Mammary cancer in dogs is one of the most common forms of cancer on dogs. Dog breast cancer symptoms are a lump, swelling of the mammary gland or both. The canine tumors usually develop in the back breast. Fifty percent of canine breast tumors are malignant. Any hard lumps under the skin of your dog’s breast should be examined by your vet. One in four dogs will develop cancer each year. Early diagnosis and aggressive therapy of malignant dog breast tumors can prolong your dog’s life.
What causes breast cancer in dogs? The cause of breast cancer in dogs is unknown. Spaying your female dog before the first heat will help prevent canine breast cancer.
If your veterinarian thinks the lump is suspicious, he will recommend either a X-ray or a ultrasound of the chest and a biopsy of the lump.
If the lump is malignant, metastasis of the cancer to the lungs is common. If there is no evidence of metastasis, surgery is recommended.
The affected breast and the adjacent lymph nodes will be removed and examined for malignancy. The surgery may increase your dog’s life span, if it is malignant. It may also free the pain and additional treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Dogs with cancer that is advanced, may show signs of pain in the breast area, listlessness, lose of appetite, weight loss, lethargy or a wound that will not heal.
Some benign canine tumors in dogs can become malignant if they are not removed. Canine cancer is a very complex chronic disease that in many instances can be treated. Early diagnosis is the key to saving your dog’s life.