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Dr. Altman
Dr. Altman, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 12051
Experience:  Practicing small animal veterinarian for 17 years.
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We have a poodle mix named Princess, who is a rescue. Shes

Customer Question

We have a poodle mix named Princess, who is a rescue. Shes been part if our family for 11 years and the vet estimates her age to be 14 to 15. She has an ulcerative nipple that is infected and he thinks its most likely breast cancer. We've been rinsing it with peroxide and saline and applying antibiotic ointment then placing gauze and a wrap over it. Doc doesn't see surgery as an option. Could you please let us know what to expect? We need to know when to end her life before she begins suffering. She eats well but sleeps alot.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

Welcome to Justanswer! I am Dr. Altman and happy to assist you both today!

I am so sorry to hear Princess has this mass! I do not like saying this but if you would like to consider surgery I would advise consulting with a veterinary soft tissue surgeon to see if you do have options for resection that perhaps your regular vet might not be comfortable with.

As far as when to know that she is suffering I will give you a few handouts to review that I have found very helpful. When dealing with mammary cancer often what you are experiencing is when we get concerned, the ulceration and bleeding of the mammary gland itself causes discomfort, it progresses and grows, she wants to lick and that repeats the cycle of infection and eventually does go off her food as a result.

A few points from what you describe:
- Please use oatmeal-based dog shampoo or ivory soap on the area for ten minutes twice daily to clean. Peroxide has been proven to delay wound healing
- Limit ointment only to a thin layer. Ointments tend to trap in moisture and the area that is infected can progressively worsen as a result so only a thin layer when used
- Try a t-shirt (children's if necessary) or dog t-shirt on her versus wrapping which also traps in the moisture. That way you can wash the shirts and rotate them daily to keep the area clean and dry and also limit her access to licking

Information about quality of life... Often we look at quality of life as whether they are still doing any of their favorite things, whether it be a favorite toy or treat, sitting with you while on the couch, barking at the neighbors to name a few and in her case eating well which is a great sign at this point. In addition, do they still have the "light" in their eyes, meaning are they still responsive to their environment and you or are they dull, listless, and fading away?

Quality of life assessment handout: http://www.peacefulpetdepartures.com/quality-of-life-assessment/

Pain assessment handout: http://www.csuanimalcancercenter.org/assets/files/csu_acute_pain_scale_canine.pdf

I know this is a terribly difficult decision to make and I hope this information is helpful. Some areas in the country do have hospice care that can help guide you in this decision making process. There is a list of options below for you to review:

http://csu-cvmbs.colostate.edu/vth/diagnostic-and-support/argus/pet-hospice/Pages/pet-hospice-resources.aspx

Please let me know anything I can do to assist you both in this difficult decision. Any questions or concerns I can assist with to clarify how to make this decision please don't hesitate to ask. I am online another 15 minutes this evening to assist you both...

If you have more questions or if I can help in any other way, please do not hesitate to ask! If you would like to accept my answer, please press RATE OUR CONVERSATION (I am not compensated in any other way). Bonuses are always welcome. Thank you

Expert:  Dr. Altman replied 1 year ago.

Please let me know if I can be of any further assistance to you both today!

If you are satisfied with our chat please rate or accept so I may be compensated for my time. Thank you!