October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!
Breast cancer affects all mammals, dogs and cats included. Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in our pets, and can be a devastating diagnosis. Breast cancer can be an aggressive cancer, leading to severe illness, pain, and death if it spreads to other organs.
Over 50% of breast lumps in dogs are malignant, and 95+% of breast lumps in cats are malignant.
While any pet can get breast cancer, older, female pets are most at risk.
Risk Factors for Pet Breast Cancer:
- Age (10+ cats, 7+ dogs)
- Intact/Spayed after first heat cycle
- Previous litter
- Familial history of cancer
- Being a Siamese cat
Early detection and treatment of breast cancer is key in treating it. Our veterinarians recommend intentionally feeling your pets’ breast tissue every month in addition to routine wellness examinations. Remember that your pet has 8+ nipples! Any new lumps and bumps should be brought to the immediate attention of our veterinary staff. Our compassionate veterinarians will come up with a diagnosis and treatment plan catered to your pet and your lifestyle.
Signs of Breast Cancer:
- Lumps on or near a nipple
- Discharge from the nipples
- Painful nipples/breast tissue
- Bruising or Ulcers near the breast tissue
- Lymph node enlargement
- Lethargy/Decrease appetite (Dog)
- Coughing (Cat)
Miss Lucille McGuillicuddy (Lucy) is the cat in the photo. She is a breast cancer survivor. Only <10% of cats live to a year after a breast cancer diagnosis. Fortunately for Lucy, her cancer was caught extremely early during a routine breast exam. After a radical mastectomy procedure, Lucy is feeling great and can look forward to years of napping in the sun and sneaking cheese off the kitchen counter.
With your help, breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence!