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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 28493
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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i have a 10yr old westie who has had 2 operations for mammary

Customer Question

i have a 10yr old westie who has had 2 operations for mammary cancer,it has come back and this time it has become swollen and is now protruding her skin which she keeps licking and making it sore,i have put sudocrem on it but she still licks when im not watching,i have heard that i can put a salve on it using turmeric paste which i could make up myself and also give her this paste mixed in her food,have you had anyone say this has worked for their pet,i have been on many sites and some people swear by it saying its cured or kept the cancer stable, do you think its to late for my westie,she is still happy running and playing around the garden.
she is seeing a vet on wed for a second appointment
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I'm sorry to hear of this with Pepper. Unfortunately, she's following the path of too many post-surgical mammary cancer patients - recurrent cancers are often more malignant and behave more aggressively than the original cancer. This is what you're seeing as swelling which is distending her skin and causing her discomfort as evidenced by her licking.
I'm afraid that she's well past the point where tumeric would be helpful. The best I can tell you is that tumeric won't be harmful at a dose of 15-20mg/lb of body weight daily. Here's a discouraging article on tumeric's use but it's a worthwhile read: http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2013/09/turmeric-for-pets/
I recommend asking Pepper's vet about having all of Pepper's mammary glands removed as long as there's no evidence of cancer spread - particularly to Pepper's lungfields. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 2 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

the vet said as pepper has had 2 surgery's before this has left her with little skin left to sew her back up, this would mean a longer recovery time and extra careful watching,why didnt they remove all the mammary when they operated the first /second time?. would it have come back somewhere else or is there other reasons...cost ?

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
I understand. Studies have shown that the type of surgery (lumpectomy vs mastectomy) doesn't influence survival so long as the entire tumor is removed with histologically clean margins - no evidence of cancer outside the edges of the surgical site. Hence, vets will elect to perform the least invasive and involved surgery possible. The type of surgery (nodulectomy, regional or radical mastectomy) should be chosen depending on the size, location, and number of tumors present.
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thankyou for your answeres they were much appreciated. i went ahead and had more surgery on pepper who has been amazing in her recovery,i would appreciate your advice on wether you think it would be best for her to now to be spayed, she only gets the cancer growth when she comes into season but will it make her chances of getting more lumps less likely or will it have no effect now because she is already 10 yrs old thanks again

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for the good update, Carol. Spaying at the time of mammary tumor surgery (or later) is controversial with some studies reporting increased survival and others showing no difference. I would be surprised if spaying were of value in a 10 year old, however. It would, of course, remove the possibility of pyometra - a relatively common uterine infection in the older bitch.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thankyou for the prompt reply,if i can remove the chance of her getting pyometra then i think that in itself has to be a plus as i nearly lost peppers sister to this, if it removes something that might become a problem and maybe reduce her risk of getting mammary tumers again i think you have helped me come to the right treatment for her.

thankyou for all your help,i will be recomending you to my friends whenever they are worried about their pets. thankyou again Carol and Pepper

Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 2 years ago.
It's my pleasure. Thank you for your kind words.

Please disregard the info request.

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