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Old February 17th, 2015, 10:30 AM
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Myka Myka is offline
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Mammary lump in senior dog

Hi all,

Two days ago I saw a red area on Roxy's belly near the last nipples, but didn't think much of it because she has allergies and gets red skin on her belly often. I spray 50/50 ACV/H2O on it and it usually heals up pretty quick.

Late last night I found a hard mammary lump about the size of a tennis ball cut in half on Roxy that was leaking some pus and a bit of blood. She's not bothering it and didn't have a fever, so I cleaned it up last night with some Hibitane soap, and waited until this morning to get a vet appointment. She has an appointment for this afternoon. The lump actually looks less mad than it did last night - if that's even possible.

I'm pretty sure she has had at least one litter of puppies as she has the hanging boobies syndrome (haha). I was told when I adopted her (age 6) that she was adopted from the SPCA at age 2, so she would have been spayed then if she wasn't already. However, who really knows, right?

Has anyone seen mastitis in a senior, spayed female? I'm really hoping it's mastitis and not breast cancer.

I took a photo last night before I cleaned it up, but the photo is *GRAPHIC*, so I will provide a link instead of posting it into the thread. If you don't want to see a draining abscess, don't click.

Monday Feb 16th 11 pm: http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k4...216_225205.jpg
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog

Last edited by Myka; February 18th, 2015 at 10:12 PM.
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Old February 17th, 2015, 06:51 PM
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Well the vet appointment went ok I guess. Roxy saw a new, young vet. Fresh off the books I think!

The vet thinks the lump is a tumor, not an abscess because it is hard and a bit lumpy (it looks smooth to the eye). She said statistically, mammary tumors in female dogs are 50/50 cancerous, though she says she's seen more like 75% cancerous. So that's not good.

The prognosis for dog breast cancer (unlike humans) is very poor. The cost of mastectomy is quite significant, so I figured the first thing we need to do is try to figure out if it is cancer or not. If it is cancer, then mastectomy may or may not prolong her life. If it is not cancerous then mastectomy is a good option.

So, apparently when dog breast cancer metastasizes it usually goes to the lungs first (same in humans actually), so she x-rayed Roxy's lungs. The lungs came back as clear, but she noted that Roxy has an enlarged heart, but no heart murmur. This is almost certainly unrelated, but it's something else to keep in mind if Roxy's going to go under general anesthetic.

Next, we did a CBC, electrolytes, and chemical blood profile checking for abnormalities, particularly elevated calcium which could indicate cancer. The blood work came back all within normal range.

The vet said we could do a biopsy, but she said it is very difficult to tell the difference between malignant cells and normal cells. Biopsy is the normal step for humans, so I'm not sure why it would be different for dogs. I don't know if it is because dog doctors aren't as good as human doctors or because dog breast tissue is different than human breast tissue. Anyone know anything about this??

The vet was pushing towards mastectomy surgery rather than biopsy. Although she wanted to send me to a bigger clinic to get Roxy's heart ultrasound examined before putting her under anesthesia.

Anyone have any opinions or experiences?

I might go for a second opinion to a vet I used to frequent who has seen Roxy before. I switched because this old vet is the most expensive one (most recommended too), and also because the new vet is the only holistic center in the area.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog

Last edited by Myka; February 17th, 2015 at 07:38 PM.
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Old February 17th, 2015, 07:39 PM
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I made an appointment for a second opinion tomorrow. I will take the x-ray and blood tests with me.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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Old February 17th, 2015, 09:03 PM
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I just checked the lump. It hasn't been draining at all today except a small amount of clear fluid. The Metacam (assuming) has reduced the size of the lump significantly - about 1/3. I'm not sure what that means. I look forward to the second opinion tomorrow.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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Old February 17th, 2015, 09:42 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Hope you get good results tomorrow, Myka! Keeping my fingers crossed!
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Old February 18th, 2015, 08:35 AM
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Thanks Hazel, I hope so too!

Here's a pic from Tuesday Feb 17th 10 am (18 hours after first Metacam dose): http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k4...eb172015AM.jpg
__________________
Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog

Last edited by Myka; February 18th, 2015 at 10:16 PM.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 08:55 PM
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Well, the second doctor didn't say anything different, but definitely did clear things up for me.

