Ask a Dog Vet and Get Answers to Your Dog Veterinary Questions
Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.
She is gorgeous, very soulful eyes!
When was your girl last in heat?
Has she had normal heats or are they irregular?
Is there any sort of discharge from that nipple?
How old is Honey?
I am seeing an irregular, somewhat lobular in appearance swelling surrounding the most caudal nipple of her mammary chain.
Possible causes of a lump in this location are a mammary tumor, mastitis (mammary gland infection) if she has had a recent heat cycle, or a lymph node that is enlarged.If she is not spayed and had a recent heat cycle and the lump came up quickly and is hot and painful then mastitis or a mammary gland infection is possible.But a mammary tumor or an enlarged lymph node are possible as well. Enlarged lymph nodes can be secondary to infection or a lymphatic system cancer called lymphoma.In dogs mammary cancer incidence is much higher in unspayed dogs. Dogs spayed before their first heat very rarely get mammary tumors. 50% of mammary tumors are benign and removal is curative in dogs. But 50% are malignant and those invade into deep tissues and spread to local lymph nodes, and distant sites including the lungs and liver.
I understand that the swelling seemed relatively benign in nature at her exam a few days ago. And it is true that mammary tissue does swell in response to hormone changes with a heat cycle. But that should result in symmetrical enlargement of her mammary chain. It should NOT involve just one area. When we see one area swell we do need to consider an infection (mastitis) or cancer. Because she does not have any discharge, and she is not in heat mastitis seems much less likely.
Ideally she would be re-examined soon and if this is a tumor it should be removed before the tumor has a chance to spread.My recommendation would be to have Honey see her veterinarian to have this lump checked as soon as possible.In the meantime don't use a warm compress on this painful swelling. You can apply used tea bags soaked in cool water or cabbage leaves soaked in cool water as a poultice to reduce any inflammation. That should help her be a little more comfortable until you have her examined.Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions.
Most dogs with cancer feel great otherwise in the initial stages. Until it spreads and affects organ function or oxygen exchange if it spreads to the lungs we rarely see other signs that they are ill.
If your regular veterinarian or treatment for her possible mammary cancer is beyond your means financially now your other option is to contact your local shelter or humane society and see if they run a low cost clinic or know of one in your area.
If not here is a web-page that lists some that may be able to help:
Other sources of help can be found here: http://speakingforspot.com/?p=Financial%20Assistance%20for%20Veterinary%20Care
Since she already saw her veterinarian and the mass was noted on her exam then you won't likely be able to get this covered under a new insurance policy. They will ask to see her records before covering treatment and will deny the claim based upon that.
Also since this seems to be growing quickly the sooner it is addressed the better.
Yes, there are low cost clinics, and funds to help people with financial constraints deal with the costs of cancer. It may take some work to find help, but hopefully you can connect with one.
I don't recommend CBD oil in dogs. There is concern about overdosing in small dogs and really at this point she isn't painful or uncomfortable unless it is being bothered with. An anti-inflammatory might be helpful. Post surgery there are really good drugs we can use for pain.
You stated "I asked about it here a few days ago and the vet said it didn't look cancerous and it could be due to her getting ready to go into heat although she has no swelling in her private area yet"
Did you mean that you asked a veterinarian on JUSTANSWER?
If so then you might be able to get her insurance and have it covered.
Because it isn't yet noted in her record.
If that's the case you can certainly try.
I understand now. So apply immediately for insurance, then have her seen as soon as that allows.
I think it isn't ideal, but with your financial constraints it will allow you to get her treated as best she can be, and that is very important too.
Mammary cancer is expensive to treat. Ideally she should be spayed if this is cancerous. And she may need chemotherapy. So in the big scheme of things waiting 2 weeks may be worth it.
No there really isn't anything you can do at home to change the course if this is cancerous. You can use the green tea bag poultice to keep inflammation down.
I understand, so if indeed she has pre-existing kidney disease THAT part would not be covered and they may deny part of the claim.
If she wasn't tested further and found to have normal kidney function then that would be an issue with her getting things fully covered.
If this is highly malignant then yes, we could see spread in 2 weeks. We just don't know what we are dealing with. Of course if it is best to have her treated as fast as possible. But if you cannot afford that treatment ($500 won't be nearly enough) then having her go in now isn't productive either.