A mammary tumor is a tumor originating in the mammary gland. It is a common finding in older female dogs and cats that are not spayed, but they are found in other animals as well. The mammary glands in dogs and cats are associated with their nipples and extend from the underside of the chest to the groin on both sides of the midline. There are many differences between mammary tumors in animals and breast cancer in humans, including tumor type, malignancy, and treatment options. The prevalence in dogs is about three times that of women. In dogs, mammary tumors are the second most common tumor (after skin tumors) over all and the most common tumor in female dogs with a reported incidence of 3.4%. Multiple studies have documented that spaying bitches when young greatly decreases their risk of developing mammary neoplasia when aged. Compared with bitches left intact, those spayed before puberty have 0.5% of the risk, those spayed after one estrous cycle have 8.0% of the risk, and dogs spayed after two estrous cycles have 26.0% of the risk of developing mammary neoplasia later in life. Overall, unspayed bitches have a seven times greater risk of developing mammary neoplasia than do those that are spayed. While the benefit of spaying decreases with each estrous cycle, some benefit has been demonstrated in bitches even up to 9 years of age. There is a much lower risk (about 1 percent) in male dogs and a risk in cats about half that of dogs.
Read more about Mammary Tumor: Mammary Tumors in Cats
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