Radical Bilateral Mastectomy Saves Shelter Dog’s Life

When a female dog is not spayed, it is only a matter of time before she develops one of two things: a pyometra (infected uterus) or mammary cancer.

Studies show that spaying a dog before her first heat cycle virtually eliminates the dog’s risk for mammary cancer. Unfortunately, many of the dogs that we see at the San Jose animal shelter have not been spayed before their first heat cycle, so it is common for us to see dogs with mammary masses.

Most of the dogs we see at the shelter have a mass or two in their mammaries. Other times, they have more. Less commonly they have too many to count. In those instances, such as the case of the dog pictured below, we have performed radical bilateral mastectomies to remove the entire mammary chain (in addition to spaying the dog). Once the mammary masses are removed, they are submitted to a laboratory where they are examined microscopically by a veterinary pathologist to determine what types of masses were present. The pathologist’s report provides us with an understanding of whether the masses were benign or malignant and what that means for the dog’s future.

Radical Bilateral Mastectomy Saves Shelter Dog's Life

Radical Bilateral Mastectomy

Fortunately, in this case, the dog’s masses were all benign and she was put up for adoption and found a forever home – cancer free!