Effect of spaying and timing of spaying on survival of dogs with mammary carcinoma

J Vet Intern Med. May-Jun 2000;14(3):266-70. doi: 10.1892/0891-6640(2000)014<0266:eosato>2.3.co;2.


The risk of developing mammary gland tumors in dogs is significantly decreased by ovariohysterectomy at an early age. However, previous studies have not found a benefit to ovariohysterectomy concurrent with tumor removal in dogs with established mammary gland tumors, suggesting that the progression of these tumors is independent of continued estrogen stimulation. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of spaying and of the timing of spaying on survival in dogs with mammary gland carcinoma. Signalment, spay status and spay age, tumor characteristics, treatment. survival, and cause of death of 137 dogs with mammary gland carcinoma were analyzed. The dogs were classified into 3 groups according to spay status and spay time: intact dogs, dogs spayed less than 2 years before tumor surgery (SPAY 1), and dogs spayed more than 2 years before their tumor surgery (SPAY 2). Dogs in the SPAY 1 group lived significantly longer than dogs in SPAY 2 and intact dogs (median survival of 755 days, versus 301 and 286 days, respectively, P = .02 and .03). After adjusting for differences between the spay groups with regard to age, histologic differentiation, and vascular invasion, SPAY 1 dogs survived 45% longer compared to dogs that were either intact or in the SPAY 2 group (RR = .55; 95% CI .32-.93; P = .03). This study reveals ovariohysterectomy to be an effective adjunct to tumor removal in dogs with mammary gland carcinoma and that the timing of ovariohysterectomy is important in influencing survival.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Progression
  • Dog Diseases / mortality*
  • Dog Diseases / surgery*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Hysterectomy / veterinary*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / mortality*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / surgery
  • Ovariectomy / veterinary*
  • Philadelphia / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Time Factors