary glands are associated with the nipples and extend from the chest to the groin on both sides. A dog normally has five pair of mammary glands, each with its own nipple. So it is therefore possible for mammary tumors to occur in all 10 of the glands. The most frequent occurrence of tumors found, however, are in the lower 2 pair of glands (located in the region of the abdomen and thigh).
note: Over 50% of female dogs diagnosed with mammary tumors will have more than one growth.
Benign vs Malignant Tumors:
Benign tumors are usually slow growing, small nodules in well-defined or limited areas, like a small pea. Malignant tumors, on the other hand, can be similar to benign tumors but usually become more aggressive, growing larger more rapidly, having irregular borders and firmly attaching to skin or underlying tissue, perhaps becoming ulcerated or inflamed.
About 50% of mammary tumors in dogs are found to be malignant and 50% benign.
When tumors do arise in the mammary tissue, they are usually easy to detect by gently palpating or feeling the mammary glands. On first appearance, they will feel like small pieces of pea gravel just under the skin. Since it is very difficult to determine the type of tumor based on just a physical inspection, a biopsy is performed.
By performing a biopsy (removal and analysis of cells and tissue), the type of tumor and how invasive it is can be identified so a treatment plan can be developed. With early detection and prompt treatment, even some of the more serious tumors can be successfully treated.
Treatment & Prevention
TREATMENT: Treatment for mammary tumors in dogs is surgical removal. Surgery involves removal of either the mass alone or the affected mammary gland. Benign tumors are cured by complete surgical resection, although the development of new mammary tumors in dogs (both benign and malignant) is still possible.
In advanced mammary cancers where metastasis has occurred surgery will not be curative but may still be an option to reduce the burden of the tumor and improve the dog's quality of life. Metastasis is when the cancer has spread from where it originated to other organs or parts of the body.
PREVENTION: There are few cancers that are as easily prevented as mammary cancer in dogs. The answer: Simply spay your female dog before her first heat. It is one of the best things pet owners can do to improve their dog's health and increase their lifespan.
Other factors that may reduce the incidence of mammary tumors in dogs and other cancer(s) in dogs include:
Feeding your dog a well-balanced diet. Your dogs diet is one of the things that you do have control over. Provide a natural diet with as many fresh, raw, whole foods as possible. and keeping your dog's weight down, thus avoiding obesity.
Give your pet antioxidants, Omega-3 (EPA an DHA), and other supplements to support immune function, decrease inflammation, and promote cellular health.
Offer only purified, filtered water as tap water contains chemicals, and other toxins.
Eliminate chemical toxins used in and around your home; choose non-toxic, green cleaning products and reduce your pet’s exposure to fertilizers & pesticides.
Do not smoke around pets. If you must smoke, go outside!
Do not over-vaccinate, and never vaccinate a sick animal.
Avoid chemical flea & tick products and use natural insect control products instead.
Reduce emotional stress for your pet and yourself with flower essences, massage, homeopathy, and other energy therapies.
Exercise and play with dog every day to help relieve stress and avoid obesity.
If you do find a growth or lump in the mammary tissue of your dog (male or female dog) inform your veterinarian immediately.
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Natural Cancer Care for Dogs
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