Inflammatory Carcinoma in Dogs

Inflammatory carcinoma in dogs is a cancer of the mammary glands. This type of canine reproductive cancer occurs most often in female dogs, but it can strike male dogs, too. Read on to learn more about inflammatory carcinoma in dogs.

Causes and Risk Factors for Canine Inflammatory Carcinoma

Most dogs who develop this form of reproductive cancer are females who have never been spayed, or who were spayed after they were two years old. Hormone therapy can also increase your female dog's risk of developing mammary cancer. Spaying your dog before she undergoes her first reproductive cycle at six months of age is the best way to prevent inflammatory carcinoma. Rarely, this type of cancer can occur in male dogs, who also have mammary glands. 

Dogs who are obese, or who eat diets high in beef and pork, are at an increased risk of developing inflammatory carcinoma.

Symptoms of Canine Inflammatory Carcinoma

Dogs who develop a mammary carcinoma will have one or more tumors in their mammary glands. More than half of dogs with this type of cancer develop tumors in more than one mammary gland. Malignant tumors grow quickly, are often irregular in shape, may attach themselves to the surrounding skin or tissue, and may cause painful inflammation and even ulceration of the affected area.

Inflammatory carcinoma in dogs often causes pain and swelling in the affected area. The tumors may be hard or soft. You will be able to feel them under the skin, and often they may be visible to the naked eye as well. The area will be warm and tender to the touch.

Diagnosing and Treating Inflammatory Carcinoma in Dogs

Your vet will need to take tissue biopsies of the tumors to determine if they are cancerous and if they are inflammatory carcinoma. Blood tests and urinalysis can help your vet determine if the cancer has spread, and how it may be affecting other body organs. 

Surgery is sometimes used to remove inflammatory carcinoma tumors, though it is not always advisable in dogs. If the cancer has not yet spread, or if ulceration and infection has occurred, your vet will probably recommend removing the tumor and affected mammary gland surgically. If your dog has not yet been spayed, your vet may want to perform this procedure as well. 

Inflammatory mammary cancer in dogs is an aggressive disease that spreads rapidly, and surgery alone often does little to slow or stop its progression. Your vet will recommend chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat your dog's cancer, even if the cancer has not yet spread.

The prognosis for inflammatory carcinoma in dogs will depend upon the size of your dog's tumors at the time of diagnosis, and whether or not the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. Survival time after treatment can range from nine months to two years. Prevent inflammatory carcinoma by having your dog spayed before she is six months old.