Mammary Tumors In Dogs: Treatment Options & Prognosis

Treatment for Mammary Tumors In Dogs

1. Surgical Removal of Tumor
This is the standard treatment for mammary tumors in dogs. The aim is to remove tumors completely with the simplest surgery.

Types of surgery
– Lumpectomy: removal of small, movable and benign tumors.
– Mammectomy: removal of large, localised tumors within a single mammary gland.

Lumpectomy and mammectomy are usually recommended for single mammary gland tumor.

– Mastectomy: removal of tumors, associated multiple mammary glands and lymph nodes.

2. Ovariohysterectomy (spaying)
The beneficial effect of ovariohysterectomy at the time of tumor resection is still debatable. While earlier studies found no effect, two recent studies demonstrated increase in survival time for dogs that had ovariohysterectomy at the same time as tumor removal.  Since hormones stimulate mammary gland tumor growth and progression, ovariohysterectomy should be highly considered at the same time as tumor removal surgery.

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3. Chemotherapy
The efficacy of chemotherapy as an adjuvant therapy for mammary cancer in dogs has not been determined. Nevertheless, it may be recommended for dogs with aggressive and metastatic mammary tumor or where tumor cannot be removed surgically.

Prognosis for Mammary Tumors In Dogs

1. Tumor size
Poor prognosis –> tumor size larger than 3 cm in diameter

2. Stage of tumor
Poor prognosis  –> the greater the stage of tumor, the lower is the median survival time.

3. Tumor type
Poor prognosis
– mammary gland sarcomas: average survival time 9-12 months
– inflammatory mammary gland tumors: average survival time 1-2 months

Inflammatory mammary gland tumors are highly aggressive and metastatic. Surgical removal is not recommended.

4. Tumor grade
High grade tumor are likely to recur or spread within 2 years of surgical removal.

5. Hormone receptors
Poor prognosis –> mammary tumors with negative estrogen and progestrone receptors.

6. Metastasis
Poor prognosis –> tumor that has spread to regional lymph nodes reduces survival time.

Other prognostic factors include age, degree of tumor differentiation, ulceration, timing of ovariohysterectomy and proliferative indice.

Mammary Tumors in Dogs: Prevention
Mammary tumors are very common tumors in female dogs and yet, can easily be prevented by spaying at early age. The risk of developing mammary tumors if spayed before first heat is 0.05%, between first and second heat is 8% and after second heat is 26%. Therefore, dogs spayed before the first heat almost has no likelihood of getting mammary cancer.

Be aware of breast cancer in dogs symptoms. If you notice a lump or mass in the mammary glands or other parts of the body, bring your dog to the vet immediately. 75% of mammary tumors in dogs can be successfully treated with surgery alone. Early detection and removal of tumors can save your dog’s life.

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