Tumors arising in the mammary tissue or breast in female dogs aren’t uncommon. It occurs in 0.5%-26% of dogs, depending on when they’re spayed. There is a 50% chance of mammary tumors being malignant, and your vet may prescribe surgery.
Dog mammary tumor surgery costs may be as low as $500, but it can shoot to $3000, depending on various factors. If you go to a specialist, the surgery expense can hit $9000. You must also consider the costs of diagnosis, cancer treatment if required, etc.
The cost and treatment course can vary hugely based on the condition’s severity. Find out a little more about the overall expense.
Factors Affecting Mammary Tumor Removal Cost for Dogs
Factors affecting the cost of mammary tumor removal surgery are as follows:
Size and Location of the Tumor
The larger and more spread out the tumor, the more complex the surgery will likely be. Accordingly, the surgery cost will increase, as you may need to involve an expert.
A tumor may be immovable or stuck to underlying tissues. Tumors may have instinct borders, too, or spread beyond the mammary gland. These need a complex removal.
Number of Tumors
Your dog might have developed one or more mammary tumors. And accordingly, the surgery expenses will also change. One tumor will need a less complicated surgery.
On the other hand, multiple masses in the gland tissues will need an expensive surgical procedure. The gland might have to be removed in severe cases of multiple masses.
Age and Health of the Dog
As the dog ages, it has a higher chance of mammary tumors. The process of surgically removing a tumor also becomes more complex with age,
Aged dogs are more prone to various other health issues and tumors. They can develop infections and recover slowly. So they need more care and monitoring.
Type of Surgical Procedures
A simple lumpectomy to remove a benign tumor costs the least, while a specialized lumpectomy performed by experts to remove malignant tumors is more expensive.
Your dog may need a mastectomy (simple, regional, radical, or bilateral). Removing the associated gland, lymph nodes, or one or both mammary chains will affect the cost.
Many state-of-the-art vet hospitals are available for dogs to provide advanced facilities to your fur baby. They charge a bomb for the surgery, hospitalization, and post-op care.
But you may find local clinics that offer the necessary care (without luxurious treatment) at a much lower cost. However, a specialized oncology clinic may be more expensive.
If you live in one of the major metro cities, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc., the cost of the tumor removal surgery and the associated treatment will be higher.
But in places like Fort Wayne, Wichita Falls, and Brownsville, the cost of living is quite low – and so are pet medical expenses. Thus, surgery costs can vary based on location.
Pre-operative tests are extremely important in the case of canine mammary tumors. The aspiration test helps determine whether it is a mammary tumor or some other form of it.
After the surgery, your dog must remain in the hospital for several days. Once you take her back home, she will need pain medications, follow-up tests, etc.
Post-operative care varies based on the kind of surgery – and whether your dog has developed cancer. Accordingly, your expenses may increase, especially for cancer.
Mammary Tumor Removal Procedure in Dogs
Mammary tumors develop when the cells in the breast tissue replicate abnormally, forming a mass. These may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Accordingly, the treatment, surgery, and post-surgery care will change.
When Are Dogs More Prone to Mammary Tumors?
Female dogs spayed before their first heat have a 0.5% chance of developing mammary tumors. It increases to 8% if spayed after the first heat – and to 26% if the dog is spayed after the second heat.
Dogs that are spayed after two years, or not are more likely to develop this condition – and live shorter lives. While any dog can develop mammary tumors, some breeds like German shepherds, Spaniels, and toy/mini poodles are more prone to it.
Types of Canine Mammary Tumors
There’s a 50% chance of the canine mammary tumor being malignant. There are usually five types of tumors, as listed below:
- Benign adenoma, which is non-malignant
- Carcinoma, which is malignant
- Sarcoma, which is also malignant
- Inflammatory Carcinoma, which is highly malignant and aggressive
- Mixed tumors, which can be a combination of non-malignancy and malignancy
Diagnosis of Dog Mammary Tumor
Canine mammary tumors can be painful and can cause discomfort. That’s one of the first reasons a dog gets tested. Doctors initiate the diagnosis process by performing physical examinations to detect a tumor by touch.
They also perform basic blood work and an aspiration or fine needle test to determine whether it’s a mammary tumor. A biopsy is performed on the tumor to determine if it’s malignant. Other tests include chest radiographs and abdominal ultrasound exams.
They identify if the tumor (or cancer) has spread to the chest, lymph nodes, or livers and is attached to deeper tissues. Dogs with tumors can live between 1 month and 2 years. It depends on whether the tumor is malignant, the malignancy type, stage, location, etc.
Types of Mammary Tumor Removal Surgeries and Treatment Options
The best treatment option is usually one of the following surgeries:
- Lumpectomy: This involves the surgical removal of the tumor.
- Simple mastectomy: It removes the associated gland along with the tumor.
- Regional mastectomy: It removes nearby lymph nodes and glands along with the tumor and the associated gland.
- Radical/unilateral mastectomy: This is the complete removal of one mammary chain.
- Bilateral mastectomy: This process removes both mammary chains.
Here’s a detailed video of a radical mastectomy surgery on a dog.
About 50% of the dogs with mammary tumors show excellent results and recovery after surgery. But the remaining 50% still have a chance of the tumor spreading, poor quality of life, and low survival. In some cases, other treatments may be prescribed, like:
- Radiation Therapy
- NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs)
These are either suggested to support the surgery or as an alternative to surgical tumor removal. The suggestions are dependent on the health condition of the dog. You should note that complex or malignant tumors need the intervention of oncologists and experts.
