Fidelco Guide Dogs: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Fidelco Guide Dogs: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” and it’s appropriate to remind listeners that our pets struggle with this disease, too.

Mammary tumors – or, breast cancer – affects both dogs and cats; and like breast tumors in humans, these start as a small lump in a mammary gland…and often, more than one mammary gland is affected.

In dogs….

  • Mammary tumors are the most common type of cancer in unspayed, female dogs
  • Typically, these tumors are diagnosed in older dogs, 10 – 11 years old…although the cancer may have been developing for some time
  • Approximately 50% of these tumors are malignant
  • Dogs fed a high-fat diet, or that overweight at 1 year old, are at increased risk of developing mammary tumors. 

In cats…

  • Cancer afflicts about 30% to 40% of all cats…and one-third of cancer cases involve the mammary glands;
  • Mammary cancer typically presents in middle-aged or older cats…and the prognosis is not as positive as with dogs
  • Unfortunately, over 85 percent of mammary tumors in cats are malignant and tend to grow and metastasize quickly.

Just like with humans, early detection is the best option for a positive outcome. 

  • It’s really easy to check for breast lumps in dogs and cats…just add an additional minute of careful petting and loving time with them.
  • Ask your veterinarian to check for tumors with every visit…appropriate early treatment, even if the tumor is malignant, is often curative.
  • In cats, this disease is preventable by having females spayed before six months of age.
  • And, fatty, human food is not a good treat for our dogs or cats. Also…don’t forget the male dogs and cats at home…although very rare, mammary cancer does occur. 
  • For more information about Fidelco Guide Dogs charitable, life-improving mission, visit Fidelco. org.

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