Preventing your dog from getting breast cancer

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SAN DIEGO – Veterinarians said they’re seeing more cases of breast cancer in dogs, but it can be prevented.

“Unfortunately, they can really get all the same types of cancer that we can get,” said San Diego Humane Society president and veterinarian Dr. Gary Weitzma. “We have all the diagnostics that human hospitals use now, MRIs and CT scanning. Fortunately, we’re able to diagnose these earlier and that may be why we see a lot of them now, because we can actually diagnose them.”

Layla, a black lab who lives in Lakeside, is one of many canine cancer survivors. Owner Judy Kovi, discovered a lump on Layla’s stomach while petting her. Kovi took Layla to the vet, who diagnosed the lump as a tumor, possibly more.

“We agreed that if he did not like what he saw in there,” said Kovi. “He wouldn’t just remove the lump, but the entire breast.”

It turned out the tumor was breast cancer. Fortunately, Layla recovered within days of surgery and suffered no complications.

Dr. Weitzman said other owners should be aware that breast cancer in dogs can be prevented.

“The best way to do that is to spay your dog,” said Dr. Weitzman. “Before they’re six months or have ever gone into heat. We can literally decrease the incidents of breast cancer 100-percent.”

Layla wasn’t adopted until after she was six months old, but the Kovi family hopes other owners will take Dr. Weitzman’s advice.

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