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Canine mammary gland tumors.


An understanding of the known biologic facts of this disease and methodical evaluation of the individual patient are necessary prerequisites for outlining rational courses of therapy for dogs afflicted with mammary tumors. Because of the common occurrence of multiple tumors arising at various stages of development simultaneously and the heterogeneity of histology of the complex (mixed tissue types) tumors, presurgical biopsy is recommended only in cases in which mast cell tumor or anaplastic carcinoma is suspected. Although investigative work is being performed regarding the efficacy of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy, surgery still remains the mainstay in treatment of this condition. No one surgical procedure fits the needs of all patients, although it seems logical to remove as much breast tissue as is reasonable in each circumstance owing to the multicentric nature of the disease. Ovariohysterectomy has not been demonstrated to be of value in treatment of dogs with mammary tumors, but it is a markedly effective method of preventing mammary tumors if it is performed before puberty; it is moderately effective if performed before the dog is 21/2 years of age.

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