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What is Mammary Gland Tumor?

Female dogs have ten teats. A mammary gland tumor is a growth in the area of any or several of the teats. It could appear as a hard or soft lump in the mammary gland area. At first, it will be covered with skin and hair. If advanced it could burst and look like an abscess . It is important for every owner of a female dog check out mammary area for lumps regularly since this is a frequently occurring cancer in canines. Mammary gland tumors and cancer is a very common issue in female canine. Early prevention commonly results in successful treatment efforts. Global elimination is possible, should non-breeding dogs and cats receive spay before their first head. If you find a growth or lump in the mammary tissue, schedule an veterinarian visit immediately, do not take a "wait and see" what happens stance.

Mammary Gland Tumor Average Cost

From 5 quotes ranging from $900 - $15,000

Average Cost

$5,500

Symptoms of Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

The symptoms of a mammary tumor is a solid mass or multiple swellings. The tumors are easy to detect by palpitating the mammary glands. An early tumor feels like small pieces of pea gravel. If you number a dog’s teats from 1-5, with 1 being the teat closest to the head and 5 being the teat closest to the tail. Mammary tumors occur most frequently occur near teats 4 and 5. The masses can be red, purple or fleshy in color and also can be rather soft, or hard. If you find bleeding or ulceration near the teats, it is an indication of advanced cancer and seeing the veterinarian becomes more urgent. Other signs of advanced cancer are loss of weight, appetite and lethargy.

Types

Mammary gland tumors can be benign or malignant. According to Rave Foster DVM, benign tumors are often small smooth and slow growing. He breaks down the types of benign tumors into these categories:

  • Complex adenomas
  • Fibroadenomas
  • Duct papillomas
  • Simple adenomas

Also, according to Rave Foster, DVM malignant tumors then to have irregular shape, firm attaching to the skin, and rapid growth. He broke down malignant masses into these types:

  • Tubular adenocarcinomas
  • Papillary adenocarcinomas
  • Papillary cystic adenocarcinomas
  • Solid carcinomas
  • Anaplastic carcinomas
  • Steosarcomas
  • Fibrosarcomas
  • Malignant mixed tumors
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Causes of Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

The causes of mammary cancer are as mysterious as the cause of most cancers in humans. Suspect are environmental concerns such as pesticides and cleaning agents, food with a lot of preservatives and additives. What is certain is that is hormonal involvement in mammary cancer. The incidence of mammary cancer in dogs spayed before their first heat is negligible (0.50%). The fewer heats a dog goes through before spaying, the less the chances this dog will develop mammary gland tumors.

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Diagnosis of Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

A biopsy is the only definitive way to diagnose mammary cancer in canines. The veterinarian will send a sample to a lab to determine whether the growth is benign or malignant. Other tests can be performed to see if the cancer has spread such as an x-ray or ultrasound. Most veterinarians also may recommend having blood work to check on the dogs general health. This is a typical procedure before any surgery.

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Treatment of Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

  1. The best and most used treatment for cancer is surgery. Veterinarians remove the tumor along with a large area of surrounding tissue. This is the procedure used for 2-3 tumors
  2. If there are more than 2-3 tumors, a veterinarian may recommend surgery to remove an entire chain of mammary gland (teats 1-5)
  3. Chemotherapy may be recommended if the lab determined as tumor is high grade, aggressive, very invasive and not able to be completely removed by surgery. However according to the Ohio State University Veterinarian Medical Center, there is no proven efficacy of chemotherapy for canine mammary tumors.
  4. Radiation therapy may be recommended for certain types of cancers but it is uncommon

The medical world is developing targeted treatment drugs for women. “Targeted” means that certain cells are very specifically targeted for destruction rather than a whole area of tissue. There is a good deal of research in veterinarian medicine to see whether these human therapies can be applied to dogs.

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Recovery of Mammary Gland Tumor in Dogs

After surgery, most dogs will come home with a cone to keep themselves from licking the surgical incision. It is always important for an owner to watch an incision. If swelling of the incision doesn’t go down or redness appears, it is important to return to the veterinarian. These could be an infection or other complication. Your veterinarian will set up a follow up appointment to change bandaging and check the incision. The veterinarian will have the dog fast before surgery and give instructions on when to introduce food and water after surgery. The dog will tell you when she is ready for more activity but it is important to keep her quiet the first 48 hours.

After surgery, it is important for the pet owner to keep checking the mammary glands for reoccurrence of tumors. If the tumors were caught early, it is less likely to re-occur. The worst prognosis is for dogs where the malignant cancer was advanced, involved lymph nodes or aggressive. The best advice for pet owners is to regularly check your pet over from top to bottom, from ears to paws, from teeth to tail, to check for reoccurrence.

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Mammary Gland Tumor Average Cost

From 5 quotes ranging from $900 - $15,000

Average Cost

$5,500

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Mammary Gland Tumor Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Pit Bull

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Three Months

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Lump On Teat #5

lump been there for 2 days it accurred 2 days ago i gave her an bath and used some speical flea shampoo and she licked some and then next morning this really big hard lump on teat #5 how to fix.?

