Myrna was brought to a shelter when her person went away and family realized they couldn’t care for her. She arrived at the shelter crawling with fleas, itching frantically with lesions all over her face and no hair on her back, and with four HUGE mammary tumors easily visible. The horrified shelter staff put two e-collars on her to stop her tearing up her skin and face, and contacted ODH. Two wonderful volunteers brought her to us; one had to stop and compose herself before driving when she saw this little dog’s condition.
The worst part was that she smiled and wagged every time you talked to her (or fed her). We gave her as many anti-itch pills as possible, did a lot of topicals, and got her into a somewhat smaller e-collar; eventually we had to give her a LOT of pain meds to sedate her enough that she stopped frantically scratching..
Myrna saw the vet the next day. She found masses on each of her mammary glands – removing all of them would have meant a brutal radical mastectomy of both chains. The biggest of the giant growths had already started to collapse, bleed and become necrotic. And even if we removed just the biggest tumors, healing with all the skin damage and itchness would have been impossible. The meds that might have helped the itching would impede healing.
This was an impossible situation and our vet was very clear that we needed to let her go. It was the only humane action – and it broke our hearts.
Please remember Myrna and spay/neuter your dogs. Tell everyone you meet with an intact dog about Myrna (and the males with horrible testicular or prostate cancer that we take in frequently). Tell them that a surgery – available at low cost if necessary – could prevent such needless suffering in a dog who loves and trusts them.