Mammary Cancer in Dogs: Mia’s Story

Mammary gland tumors are the most common type of tumor diagnosed in unaltered female dogs.

Mammary Cancer in Dogs: Mia's Story

Mia’s story

Mia is an 8.5 years old Irish Wolfhound. When she was about 7.5, her mom found a small, pea-sized nodule on her belly. Senior dogs do get the odd lump or bump. It was small so she wasn’t overly worried. Particularly because the nodule wasn’t growing or changing.

“There is never a problem until there is one,” our vet always says.

Your dog could have a hundred lumps that are completely benign. It does not mean that the hundred and first will be benign too.

Mia’s bump starts growing

Then, when she came into heat, Mia’s little quiet bump decided to start growing. 

It multiplied in size within a few weeks. Mia’s mom knew she had to take action.

On close inspection it turned out that the original lump was not the only one there; it had the company of several other small bumps.

Mia had mammary cancer.

The heat stimulated its growth.

About half of mammary tumors are benign and remain harmless. The other half are malignant. They grow, spread locally and can spread to other parts of the body such as the liver and lungs.

How does one assess which half the little bump on your dog belongs to?

Nobody can tell without a biopsy. When a little lump decides to start growing, though, the likelihood of it being malignant is high.

That is one downside of having an intact female; it increases the odds of mammary cancer dramatically.

Mia was admitted for surgery and x-rays. She is doing well.

For me, at this day and time, the question isn’t whether or not to spay, merely when. As for lumps and bumps, I take them all seriously, no matter how small.

Jasmine had a bump by her nipple once.

She was about nine years old. She was spayed. But it was a bump. It was tiny, I found it because twice she gave me heck when rubbing her tummy. So we went looking for a reason and found it. Fortunately, in her case, it was just an infection and cleared right up.

Whenever I find the tiniest bump on any of my dogs, I want to KNOW exactly what it is. I’m not taking any chances with bumps.

Source article:
Mia, an eight-year-old Irish Wolfhound who had a lump on her underside

Related articles:
My Dog Has a Lump: See Something, Do Something—Cookie’s Lumpectomy

Further reading:
A Cancer Diagnosis Is Not a Death Sentence

Categories: ConditionsLumps and bumpsMammary cancerReal-life Stories

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Jana Rade

I am a graphic designer, dog health advocate, writer, and author. Jasmine, the Rottweiler of my life, was the largest female from her litter. We thought we were getting a healthy dog. Getting a puppy from a backyard breeder was our first mistake. Countless veterinary visits without a diagnosis or useful treatment later, I realized that I had to take Jasmine's health care in my own hands. I learned the hard way that merely seeing a vet is not always enough. There is more to finding a good vet than finding the closest clinic down the street. And, sadly, there is more to advocating for your dog's health than visiting a veterinarian. It should be enough, but it often is not. With Jasmine, it took five years to get a diagnosis. Unfortunately, other problems had snowballed for that in the meantime. Jasmine's health challenges became a crash course in understanding dog health issues and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. I had to learn, and I had to learn fast. Helping others through my challenges and experience has become my mission and Jasmine's legacy. I now try to help people how to recognize and understand signs of illness in their dogs, how to work with their veterinarian, and when to seek a second opinion. My goal is to save others the steep curve of having to learn things the hard way as I did. That is the mission behind my blog and behind my writing. That is why I wrote Symptoms to Watch for in Your Dog, which has turned out being an award-winning guide to dog owners. What I'm trying to share encompasses 20 years of experience.

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