As many of us know October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it’s important to realize that we humans aren’t the only ones affected by the disease. Here are some great facts about breast cancer in dogs and cats. Thanks to PurinaCare for the important, useful information.
Brest cancer in pets fact sheet:
Many people don’t realize that pets can also suffer from breast cancer. Mammary gland tumors are common in dogs and cats, especially those that aren’t spayed or were spayed late in age.
Mammary exams for pets are important and early detection is key. Once your dog or cat is five years old, perform a mammary exam monthly. Gently feel the tissue under and around each nipple, “rolling” the tissue between your fingers. If you feel even a tiny lump, bring your pet to the veterinarian.
• 25% (1 in 4) of un-spayed female dogs will get mammary cancer
• Most common in older female dogs
• Less than 50 percent of canine mammary tumors are malignant
• Spaying a dog before their first heat will reduce the chance of breast cancer to almost zero.
• Most “at-risk” breeds: poodle, Brittany spaniel, English setter, pointer, fox terrier, cocker spaniel, Boston terrier
• Diagnosis: affected area will be red, swollen, feverish, and painful to the touch
• Early detection/prompt treatment can successfully treat even serious tumors. Look for small, firm pea-sized lumps in the breast tissue.
• Surgical removal is the first treatment method and chemo is sometimes a secondary treatment, depending on the severity of the tumor
• Less common in cats than dogs, 1/4000 will have mammary cancer
• Early spaying is the best prevention and also if a cat has had kittens they’re less likely to get it
• Around 90 percent of feline mammary tumors are malignant
• Siamese cats and cats over the age of 10 are the most prone to mammary cancer
• Diagnosis: affected area will be painful to the touch, swollen, infected, and the cat may have a fever
• Surgical removal of the tumor and aggressive chemo is the recommended treatment, however mammary cancer is usually fatal in cats
The most important prevention measure a pet owner can take is spaying before the first heat. This can reduce the chance of breast cancer to nearly zero. That simple decision can save your precious pet’s life.