July 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, This looks like a small hernia. If it is a hernia, intestines and other organs can sometimes come thru the opening. It would be best for your vet to look at this spot and they can give you an estimate on fixing it. Many times this can be done with the spay. I hope this gets better for you soon.

July 23, 2020

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Golden Retriever

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

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Firm Bump Where Nipple Is

Hard lump sitting right where her nipple is located

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs can get infections of the mammary glands, or tumors. If it is something that you have just noticed, and it is hard and on a nipple or in the memory area, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as you can. They will be able to examine the lump, take a sample if needed, and see if it is something that needs to be treated or if it is okay to monitor. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 19, 2020

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Golden Retriever

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Hard Lump Where Nipple Is

Hard lump kinda big where nipple is located

July 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Dogs can get infections of the mammary glands, or tumors. If it is something that you have just noticed, and it is hard and on a nipple or in the memory area, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as you can. They will be able to examine the lump, take a sample if needed, and see if it is something that needs to be treated or if it is okay to monitor. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 19, 2020

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Bria

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Pomeranian chiuauaha

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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Mild severity

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Yelp When Lifted

My 5 year old Pomeranian yelps a lot when picked up... I don’t notice any other symptoms, like changes in her appetite or energy level just really the yelping. It seems to be under her armpit/rib area. Could it be something serious or just the way we are picking her up?

Aug. 13, 2018

Bria's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

If there Bria is yelping each time you pick her up I would recommend having her checked by your Veterinarian as this may indicate in issue with the ventral chest, spine (flexes when picked up) or abdominal pain; without examining Bria myself I cannot say what the specific cause is but you should have your Veterinarian rule out any serious conditions. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 13, 2018

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GIGI

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Pomeranian

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6 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

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Mammary Tumor

I found out my dog has a mammary tumor. I'd like to ask is this common surgery for the vets? How long will the surgery be? Do I need to go to a specialist? How much of a risk did dog die during surgery?

July 23, 2018

GIGI's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

This is a relatively common surgery for a general Veterinarian and is normally done in practice, complicated cases with multiple tumours or other issues may require a Specialist. Surgery time would depend on whether the tumour is being removed, the whole mammary gland as well as lymph nodes or other structures. The risk of mortality during this surgery is no higher than a general spay or similar surgery. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 24, 2018

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MOLLY

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havenese

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15 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

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Lethargy - But Healing Well From Su
Lethargy - But Heaing Well From Su

I have a 15 yr old Havanese who waS SPAyed aT 3 MONTHS. I JUST NOTICED ONE DAY A DARK LUMPY MASS AB OUT THE SIZE OF A LARGE PEA IT WAS ALL BLACK AND TWO VETS THOUGHT IT WAs a melanoma. That teat and another one which had feathery margins but was 1/5 the size were removed together. The vet called to say biopssy sAYS MAMMARY Carcinoma. all her blood work normal - CXR clear of any masses, both tumors removed with wide cleAR MARGINS- IF THIS IS MALIGNANT WHAT TYPE OF CHEMO CAN BE GIVEN AND FOR HOW LONG. THE DOG HAS LOST A POUND OVER THE LAST YR AND SHE IS NOW 9.2 POUNDS.

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Pandora

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Rottweiler

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4 Years

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Fair severity

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Has Symptoms

Warm To Touch
Swelling Under Teat
Changes Size

My 5 year old Rottweiler has a avocado size lump under her last teat. It seems like it changes size. It is warm to the touch. No nipple discharge, ulceration or discoloration.

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Bombón

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Chihuahua

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12 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

None

I have 12-year-old chihuahua, she has some lumps in her chest and one right in one boob about a centimeter big. I've been reading about it and I learn that it could be a mammary tumor... I'm planning on taking her to the vet but I have to wait until I get the money. What could I do to control the growth of it and maybe to shrink it? Also, if it was to be a malignant tumor, what would be the best treatment considering her age? There hasn't been any changes in her mood, activity, nor appetite, so I guess (I hope) that's a good sign... I know that the best thing to do here is to go to our veterinarian but since right now it is not possible, I just want to know what to do until I can take her there... and knowing about this will just help me to calm down a little bit.

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Mamas

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Morkie

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4 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

No

My dog is a Morkie (Maltese and Yorkie Mix) I first found her first lump about the beginning of the year. It never grew or hurt her it moved around and everything. My vet didn’t know what it was but recommended to get it check out by getting it out. It’s been another heat cycle and her lumps have multiplied in multiple teats. Still she has no symptoms and no pain and still looks in good health. Is this something I should be worried about? I’m going to the vet again seeing if it’s bad or not I just need some advice on what to do and or expect.

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Mia

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Labrador Retriever

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5 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Lump

I've recently noticed my 5 year old black lab has a small pea sized lump beside one of her nipples. It's quite hard, flesh colored and there is no hair on it so it's fairly easy to spot. She was spayed before her first heat cycle and i'm just not sure if i should be taking her in for a special visit for this or if i should just wait until her yearly checkup (6 months away)

Mammary Gland Tumor Average Cost

From 5 quotes ranging from $900 - $15,000

Average Cost

$5,500