1422. Yorkshire is too
light-weight for breast cancer surgery
"The big one grew very large only in the last
2 months," the lady owner had not wanted the 5 small breast nodules removed in
July 2012 fearing that the dog might die on the operating table. The dog is now
13 years old.
"Did my associate vet advise removal?" I asked. "Yes,
but since the dog is old and light weight, being 2.5 kg, I did not want the
surgery done. What to do now?"
"Since the 5 nodules have now become
large, with the biggest one growing so fast, it is likely that the nodules have
had become breast cancers. Most likely the tumours may have spread to the lungs
and an X-ray will be needed to find out You have two choices. To operate or not
"What happens if I don't?" she asked. "The biggest one will keep
growing. The dog is licking it now as you can see a shiny bald spot. Soon there
will be skin ulcers and bacteria infection comes in. The tumour grows bigger and
smelly. The dog will stop eating as she is in pain."
"Spaying the dog
when she is young will have reduced the chances of her getting breast cancer. It
is not guaranteed but dogs spayed early seldom get breast cancers." I explained.
"What is your advice?" "If you take the anaesthetic risk of the dog
dying on the op table, surgery is advised. Short surgeries rather than a long
one will minimise but not prevent anaesthetic deaths."
The owner wants to
think about it for a day. Surgery to remove the largest breast lumps first and
then another surgery to spay the dog to deprive the tumours of the hormones and
to remove the 3 small ones further forward. However, if the lungs have cancers,
that will be a separate matter."
The dog is now active and eating. If
only the owner had agreed to removal of the small nodules 7 months ago and to
spay the dog, this emotional situation will not happen.
"It is not a
matter of whether the dog is 2.15 kg or 10 kg that is important in anaesthetic
risks," I said. "It is the health of the dog and the use of safe anaesthetics
and the duration of surgery. If a vet takes a longer time to operate as he or
she wants to remove all 5 tumours at one surgery, it will take a much longer
time and this is when the dog's heart may fail. Short surgeries minimise but do
not eliminate the risk."