Breast Cancer in Pets

While breast cancer awareness month for people might be over, it’s important to realize that we humans aren’t the only ones affected by the disease. In fact, I experienced it first hand when my pet rat developed breast cancer late in her life. Here are some great facts about breast cancer in dogs and cats. Thanks to PurinaCare for sending them our way.

BREAST CANCER IN PETS FACT SHEET

Many people don’t realize that pets can also suffer from breast cancer. Mammary gland tumors are common in dogs and cats, especially those that aren’t spayed or were spayed late in age.

Mammary exams for pets are important and early detection is key. Once your dog or cat is five years old, perform a mammary exam monthly. Gently feel the tissue under and around each nipple, “rolling” the tissue between your fingers. If you feel even a tiny lump, bring your pet to the veterinarian.

Dogs:
• 25% (1 in 4) of un-spayed female dogs will get mammary cancer
• Most common in older female dogs
• Less than 50 percent of canine mammary tumors are malignant
• Spaying a dog before their first heat will reduce the chance of breast cancer to almost zero.
• Most “at-risk” breeds: poodle, Brittany spaniel, English setter, pointer, fox terrier, cocker spaniel, Boston terrier
• Diagnosis: affected area will be red, swollen, feverish, and painful to the touch
• Early detection/prompt treatment can successfully treat even serious tumors. Look for small, firm pea-sized lumps in the breast tissue.
• Surgical removal is the first treatment method and chemo is sometimes a secondary treatment, depending on the severity of the tumor

Cats:
• Less common in cats than dogs, 1/4000 will have mammary cancer
• Early spaying is the best prevention and also if a cat has had kittens they’re less likely to get it
• Around 90 percent of feline mammary tumors are malignant
• Siamese cats and cats over the age of 10 are the most prone to mammary cancer
• Diagnosis: affected area will be painful to the touch, swollen, infected, and the cat may have a fever
• Surgical removal of the tumor and aggressive chemo is the recommended treatment, however mammary cancer is usually fatal in cats

THE MOST IMPORTANT PREVENTION MEASURE A PET OWNER CAN TAKE: Spaying before the first heat can reduce the chance of breast cancer to nearly zero. That simple decision can save a pet’s life.

About PurinaCare Insurance Services Inc.
PurinaCare Insurance Services Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, is dedicated to providing pet owners with a Lifetime of Care® for their dogs and cats. PurinaCare® pet health insurance is offered to dog and cat owners in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. PurinaCare is committed to promoting responsible pet care, providing humane education, supporting community pet involvement, and fostering the positive bond between people and their pets. PurinaCare pet health insurance is underwritten by Central States Indemnity Co. of Omaha, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. PurinaCare pet health insurance is also offered as a direct benefit to select employees and associations nationwide and its high-deductible policies have earned the AAHA Seal of Acceptance. For more information about PurinaCare pet health insurance, call 877-8-PURINA or visit www.purinacare.com

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