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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 24358
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 44 years of experience
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My sister has a dog that is eleven years old and appears to

Customer Question

My sister has a dog that is eleven years old and appears to have breast cancer (very large tumor on a couple of nipples near hind legs). The tumor has grown very rapidly irregular in shape and very hard. Now the dog is bleeding and appears to be in heat when she has not seen the dog in heat in years. Dog appears to be very uncomfortable panting crying and drinking a lot. Does this sound normal? I told her to take her to vet and she said she can't afford it.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about the dog?
Customer: Not sure...
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Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 8 months ago.

As dogs age, their heat cycles can become quite irregular. Silent heats are common are are likely to have occurred over the past few years but this particular heat is associated with enough estrogen hormone to cause the more common outward signs of heat - vulvar swelling and a bloody discharge indicative of proestrus - the stage prior to estrus (heat). Your sister's dog can still become pregnant and so she'll need to be sequestered in a manner in which male dogs can't find her.

Pyometra (infectious endometriosis) is a concern at this time as well. This life-threatening disorder arises 1-3 months after a heat period. The discharge from the open form (the cervix is open allowing uterine blood and/or pus to escape through the vagina) of pyometra may be apparent at this time. It's easy to differentiate the discharge of heat from pyometra but it will take a vet to do so. A simple vaginal cytology - examination of the vaginal cells microscopically - will do the trick. Polydipsia ("drinking a lot") is consistent with pyometra. I understand your sister's financial constraints but her dog not only suffers from a painful aggressive cancer but may now also suffer from a raging uterine infection. Her dog needs attention sooner than later.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.