Are Canine Mammary Tumors Common?
Mammary gland (“breast”) tumors are the most common type of tumor in the unspayed female dog. Breeds at risk for developing mammary gland tumors include toy and miniature Poodles, Spaniels, and German Shepherds. The average age of dogs at diagnosis is 10-11 years. There can be a single or several tumors, and they can occur in one or more glands. The last two sets of glands (the 4th and 5th glands) are most commonly affected. The tumors can be firm or soft, well-defined lumps or diffuse swellings. Tumors can be attached to underlying tissues or moveable, skin-covered or ulcerated. They can be different sizes, and they may grow slowly or quite fast. Most dogs are seen by the veterinarian for signs associated with the primary tumor and are otherwise feeling well. A few dogs are diagnosed with advanced metastasis (tumors that have spread to elsewhere in the body, such as the lungs and lymph nodes) and might be feeling ill from their tumors when they come for treatment.