Breast Cancer in Pets
Breast Cancer is common among dogs and cats alike - both female and male (the disease is much more rare in males). I'm going to tell you about symptoms, treatments, and prevention of Breast Cancer in your pets, so I hope this will save the life of an animal.
Breast Cancer is common among dogs and cats alike - both female and male (although the disease is much more rare in males than females). I'm going to tell you about symptoms, treatments, and prevention of Breast Cancer in your pets, so I hope this post will save the life of an animal.
I think the best things to talk about first are which animals are at risk, and the symptoms of the disease. This type of cancer is most commonly seen in middle-aged, unspayed, female dogs and female cats around 10-14 years of age. Occasionally, breast cancer is seen in puppies as young as 2 years of age. Your cat runs a 1 in 4,000 risk of being infected (this is about half the rate of dogs), and a female cat any age, can get cancer.
The symptoms you might see differ in dogs and cats, so I'm going to talk about each animal separately.
Tumors will appear as tough, firm nodules that can either be firmly attached to the skin and/or underlying muscle. In about 50% of all cases, the tumors show up in more than one mammary gland. The symptoms you should look out for include: pain, infection, possibly a fever, and swelling. Pay close attention to your cat and her behavior, if you see any of the above symptoms, contact your vet immediately!!
Tumors in dogs show up as either a solid mass or multiple swellings. The tumors are easy to detect - all you have to do is push gently (almost like massaging) on the mammary glands. At first, the tumors will feel very hard (almost like rocks) and will be located just under the skin. Once the tumor has shown up, its' growth can be incredibly rapid in a very short amount of time - it has the possibility of doubling its' size every month. Once again, if you see any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to call your vet!!
Now I would like to talk about the treatment your pet will undergo if she has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer. For dogs and cats, the most common treatment is the surgical removal of the tissue and surrounding mammary gland.Here is the good news: if this disease is caught early, the cancer can be totally eliminated with no lasting damage to your animal. Another option available to you is chemotherapy. This form of treatment has not been overly successful in dogs, and it is used in conjunction with surgery to increase the rate of survival in felines. No matter what treatment you choose, catching the disease early makes all the difference, make sure you are constantly aware of your pet's behavior and if you notice anything at all on her skin, CALL YOUR VET RIGHT AWAY!!
As you may already know (from a previous blog entry of mine), the best way to prevent Breast Cancer in your pet is to have her SPAYED!! Studies have shown that if you have your female dog spayed before she goes through her first heat, the chance of her getting Breast Cancer is .05%; if you wait until after her first heat, the risk increases slightly to 8%; and if you wait until after her second heat, the risk more than triples to 26 amp;. In cats, the same holds true: a cat spayed before her first heat holds the least risk, followed by a cat spayed after her first heat, and the greatest risk is for cats spayed after her second heat.
This disease is COMPLETELY PREVENTABLE! All you have to do is be a responsible pet owner and have her spayed!! With the help of pet owners around the world, this disease can be wiped out. When you get a pet, please make sure you do the right thing and have her spayed (or him neutered)! Not only will your pet's behavior be different and more manageable, you are greatly reducing their risk for diseases such as Breast Cancer!!