554 – Dr. Marty Greer’s Passion Project & Anniversary Episode
Dr. Marty Greer’s Passion Project & Anniversary Episode
Dr. Marty Greer, DVM and host Laura Reeves celebrate their fifth anniversary of sharing important veterinary topics on Pure Dog Talk.
Greer’s passion project is Breast Cancer Awareness in dogs.
“People sometimes forget that dogs get breast cancer too,” Greer said. “It’s not an uncommon kind of cancer to find in dogs, unfortunately. It is definitely linked to spaying at an older age. But, in spite of that, there are still some significant benefits in waiting to spay. So that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
“But essentially we see it in middle age to older, normally female dogs that were left intact after the age of two. So, anybody that’s breeding their dog is typically not going to spay before two because of health clearances, because she needs to mature before you breed her. So this means that almost every dog in a breeding program is gonna fall into a possibility of breast cancer. Mammary tumors, same thing, different term, all the same stuff.
“And I think it’s really important that people know that there isn’t a good treatment other than surgery. So early detection and surgery is going to be almost the only thing that we can offer.
“So, really, early detection, finding a nodule, taking it off when it’s small and then being very attentive for additional ones to develop is very important.
“Dogs have five sets of memory glands. The littlest ones are at the front between the front legs, and then they go down a nice string all the way down, usually in a fairly straight line. Every now and then they’ll be an extra nipple or something else thrown in, and that’s OK. It’s just a normal variation.
“But what you want to do is go along that chain that goes down, so feel from one nipple to the next and in between the nipples and just gently manipulate the skin so that you can see if you find anything that seems abnormal. A breast cancer nodule will feel firm, like a pea or a little cluster of peas. They’ll be firm. They won’t be those soft kind of masses. They won’t be on the belly button. They’ll typically be off to the side. The most common place to find a tumor, and the most serious tumors, are in the glands closest to the back legs.
“I strongly encourage people not to spend the money on a fine needle aspirate. A lot of veterinarians want to stick a needle in it and aspirate it, and because most mammary tumors are mixed of different cell types, that is not going to be an accurate assessment of what you have.”
Listen to the full episode here and then flash back to the first episode, introducing Dr. Greer.
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