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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently got some bad news from my girl’s breeder. Her mother was recently euthanized due to mammary glad tumor that was cancerous.
I was told a lot of things that turned out to be a lie two years ago and instead of fighting in court over my deposit, I brought my girl home anyways. Too make a long story short I should have done better research at the beginning instead of trusting someone who turned out to be very unethical.

Here we are 2 years and 4 months later and I get the news that grace has been euthanized. My question is what steps can I take to help my girl beat the odds. So far she’s very active and healthy, no lumps or bumps can be felt by me or the vet. And one important question is if I get her fixed now will that help her chances any? I didn’t get her fixed because I was advised to wait till two by the vet. She has not had any puppies either.
 

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Genetics are genetics...but IMO She's over 2 years anyway so... Yes ... get her spayed now and you'll decrease her chances of getting that type of cancer.....btw- kudos to your vet that can be rare to find one that by the age of 6 months is not giving the spay/neuter speech.....
 

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A retired (holistic, accredited clinic) said that the protection of spay against mammary cancer is gone after the first heat. Most cancers can be removed with good outcomes. Most...not all of course. The remaining issue is pyometra, especially close pyo but if you know your dog well and the signs and are alert about the slightest behavior changes, then a spay will most likely get her well.
Enjoy your life with your dog.
 

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My 9yr old GSD had a mammary tumor. It was found when she was about 2-4 (don’t know her true age, the vet estimated 2-4 when I got her). At that point, it was not causing any discomfort or pain, and was benign. At the age of 9, it started to grow and become uncomfortable for her when she would lay down. We had the tumor removed and had her spayed. She’s doing great! I know it’s much easier to say than do, but don’t stress until there is something to stress about!

My girl had been a BYB breeding bitch prior to me getting her, and she had been bred at every cycle, including her first. The vet couldn’t tell me if it was the litters that caused it, or her not being spayed. Why take the chance? She’s past the age of maturity for a female GSD. I’d go with the spay.
 

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Supposedly colostrum has cancer fighting properties. Could be given as a daily supplement.
 

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At the first sign of any tumors in middle age, I would consider removing the entire mammary string on that side -- it's all the nipples and the "plumbing" connecting them. It's several thousand dollars, as it's a big, complex surgery. I wouldn't do it preventatively but I would not hesitate to do later in life at the first sign of a tumor.

We've had two in rescue that had tumors removed that came back benign that were dead within a year or two when additional tumors formed in the same area that weren't benign. Both had localized surgery removing just the tumor -- not the bigger surgery removing the whole string. I now think more aggressive surgery is the better judgment call, after seeing this happen to two different middle-aged dogs.

I would also talk to your vet about something like EverPup (from the maker of ApoCaps and one of the vet authors of the Dog Cancer Survival Guide).
 

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OP, I would trust your vet on the spay here. The literature shows a significant benefit to spaying before 2.5 years of age. While the most benefit is accrued if done before the first heat, it's an error to assume that because you're not getting the most benefit, you must be getting none. You're still right there at the edge of the beneficial window for mammary cancer, so I would get 'er done and hope you capture some of the protection -- even if it's not as much as it would have been at the time of the first heat, it's still taking down risk.

If you dig into the veterinary literature, at least according to one study, there does also appear to be some protective effect to spaying even after the second heat because spayed dogs overall (even spayed as adults) have increased survival time if they end up with malignant tumors and were spayed at least two years before the diagnosis.

This article summarizes the veterinary research on the subject:

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/prognosis-treatment-canine-mammary-tumors

Keeping your dog lean is also critical -- there's a correlation between obesity in dogs and mammary cancer. High-fat diets also appear to raise risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
OP, I would trust your vet on the spay here. The literature shows a significant benefit to spaying before 2.5 years of age. While the most benefit is accrued if done before the first heat, it's an error to assume that because you're not getting the most benefit, you must be getting none. You're still right there at the edge of the beneficial window for mammary cancer, so I would get 'er done and hope you capture some of the protection -- even if it's not as much as it would have been at the time of the first heat, it's still taking down risk.

If you dig into the veterinary literature, at least according to one study, there does also appear to be some protective effect to spaying even after the second heat because spayed dogs overall (even spayed as adults) have increased survival time if they end up with malignant tumors and were spayed at least two years before the diagnosis.

This article summarizes the veterinary research on the subject:

http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/prognosis-treatment-canine-mammary-tumors

Keeping your dog lean is also critical -- there's a correlation between obesity in dogs and mammary cancer. High-fat diets also appear to raise risk.
Tomorrow I’m going to call about setting up the spay. I wasn’t going too have her spayed at all but if it COULD save her I’ll do it. I would consider the whole mammary string if I was in better financial shape (.getting there ) so maybe like one person said in the future if something is found. I know it’s painful but I want to give her the best quality of life she can have and her health is my #one concern.
 

