According to one recent survey, Breast Cancer is the leading cause of death in dogs. Most of the dogs are over the age of ten. Most of the cancer cases are curable if diagnosed at an early stage. Nowadays, cancers are extremely prevalent in canines. Above fifty percent of dogs over the age of ten develop cancer at some point in time. Some prevalent cancers are Lymphoma, Soft Tissue Sarcomas, and Breast Cancers (cancer of the Mammary glands).
The mammary gland in canines produces milk to feed the newborn puppies. These glands are located at a fixed place that extends from the chest to the lower end of the abdominal area. The number of nipples indicates the exact location of the glands. This condition rarely affects male dogs. When a male dog suffers from breast cancer, the entire course of the condition is much more grave in nature.This condition can also be genetic, as there are some specific genes which act as a catalyst in developing breast cancers in canines.
Breast cancers are tumorous, which happen due to swelling, masses, and or growth of neoplasms. Breast cancers in their malignant form, are extremely progressive and worsen every day. Without treatment, it will eventually result in the dog’s death. They invade various other organs and quickly affect the other body parts. Breast cancers in their benign form are precisely the opposite of the malignant type.
1.Usually slowly-developing multiple or single masses in the mammary gland.
2.Cursory loss of tissue on the surface of the mammary gland with persistent inflammation.
3.Mass can become extremely mobile.
4.It can become fixed with the skin or the body wall.
About fifty percent of the dogs may suffer from the benign form of the disease. This is classified as pure adenomas, duct papillomas, and fibroadenomas. The other fifty percent of the dogs suffer from the malignant form of the disease and is classified as fibrosarcomas, papillary cystic adenocarcinomas and solid carcinomas among others.
These symptoms mentioned above can account for several other conditions. Hence, the Vet has to confirm first that these signs are indicating to cancer. The owner needs to submit the health history of the dog. The vet will conduct tests like Complete blood profile, chemical blood profile, complete blood count, and a urinalysis. Diagnostics will include exams like X-rays of the chest, with a biopsy of the mass to understand its nature.
Surgery is the best solution as the tumors need to be removed. Depending on the age of the animal and the type of the condition, the vet surgeon may only remove the tumor or all the tumor at once along with the surrounding tissues. Some tumors are extremely invasive and are challenging to remove. In this case, a part of the cancerous mass can be removed. Chemotherapy is also an option, but the Vets usually does not conduct chemotherapy sessions for breast cancer.
Spaying intact bitches during a surgical session of the breast(s), is often a preference and increases the survival rate of the dog. Although this technique highly depends on the age of the dog. If it's an old dog, this method will not be beneficial to it. The vet may also consult a vet oncologist regarding the future treatment of the dog.
Early spaying is a good option. If spaying is delayed for the second heat, the dog becomes more prone to develop breast cancer in the future.