Chocolate Lab Mammary Cancer

by Wendy R.
(Olive Branch, MS)

My lab is 5 years old. She had a check up in June which was routine. No problems were identified.


I noticed a lump in an area along the 4th nipple a few weeks ago. It grew to app 10 cm long and was irregularly shaped. We had it removed last week. She is well. We also had her spayed at the same time.

I want to have a "radical mastectomy" on other side. Her nipples there are larger than normal. She has never had puppies. I do not want to do chemo or radiation. I am a nurse and of course, I put my thoughts into all this as a nurse.

My vet suggested I take her to an oncologist. There is lots of cost for a dog. I am willing to do palliative care after the second surgery. I am torn on which way to go with all this.

I would love your thoughts/suggestions/ideas.

Thank you !!

Suggestion From Our Veterinarian on Treating Dog Mammary Tumors

Hi Wendy,

Was your dog’s mammary tumor sent to a pathologist after it was removed? The reason I ask is that about 50% of mammary tumors in dogs are benign and 50% are malignant. Knowing which type you are dealing with would certainly affect whether or not chemotherapy would be indicated. It’s also important to understand that chemotherapy in dogs is quite different than it is in people. Serious side effects are much less common in dogs, probably because veterinarians tend to treat less aggressively, being more concerned with maintaining the quality of life for as long as possible instead of going for a “cure.”

I think having a consultation with the oncologist that your veterinarian recommended is a very good idea. He or she will be able to go over all your options based on the specifics of your dog’s case, and then you will be able to make a fully-informed decision about what is best for both you and your dog.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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