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Dr. Joey
Dr. Joey, Board Certified
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 4723
Experience:  15 yrs in practice, specialist canine/feline medicine
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My 14 year old small dog has a big red lump and I think is

Customer Question

My 14 year old small dog has a big red lump and I think is breast cancers. Will she survive the surgery? If I don't do the surgery for my dog, will she be in pain?? Can she died at home??
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

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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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Please look at these pictures. What can I do help Princess?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She look uncomfortable but she is not in pain at this time.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Joey replied 2 years ago.

I apologize for the delay in response.

Thank you for the photos. This certainly looks suspicious to be a mammary mass, and it is one that I would recommend removal, but as I mentioned above I would try to find out what exactly it is BEFORE surgery. That way the surgeon knows how much margin to remove, or if the mammary gland should be removed. IF there are bumps/lumps in other mammary glands in the area, then perhaps a mastectomy (parial) is needed. I also would want to know if there is spread of tumor prior to surgery because if it has spread, then surgery may not be a good option at her age, unless we wanted to do it to debunk the tumor or get rid of some of the larger areas and make her comfortable (palliative only).