Mastopathy in dogs is a benign breast tumor. It is formed in dogs aged 6-7 years. If you do not start treatment in a timely manner, the consequences of the disease are very serious.
The types of mastitis
There are two types of neoplasms — benign and malignant. About 60% of all tumors are benign, and 40% are cancerous. It is impossible to distinguish them visually due to the different types of cells involved in the development of formations.
It would be wrong to think that since mastopathy is a benign tumor, it means that it is not dangerous. On the contrary: any breast tumor in a dog, regardless of classification, is dangerous, and in the absence of treatment, a benign formation can degenerate into a malignant one.
Conventionally, the breast is divided into fibro-cystic and diffuse.
The first type, diagnosed mainly in older dogs, is characterized by the formation of single or multiple nodules-seals that quickly grow.
The second form can develop a few days before estrus and is considered a precursor to fibrocystic mastopathy. Diffuse form is characterized by small nodules (“bags with shot”), well palpable on palpation, pain, swelling of the breast.
For a long time, the main version explaining the appearance of mastopathy was considered to be the presence of the hormone progesterone in the body, according to most scientists, which accelerates the development of benign tumors. That is why doctors offered to sterilize dogs at an early age (before the first or second estrus), this significantly reduced the risks.
However, it was later established that progesterone contributes to the occurrence of not only benign, but also cancerous formations. An effective measure that can protect dogs from health problems is sterilization, so if the bitch is not planned to be bred, it is advisable to undergo surgery for safety reasons.
However, age is not a decisive factor that provokes the development of mastopathy.
However, not only hormones can trigger the appearance of benign formations. Sometimes mastopathy appears after mastitis, if the puppies are born dead or die, as well as as a result of injuries, seeded with pathogenic microflora or fungus. Not fully treated can cause re-inflammation at any time.
The development of mastopathy during the feeding period of puppies is practically excluded, but in pregnant bitches the disease is diagnosed very often.
The clinical picture
Mastopathy can manifest itself in different ways, here are the main symptoms:
- single or multiple gland tissue seals (granular, dense);
- redness and inflammation in the nipple area;
- discharge from the nipples (bloody, gray-green, brown);
- compaction of the entire gland;
- the asymmetry of the glands;
- painful sensations in the gland during palpation;
- the affected gland differs from the rest in size and skin tone;
- the skin in the area of mastopathy becomes hot, and hair loss may begin there;
- lack of appetite;
- apathy, lethargy;
- increased thirst;
- cough (in severe cases).
A female may refuse to feed her offspring due to severe pain, or even try to bite her young. The dog’s behavior changes, it behaves restlessly, licks its belly in the area of the nipples, sometimes it can stretch out its paw, as if showing where it hurts.
The neoplasm grows very quickly and progresses, so if left untreated, it degenerates into a malignant tumor — sarcoma, adenocarcinoma, and so on. With the development of any of the variants and the occurrence of metastases, there can be no favorable prognosis. Even with proper treatment, an animal can extend its life, but not completely restore its health.
It is noted that degenerating tumors are most often found in representatives of such breeds as poodle, Eastern European shepherd, and Schnauzer.
How to treat mastopathy
At an early stage, the veterinarian monitors and regularly examines the dog during estrus and false soreness. If necessary, a course of homeopathic remedies can be prescribed to prevent the growth of nodes, keep them in a stable state, or make them disappear.
With a diffuse form of mastopathy, hormonal treatment is advisable. If the disease has turned into a fibrocystic form, and the tumor is progressing, drug therapy no longer makes sense, and surgery is necessary as soon as possible.
During the postoperative period, the doctor prescribes hormone therapy, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial drugs.
Surgical intervention has contraindications: the elderly age of the dog, the existing chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system, liver, kidneys, as well as a very large tumor.
If the tumor has degenerated and metastasized, the operation is also pointless. Sometimes specialists can perform palliative surgery, the principle of which is to remove most of the neoplasm. The remaining area is affected by appropriate antitumor agents. This method can extend the life of a dog, but not cure it completely.
Some owners believe that you can get rid of mastopathy with the help of traditional medicine, and try to carry out treatment at home. This is a dangerous misconception that leads to the growth and consolidation of tumors in the gland. Thus, precious time that could be used for medical treatment and achieve good results will be lost.
Prevention of mastopathy
Any disease is easier to prevent than to treat. Avoid mastopathy will help regular checkups with a veterinarian (at least 2 times a year), sterilization (if the dog is not involved in reproduction). Sometimes a veterinarian may recommend special medications for prevention that prevent the formation and development of nodules.
Effective preventive measures also include high-quality balanced nutrition, good care, reasonable physical activity and, of course, attention to your pet.