Pet Tips 'n' Tales
- Breast Cancer in Dogs -
Bu's Brush with Breast Cancer!

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Bu, a twelve year old Australian Shepherd, is recuperating from breast cancer. 
Desi, her nurse and guardian, is thrilled with Bu's progress.


A human's and an animal's bond can have the emotional strength of super glue.  Desi and Bu are such an example, they share a job and their life's journey.  Where you see one, you always see the other.

Bu at twelve years of age is still young at heart and it could be the exercise she gets on the job.  Desi is a professional ranch hand and Bu loves helping Desi. 

"Australian Shepherds love having jobs," explains Desi. "So, I always give her something to do.  Bu is a natural herder, so her job is to move the horses from pasture to pasture, which she loves."

Bu considers herself the steward of the dinner dish.  At dinner, if Desi is slow serving her, Bu picks up her bowl, searches Desi out -- and whacks her in the shins with it! 

"Once, I put Bu on a diet," says Desi, "and she was convinced she was starving.  One morning, Bu carried both her and my other dog's food bowls to the middle of the driveway.  She dropped them down, and both dogs sat beside their bowls to alert all who might drive or walk by that they were hungry."

"They looked so pitiful.  I had only cut their food down by cup, and knew they were not starving as Bu was trying to tell the world," laughing, Desi added, "I made a sign, Will work for food and put it beside them."

Not surprisingly for a herd dog, Bu has a herd of stuffed animals.  She is gentle with them, never tears them up, and loves sleeping with them."

On sunny days, Bu carries each of her toy animals outside. Maybe Bu watches Dr. Oz's TV show and thinks her toys need vitamin D!

At bedtime, Bu carries each toy, one at a time, back into the house. 

"Go and get Memphis," Desi says, "And Bu brings him in.  Each toy that I ask for, is the next one to arrive. All 100 of Bu's toys have names. Her favorites are Duck-Duck and Whiskers the seal. 

After Bu retrieves a fur-toy, she jumps on 'our' bed, drops them, then heads out for the next.  After all, it is bedtime, and she is tucking them in for the night. 

So there is room to walk in the house, I learned to rotate her toys five at a time.

Bu's name is a double entendre for two reasons. I was living in Louisiana and the local's term of endearment for Sweetheart is Bu.   Bu is also the French word for drunk. Because I am a recovering alcoholic, her name means a lot as I have been sober since 1992, and Bu is a real sweetheart.

Bu was not spayed until she was 5-years-old because I was hoping to train her for a seizure alert dog and possibly puppies.

A year ago, I discovered a tiny lump next to one of her nipples.  It looked like nothing, but I kept an eye on it.  Then  her groomer found a second larger lump.  In a panic, we double checked the first lump and discovered it had grown.  The veterinarian was hopeful that we had caught the tumors early.

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
Desi and Bu show Bu's healing scars.

I had no idea that a pet not neutered or spayed at a young age is more susceptible to cancer.  I put the love of my life, Bu, in jeopardy and all my guilt buttons were pushed!  Apparently, all their hormones build, stagnating in their breasts, ovaries or testicles and can cause a deadly situation."
Dr. McEntee of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, "Close to 200 out of every 100,000 female dogs get this disease. Above all, owners should know that the occurrence of mammary cancer is dramatically higher in animals that have not been spayed." 
Cornell University's Dog Watch newsletter reports that genetics may come into the equation as "Spaniels, Maltese and Yorkies appear to be at increased risk. If an owner notices a lump and ignores it, there is a good chance that, within six months or so, the cancer will have spread past the primary site to the regional lymph nodes."
412 other Dog Watch Pet Tips:
"Susceptibility to mammary cancer also seems to be linked with canine obesity and diet,"  says Dr. Mcentee as she adds, "Those whose routine diets contain alot of beef and pork appear to be at an increased risk.  You can almost eliminate the risk of mammary cancer if you spay your dog prior to her first heat cycle."
"Bu (and my nerves) came through surgery fine" quietly says Desi. "The veterinarian said her tumors were benign. Hearing the good news ranks as some of the best news of my life!"


"Our neighbor," says Desi, "took in and fed a starving mother cat and her six kittens. She had no clue that the kittens would become pregnant at 4 months of age! They and their mother did!  Now, in a matter of a few months, our neighbor has 26 cats and it is going to cost her more to neuter and spay them, rather than when they were kittens.

Some of the starving kittens-kittens are now expecting. It is a nightmare for our neighbor and for the cats!  Alter your pets at four months and like Bu also help prevent them from getting cancer.

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