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Breast Cancer Awareness month sheds light on dogs

Many people participate in fundraisers and other events in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month during the month of October in order to fight against the disease that kills thousands of women each year. However, dog lovers can also take the month as an opportunity to raise awareness about mammary gland cancer, commonly known as breast cancer for dogs.

According to WebMD Pets, mammary gland tumors are the most common tumors dogs can get. Poodles, Boston terriers and Dachshunds are particularly prone to the tumors, which are benign 55 percent of the time and cancerous 45 percent of the time. However, all female dogs over the age of 6 can develop a tumor.

The cancer can be prevented if a dog is spayed when it is young, according to Dr. Marthina Greer, a veterinarian at Lomira Veterinary Village in Lomira, Wisconsin. WebMD reports that unspayed female dogs have a 26 percent chance of getting a mammary tumor - three times the risk a woman has of developing a breast tumor.

"Since dogs can't do self exams, we will have to do it for them," Greer told the Fond du Lac Reporter. "We don't have chemotherapy or radiation for dogs so the best thing someone can do is be aware of what to look for."
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