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Tomorrow I’m going to call about setting up the spay. I wasn’t going too have her spayed at all but if it COULD save her I’ll do it. I would consider the whole mammary string if I was in better financial shape (.getting there ) so maybe like one person said in the future if something is found. I know it’s painful but I want to give her the best quality of life she can have and her health is my #one concern.
Huh? Does your dog have a confirmed cancerous mammary tumor? If not, why in the world would you consider removing her mammary chains?
My dog had a small cancerous mammary tumor removed at 3 yo. I had her spayed at the same time. I did not have her mammary chain removed just in case. She is fine. If I ever get another bitch that won't be bred she'll be spayed around 2 yo.
 

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When my eldest's full sister (litter mate) died of cancer (not mammary), my vet and I agreed on a program of monitoring. You might want to consider that before rushing to surgery.
 

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I would spay.

Her dam had to be euthanized due to mammary cancer. Do you know how old she was?

Spaying before or just after the first heat cycle is supposed to be the best preventative for mammary cancer. After the second heat cycle it is a little less. I think you may still have some benefit in doing this.

Normally, I worry about the increased risk of other types of cancer, that often effect younger dogs. But your dog has a much increased risk of mammary cancer, so spaying now, might kind of cancel that increase of risk, and take you back down to a normal risk.

She's had hormones through growth, and I think that is important too.

And please be a little more considerate of your breeder. She did not have to call you and tell you the dam died of mammary cancer. She did that so you could make a better decision for your puppy. Your frustrated because your puppy is living in fallen world, where there is disease and death. From wherever you got your puppy that would the case.

No breeder breeds bitches with mammary cancer to create puppies that have it. They found out the bitch had it by taking her the vet when they found a symptom. They chose to euthanize. And then they let you know. There is nothing unethical in that. If some things happened prior. Well, no one is perfect. I think folks on these sites expect the impossible.

They want breeders to be available 24/7, and to have nose on the puppies 24/7. But they do not want them to live off of the sales of puppies. They want people to do all kinds of trials and shows and work with their dogs, but not make any of that work come out in the price of the puppy. They are all concerned about the price, but if the breeder talks money at all, then she's a fiend. And, they expect the dogs to live forever. If the dog runs in front of the car, it was due to poor temperament because of genetics.

I have read posts here where the people came and saw some grass clippings in the water dish, and thought that was a huge red flag. Sometimes I think folks think the puppies will poop golden nuggets and be 100% house trained at 8 weeks old.

There are no guarantees with live critters. You can have a warranty on hips and elbows, some warranty anything genetic for period of time --1-2 years. And others warranty temperament. Often they have a list of what you can and can't do with your dog with voiding your warranty. But in reality, the only guaranty is that unless your pup meets with a tragic, fatal accident, it is going to get some form of disease that will kill it if you do not put it out of its pain. That is your guaranty. Good breeders try to breed for longevity. But no breeder knows their young stud dog is going bloat and die after producing 4 litters with two bitches.

If your male is going strong and producing litters at age 9 that's great, but bitches, you can wait only so long before you breed them, and if they get hemangiosarcoma at age 9 there was no way of knowing that when the bitch was 4 and 5 when she was bred. That bitch's daughters that I kept lived to be almost 13 and almost 14, another just turned 13. There was no of knowing I would get longevity from them.

Cancer is not something that you can totally eliminate by genetics. Or it would be gone. Your dog may get mammary cancer, and it may not. It may not have that problem at all. Spaying may reduce the risk. I'd do it.
 

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@selzer, I 100% agree, with all you posted. Us dogs owners want the sun and the moon, at the price of a boat ride. Having Lykas puppies woke me up to just how hard it is to raise a litter, and the time, worry, and effort is often tossed away when something goes wrong. I had one person come to look at the puppies, and because one had pooped between the last clean up and their arrival (5 minutes max), they posted on social media that I kept the puppies in horrible dirty condition, and just was in it for the money. Yeah, didn’t breed her myself, and I didn’t take any money from those that paid the teenager I got them from.

I’m not a breeder, will never be a breeder, and having Lyka’s litter just cemented that decision for me. It was crazy hard work. I couldn’t imagine doing it full time, and having to deal with the sun and moon owners. Huge props to those that do breed ethically, and still have time for trials and titles. They are the ones that deserve the sun and moon!
 

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I had a show lab growing up that developed mammary tumors later in life (around 11). I think I mentioned it here before, but I don't remember if they were benign or not. She was also intact up until this point. We removed the whole mammary chain - it was expensive, took a long time to heal, and now that I'm an adult - I wonder if the surgery was the right option at her age. She was spayed while under too. Once it did heal though, she lived another 5-ish years before finally dying of old age.

