Hello I am Dr. Joey. Thanks for trusting me to help you and your pet today. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 15 years of experience. I look forward to working with you.
If she has no other health problems, then I see no reason she would not survive the surgery. However, breast cancer (mammary neoplasia) is complex. In dogs about 50 to 60% of these tumors are metastatic cancer, and by the time we find it, it might have moved around in the body. This means before surgery is recommended we would want to know if she already has evidence of spread of the tumor. This involves some testing that might include lab work (CBC, chemistry profile, urine check and thyroid screen) and X-rays of her chest (reviewed by a radiologist) and aspiration of the regional lymph node(s). I would also advocate prior to surgery to have a needle aspiration of the mass performed and submitted to a pathologist to know exactly what kind of tumor we are contending with. Maybe this is not a tumor. Maybe it is something else. It might not be mammary cancer. This helps us to be able to know what kind of surgery should be done, and what sort of long-term outlook to provide for you.
Mammary cancer can be painful if left untreated as it enlarges, most especially if the tumor becomes infected or ulcerated. It takes a long time for the disease to progress to true metastatic cancer and it is this that is more likely to cause her issues than the tumor, itself. Metatstic cancer can affect her ability to breathe when it moves into her lungs, potentially cause bone problems (pain, possible fractures) as it moves into the bones, and she could become anemia or have other systemic problems like hypercalcemia (which can lead to secondary kidney failure). So, we more often lose our patients to the consequences of the spread of cancer rather than the primary tumor. That is not a reason NOT to do surgery. If we are able to remove a cancerous mass at the primary site before it spreads in the body, then this is our ideal scenario.
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