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German Shepherd with mammary tumors. We were told she was

not a candidate for surgical...
German Shepherd with mammary tumors. We were told she was not a candidate for surgical removal of the tumors because tumors were seen in her lungs.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Some lumps are serious and some aren't. Let's see what the Veterinarian has to say. What is the dog's name and age?
Customer: Tihana, age 7.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Tihana?
Customer: She is a rescue GSD, spayed. She had a superficial tumor removed from her cheek/neck area - non-cancerous - about 3 months ago. No problems in recovery. It was about this time that we noticed mammary nodules. Is eating, stooling normally. No change in energy level - is good.
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Answered in 10 minutes by:
10/30/2017
Sarah Snow
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 400
Experience: Veterinarian at The Vet Clinic East
Verified

Hello,

My name is***** and I can try to help you with Tihana. I'm sorry to hear about her mammary masses. Are the mammary tumors causing her discomfort? Any ulcerations or oozing?

The first place mammary cancer spreads is to the lungs, so when we see lesions in the lungs, we know that doing surgery to remove the masses isn't going to prevent the cancer from spreading. That is why your veterinarian said she wasn't a candidate. She may be a perfectly good candidate health wise for anesthesia, but we want to think of what our goal would be by doing surgery. Would we be helping her by removing the masses??? In general, the goal of removing mammary masses is to try and prevent the cancer from spreading. In her case, it sounds like the cancer has already spread, so there may not be any benefit to her by putting her through surgery.

The exception would be if they are painful to her, or ozzing, infected, etc. Then it may be worth doing surgery to provide her comfort.

There are chemotherapy protocols for mammary cancer that has spread to the chest if that would be something you are interested in. A consult with an oncologist would be the next step.

If thats not of interest to you, there are still palliative care options to help her. Sometimes, we use steroids to help with any symptoms from the lung lesions.

Please post back with further questions and how I can help further!

Dr. Snow

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
There is no oozing or ulcerations at present. The tumors don't seem to bother her most of the time, but she does not like her belly rubbed (previously a favorite activity). I think their presence do affect her balance a little as some of the tumors are quite large and firm... I sometimes wonder how she can walk at all with so many "rocks" in her gut. I do worry about rupture. She has had the cheek tumor and one of the mammary tumors analyzed, and they came back benign.

Ok, so that is good that they are not oozing, etc. If they are large, they absolutely could be causing her discomfort.

Did they surgically remove one of the mammary tumors to analyze it?

If there are lesions in the lungs, then it would seem one of the mammary tumors is not benign, or perhaps the lesions in the lungs are something else. Generally, if there are multiple lesions in the lungs, we think of cancer spread from somewhere else, or less commonly, a fungal infection.

They can get primary lung cancer, however, it is just more common to see one large mass in the lungs with this type of cancer. Either way, with lesions in the lungs, surgical removal of the mammary masses may not do much for her prognosis. If they are painful, then obviously removing them could help with her comfort level. Mammary mass removal is a pretty invasive, painful surgery in itself though, especially if the masses are large.

One thing to consider would be to have an ultrasound done of her lungs and then a sample taken from one of the lesions in her lungs to try and identify what is causing them, which will help guide treatment.

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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
The cheek/neck tumor was removed. The mammary tumor cells were extracted with a needle/syringe. I do wonder if the lung lesions could be something else, given that she had two different tumors. I did not see her CXR to assess its quality. Given the size of the mammary tumors could they be partially overriding the lung fields.... creating the appearance of lung tumors?
I, myself, am just sick. If there could be a dog soul mate.... she is it.

Ok, I understand. That is helpful to know. As long as multiple views were taken of the lungs, it should be easy to distinguish mammary masses from lung lesions. I would ask your vet to be sure!

The problem with extracting cells with a needle and syringe is that its such a small sample of a larger mass that sometimes we dont get truly diagnostic results.

The lung lesions are concerning either way though, as the prognosis is guarded for any type of lung lesions when we are dealing with possible cancer.

You could also ask your vet to send the x rays to a board certified radiologist for a second opinion,

Sarah Snow
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 400
Experience: Veterinarian at The Vet Clinic East
Verified
Sarah Snow and 87 other Dog Veterinary Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 1 month ago
Thank you for your time.

You're welcome. Please keep me updated!

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Hi,

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Sarah Snow
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Sarah Snow
Sarah Snow
Sarah Snow
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 400
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