Risks Associated with Mammary Tumor Removal
Surgical removal of mammary tumors involves minimal risk associated with anesthesia. Other risks include bleeding during surgery, surgical stress, pain due to noxious stimuli, etc. Post-operative complications may also arise.
These include slow healing, infection at the surgery site, and side effects like lethargy, decreased appetite, nausea, diarrhea, pain, etc. Other treatments like chemo and radiation also cause side effects like vomiting, diarrhea, skin irritation, etc.
Expected Recovery for Dogs After Mammary Tumor Removal
Dogs are usually discharged from the hospital within 1-5 days after the mammary tumor removal surgery. After that, in-home care is extremely important. These include:
- Administering pain medications and antibiotics as prescribed by the doctor
- Monitoring the surgical site for signs of infection, stitch opening, etc.
- Limited activities for up to 2 weeks from surgery to enhance healing
- Wearing cone collar for 10-14 days to prevent licking or pawing the wound
- Isolated stay in a comfortable and confined area with no other dogs or kids
Cost of Mammary Tumor Removal for Dogs
The mammary tumor or gland removal cost can be as low as $500—the surgery expense increases if there is multiple tumor removal. Multiple tumors may set you back by $500-2500, while single tumor removal costs can be $500-$1500.
The average complex internal tumor removal cost is $1000-$2000. Remember that bringing a specialist on board instead of a general vet to perform the surgery raises the cost of removing a single tumor to $1500-$3000 and multiple tumors to $2000-$5000.
Low-range mastectomy can start at $500, with longer procedures costing around $1000. But if your dog requires an oncologist, you might be looking at an expense of $5000-9000! Thus, the cost of the surgery alone can vary massively.
Also, consider the costs of advanced diagnostic tests, like ultrasound scans at around $75-$280, and X-rays, costing about $60-$280. Then there’s the cost of a biopsy, which can be anything between $300 and $3000, including hospitalization.
If your dog has cancer, there might be an additional cost of chemotherapy, starting at $1000. The average expense for cancer treatment is $4100. So, in addition to the surgery, you will have to bear the additional costs of:
- Medicines (pre-op and post-op)
- Pre-surgical blood works and tests
- Surgical tools accessories
- Post-op care
- Cancer treatment, if required
Ways to Lower Mammary Tumor Removal Costs for Dogs
Tumor removal is mandatory in most cases. The expenses can vary vastly, leaving you with the possibility of finding ways to reduce costs. Here’s how you can do it;
Finding Low-Cost Clinics
Many clinics will provide the necessary care without fancy treatment or stay options. In a city with a low cost of living, these clinics won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Exploring Financing Options
Pet loans are personal loans you can get from lending institutions if you have a good credit score. You can also explore financing options made available by your employer.
Pet Insurance and Care Credit
Pet care credit cards function like regular credit cards. You can use one to make instant payments like hospital fees. Later, you can use pet insurance to pay off the card balance.
Discussing Options with the Veterinarian
Ask your vet if your dog needs specialized care – and discuss available discounts and options. Also, have a clear conversation about how you can use insurance coverage.
Related: Dog Insulin Cost
Dog Mammary Tumor Removal Cost: FAQs
Q: What Are the Dog Mammary Cancer Stages?
A: Dog mammary carcinoma is divided into five stages. In stage I, the tumor is less than 3 cm. In stage II, it is 3-5 cm. In stage III, the lump is over 3 cm. Stage IV is presented by lymph node metastasis, and stage V by distant metastasis, sometimes accompanied by lymph metastasis.
Q: How Long Does Dog Mammary Tumor Removal Recovery Take?
A: Dogs usually need 2-3 weeks to recover from mammary tumor removal surgery. They come home from the hospital within 1-5 days of the surgery and must take medicines for a week. The stitches are removed after the second week.
Q: Is Mammary Tumor Removal in Older Dogs Recommended?
A: Yes, surgery is usually recommended to remove mammary cancer in dogs of any age. The dog’s age is usually considered unimportant for tumor removal if the cancer has not spread. Your doctors will look into the cancer stage and consider the risks of surgery, anesthesia, chances of recovery, etc., based on age and make a decision.
Q: How Long Can a Dog Live With a Mammary Tumor?
A: The time a dog can live with a mammary tumor can vary between 1 month and 2 years. The life expectancy depends on the diagnosis of the condition. Cancer type (i.e., carcinoma or malignancy), stage, spread, etc., can affect the time.
Q: Should I Remove My Dog’s Mammary Tumor?
A: Yes, mammary tumor removal is required if your dog has only one small mass with no spreading. However, if multiple tumors affect one or both mammary glands, the entire affected gland(s) may have to be removed instead of just the mass.
Q: Do Mammary Tumors Hurt Dogs?
A: Yes, mammary tumors in dogs may reach a stage where it hurts the dog. Inflammatory mammary carcinoma can cause extreme gland pain, swelling, and redness. The skin over the lump may also ulcerate, bleed, and become painful.
Mammary Tumor Removal – For a New Lease of Life
If your dog is diagnosed with a mammary tumor, its removal might save its life, even when diagnosed with cancer. If the cost seems too high, consult your vet and ask for affordable ways to help your furry friend besides seeking other options.