Written by Jennifer Evans, DVM
There has been a lot of pink around town lately, promoting breast cancer awareness month, but did you know pets can get mammary cancer too? It is one of the most common types of cancer in female dogs, and female cats can also be affected. Mammary tumors can be benign or they can be malignant and spread, most commonly to lymph nodes and the lungs. Surgery to remove either a single mammary gland or the entire chain is the treatment of choice and sometimes chemotherapy can help.
The really awesome news is that this type of cancer is totally preventable!! Dogs that are spayed before they ever come into heat will never get mammary cancer. If they are spayed after their first heat cycle but before their second, the chance of them getting it decreases by 50%. After their second heat cycle, spaying them doesn ™t help prevent mammary cancer but it does prevent other life-threatening diseases including uterine infections. This is one of the reasons we strongly recommend spaying pups around 4 months of age, before they can come into heat. If you think you may want to breed your dog, have a discussion with your vet about the pros and cons. Whenever you decide you aren ™t going to breed her or you are done breeding her, please keep in mind it is in her best interests to be spayed.
We would love to talk to you about the benefits of spaying your dog!