She explained to me that ALL tumors are cancerous. I didn't realize that. I thought benign meant non-cancer, and malignant meant cancer. That's not true; "tumor" is synonymous with "cancer". She said benign means non-invasive, local cancer. Malignant means invasive, and spreading throughout the body. So, in female dogs there is a 50/50 chance that a breast tumor is malignant or benign. There is also a small chance that the lump is ONLY an abscess, but she can't tell without cutting her open. She also agreed that biopsy is not a good route. She said because of the abscess around the assumed tumor, it could be very easy to miss the tumor and get a false negative on a biopsy, and for not even double the price we can just get the whole thing removed.

She said time is of the essence. She said if we want to do the surgery we need to get a move on as soon as possible. Although she also said that if we can shrink the abscess at all that would be really good because she needs 3 cm clean margins. That's a lot of tissue. Also, she's not concerned about Roxy's enlarged heart because she is asymptomatic.

So at this point Roxy is on Metacam daily and we started an antibiotic called Apo-Amoxi Clav today to see if we can shrink the lump one way or another. We also want to see the affect of the antibiotic just to cross off the small possibility that it is indeed just an infection. Oddly, our Chihuahua, Peewee likes to lick her nipples so there is an off chance he introduced bacteria from his mouth to a small cut she had on her nipple.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog

Last edited by Myka; February 19th, 2015 at 09:54 AM.
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Old February 18th, 2015, 10:32 PM
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Here's a pic from half an hour ago; Wednesday Feb 18th 9 pm (29 hours after first dose, 5 hours after second dose Metacam, 5 hours after first dose Apo-Amoxi Clav). The spots are from her allergies. http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k4...eb182015PM.jpg
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog

Last edited by Myka; February 19th, 2015 at 08:23 AM.
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Old February 19th, 2015, 12:15 AM
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Wow! It's looking tons better!

So how long does the vet think can you afford to wait for it to shrink before surgery, or, if it's just an infection, to heal?
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"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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Old February 19th, 2015, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
Wow! It's looking tons better!

So how long does the vet think can you afford to wait for it to shrink before surgery, or, if it's just an infection, to heal?
Yes, I'm surprised the Metacam did that much!

I actually sent an email to the 2nd vet last night to clarify your question, as I am a bit unclear too. I had so many questions. I do know that if the improvement platforms that we will either do the surgery at that point or try a different antibiotic. The vet said that if it is a tumor, the tumor could be very small and the lump could be mostly infection. So if it goes down 90%, and there is a tiny bit left then we still need to do surgery. She gave me 12 days of antibiotics, so I think as long as she continues to improve we will go the full 12 days.

My mom had breast cancer a number of years ago, and we were talking about it last night. Of course this situation brings back a lot of memories for her, and really caught her off guard when I told her! She had a biopsy, then a lumpectomy, and then a full mastectomy with removal of associated lymph nodes. There were 7 weeks between the lumpectomy and the mastectomy. I'm not sure if that experience could be correlated or not.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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Old February 19th, 2015, 09:22 AM
MarianE MarianE is offline
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I have been following this thread with a quaking heart. I'm so glad things are looking as good as they can. It's just wonderful. I must say also 'thank you' because I've learned so much. Warm thoughts to you both.
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Old February 19th, 2015, 09:31 PM
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Myka Myka is offline
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No changes today.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarianE View Post
I have been following this thread with a quaking heart. I'm so glad things are looking as good as they can. It's just wonderful. I must say also 'thank you' because I've learned so much. Warm thoughts to you both.
Thanks Marian! I've learned a lot too!
__________________
Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 09:18 AM
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Well, the mass went down in size a little more from the last photo, but it hasn't changed in the last couple days. I'm pretty sure the mass is NOT just an infection - I'm pretty sure there is a tumor in there too. I'm going to talk to the vet today about getting her booked in for surgery.
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Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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Old February 23rd, 2015, 12:02 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Oh, no. Keep us posted! Will keep her in my thoughts and prayers
__________________
"We are--each of us--dying; it's how we live in the meantime that makes the difference."

"It's not what you gather, but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived!"

"Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."
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Old February 24th, 2015, 09:37 AM
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Myka Myka is offline
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Thanks Hazel.

The vet said to let the antibiotics go their full run (14 days). She said she wants to see no progress for 2-3 weeks before stopping, and going for the surgery. Last night was Roxy's last dose of Metacam, so we'll see what happens without that.
__________________
Roxy - Feb 2005 - 75 lb American Staffordshire Terrier (adopted Jul 2011)
Peewee - Jan 2006 - 8 lb Chihuahua (adopted May 2009)
--------------------
Myka - Nov 1998 to Jan 2010 - 85 lb American Pit Bull Terrier cross
Lacy - Sept 1992 to July 2003 - 18 lb Reg Shetland Sheepdog
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