Treatment for Dog with Mammary Gland Tumors

Lili Duda, VMD
Last Modified: November 1, 2001

Dear OncoLink "Ask the Experts,"
Recently, I found out that my lab has mammary tumors. Some may be benign some may be cancer. My vet recommended a complete mastectomy. I would like to know what other options are available. Please include any information about the tumors and the breed.  
Thank you! These are not just pets, they are part of our family.

Lili Duda, VMD, Editor of the OncoLink Veterinary Oncology Section, responds:

Regarding the mammary tumors, any gland that contains a mass in it should be removed and biopsied. As you noted, it is possible to have a combination of both benign and malignant tumors within one gland, and from gland to gland. If multiple mammary glands are involved, a complete mastectomy might be more expedient. Prior to surgery, the dog should be evaluated with chest X-rays and blood work, as well as fine-needle aspirates of any lymph nodes (axillary and inguinal) that are palpable. If your dog is not spayed, this might be indicated as well.

Regarding labrador retrievers, they are not markedly predisposed to any particular tumor type.