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Mammary lump and Hair Loss Problem

Posted Dec 11 2008 9:14pm

Question :



Sophie is my 10 year old, 9lb,un-spayed, hardy little Papillion. I inherited
her about 6 months ago after knowing her for many years & love her very

1 month ago, she suffered an apparent tick bite which created a bald patch on

the left side of her trunk. The Dr. prescribed 1 month of antiobiotics& I
assume any infection has been eradicated.

The problem I’m really concerned w/ began around the same time but seems
unrelated to the tick-bite somehow. She began losing massive amounts of hair,

mostly from her hind quarters & belly. Her normally pure pink skin has
numerous black patches of different sizes. There is a thickening of
the tissues beneath some of her nipples & a tumor-like mass under 1 in
particular. She doesn’t allow me to touch her belly area anymore-this used

to be her favorite place to be petted. She is literally going bald in the areas
where the hair loss is occuring & there is no sign of it slowing down. The
hair still on her body is now course & no longer shiny.

My vet suspects either some thyroid disease or psedocyesis (false pregnancy).
I’ve been reading up on both but neither seem to really capture what
I’ve witnessed her go through for the past month.

Has anyone experienced anything like this before? I’m terrified that
I’ll lose my companion because she can’t tell me or the vet exactly
‘where it hurts.’ Please help if you can! :)


Answer :

Dear Heather,

Regarding the mammary lump: if sophie is entire, then it is undoubtedly a mammary tumour. the appropriate action to be taken is to get her neutered, get the lump removed and send to an external lab to check how aggressive the tumour is. Obviously, the sooner this is done, the better.

Regarding the hair loss: The black patches are the likely evidence of superficial bacterial infection (despite the month-long antibiotherapy unless it was based on culture and sensitivity testing of the bacteria).

The hair loss could be due to:
- Self-trauma (itchiness): parasites or allergies
- Non-itchy hair loss: possible hormonal disorders including hypothyroidism (as your vet suggested), cushings disease, ovarian disorders …

My recommendation is to get Sophie blood tested for thyroid and cushing before getting her spaid and have the mammary cancer removed.

Best of luck, julien


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