Topsy's battle with Breast Cancer

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Leeton Veterinary Hospital
41 Yanco Avenue
NSW 2705

02 6953 3111
02 6953 2793

Did you know October was breast cancer awareness month?

Did you know that animals can get breast cancer, better known as mammary cancer?

Did you know that desexing your animal can greatly decrease their chance of getting mammary cancer?

Breast health in our animals is just as important as breast health in humans. Every time a female animal goes through a “heat” cycle, it increases their risk of developing breast cancer dramatically. Just like in humans, whilst a male animal can get breast cancer it is much more common in females. Dogs are also at a much higher risk than their feline counterparts.

Unfortunately Topsy, a 10 year old kelpie recently discovered this.

Topsy was brought in by her mum feeling generally unwell but with nothing specific going on. On examination it was found that Topsy had multiple, firm lumps running up and down her mammary glands on both sides. Topsy was diagnosed with mammary tumours.

Topsy’s owner booked her in for a diagnostic workup and surgery the following week.

On the scheduled day of surgery Topsy underwent a full blood screen along with chest x-rays to screen for any evidence of the spread of the mammary tumours, also known as metastases. Luckily, both of these screening tests were all clear and Topsy was taken into surgery to have a one-sided mastectomy.

A one sided mastectomy is a big surgery and involves removing some or most of the mammary tissue on one side. This is where one side or chain of breast tissue is removed. Dogs and cats have “two chains” of mammary tissue. Due to the amount of skin & tissue being removed at the time of surgery, we only remove one side. After a period of healing & allowing the skin to stretch (normally 6-8 weeks), we then surgically remove the other mammary chain.

Most dogs also undergo desexing at the time of surgery as some studies have shown that it may help to prevent the occurrence of new tumour development and reduce the aggressiveness of any existing tumours.

Topsy is currently recovering well at home. But the ordeal is not over for poor Topsy. In 6-8 weeks when she is fully recovered she will have to come back and have the other mammary chain removed. This time, to remove the mammary tumours on the other side.

Once these tumours have been removed, Topsy should hopefully lead a very happy & long life with her family.

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