I agree with Selzer - it happens. No reason to be angry/upset with the breeder. She has already gone beyond what I would have expected from most breeders by reaching out to tell you the dam died due to cancer.


I would go forward with a spay if I had no intention to breed the bitch. It practically eliminates the fear of pyometra.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I would spay.

Her dam had to be euthanized due to mammary cancer. Do you know how old she was?

Spaying before or just after the first heat cycle is supposed to be the best preventative for mammary cancer. After the second heat cycle it is a little less. I think you may still have some benefit in doing this.

Normally, I worry about the increased risk of other types of cancer, that often effect younger dogs. But your dog has a much increased risk of mammary cancer, so spaying now, might kind of cancel that increase of risk, and take you back down to a normal risk.

She's had hormones through growth, and I think that is important too.

And please be a little more considerate of your breeder. She did not have to call you and tell you the dam died of mammary cancer. She did that so you could make a better decision for your puppy. Your frustrated because your puppy is living in fallen world, where there is disease and death. From wherever you got your puppy that would the case.

No breeder breeds bitches with mammary cancer to create puppies that have it. They found out the bitch had it by taking her the vet when they found a symptom. They chose to euthanize. And then they let you know. There is nothing unethical in that. If some things happened prior. Well, no one is perfect. I think folks on these sites expect the impossible.

They want breeders to be available 24/7, and to have nose on the puppies 24/7. But they do not want them to live off of the sales of puppies. They want people to do all kinds of trials and shows and work with their dogs, but not make any of that work come out in the price of the puppy. They are all concerned about the price, but if the breeder talks money at all, then she's a fiend. And, they expect the dogs to live forever. If the dog runs in front of the car, it was due to poor temperament because of genetics.

I have read posts here where the people came and saw some grass clippings in the water dish, and thought that was a huge red flag. Sometimes I think folks think the puppies will poop golden nuggets and be 100% house trained at 8 weeks old.

There are no guarantees with live critters. You can have a warranty on hips and elbows, some warranty anything genetic for period of time --1-2 years. And others warranty temperament. Often they have a list of what you can and can't do with your dog with voiding your warranty. But in reality, the only guaranty is that unless your pup meets with a tragic, fatal accident, it is going to get some form of disease that will kill it if you do not put it out of its pain. That is your guaranty. Good breeders try to breed for longevity. But no breeder knows their young stud dog is going bloat and die after producing 4 litters with two bitches.

If your male is going strong and producing litters at age 9 that's great, but bitches, you can wait only so long before you breed them, and if they get hemangiosarcoma at age 9 there was no way of knowing that when the bitch was 4 and 5 when she was bred. That bitch's daughters that I kept lived to be almost 13 and almost 14, another just turned 13. There was no of knowing I would get longevity from them.

Cancer is not something that you can totally eliminate by genetics. Or it would be gone. Your dog may get mammary cancer, and it may not. It may not have that problem at all. Spaying may reduce the risk. I'd do it.
I know that you can’t breed out cancer but I found out all kinds of things from the vet that took care of my girls mom and unethical is the right word for these people. Yes they contacted me to let me know but at that they were still lying. Her mother was four years old and to the vets knowledge had been bred every cycle. Grace had four cycles a year just like my girl. The breeder said grace was seven when put down. Which can’t be true since she was born in 2015 I registered my girl and that is listed as the dams date of birth. That’s besides the point but yes I agree getting her fixed is the first step and I set the appointment up today. She will be spayed September 9.

To the person worried I’m going to have the whole mammary chain removed, that will be a last option, I will not put her through that on just the possibility. This is heartbreaking for me and I’m probably over thinking and stressing for nothing but I’m scared. My dogs are no different than my child and I love both unconditionally.

I also want to say thank you to everyone for the thoughts and opinions. I will be keeping this post updated as we progress
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’m not rich but money has never been a concern for a healthy animal. Im just calling it like I see it a bitch that is bred from her first heat to having a litter two months before being put down at the age of four. Maybe uneducated is more appropriate than unethical. I don’t think she’s a bad person just don’t think they need to be breeding German Shepherds, or any dog or animal if your goal is anything other than improving the breed.
 

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Pet insurance! You need good pet insurance before anything is ever found on YOUR dog. Get a policy without a limit on coverage, as cancer is expensive (my dog with Melanoma is pretty much in remission, but it took over $10,000 to get us there, and we've got about $1500 to go to finish out one more year of staging and final treatments....his insurance paid 90%).


Tell your vet to keep the medical record clean and clear for future insurance claims re there being no sign of cancer and the spay is purely preventative/elective. You'll want that in the record later.
 

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I don't know if any surgery involving the reproductive system, will be covered by pet insurance. HP doesn't cover spay or neuter.
 
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