We have always said that Natural Rearing is not a panacea. Things happen because there is environmental pollution completely out of our control.

At the end of January 2021, we discovered a hard mammary tumor on Siobhan. Her behavior, energy, appetite, and mood were perfectly normal. The tumor was not there two months prior to that, or at least not discernable yet.

After finding it, the tumor tripled in diameter. We did a lot of research including asking many Natural Rearing breeders about their experiences with these types of tumors, and a Vet examined her. We decided to have the tumor removed.

The surgery on Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, went very well. The tumor was fully encapsulated so the Vet was able to remove it all. It had not spread. It was being fed by two large blood vessels so she had to place a few internal stitches also. The Vet said it did not look malignant to her at all. The tumor involved ¾ of the milk glands for the large rear mammary.

Interestingly, in the 1 ½ days from the initial Vet exam until surgery, the tumor grew and the skin began to turn purple. The surgery revealed the tumor was working its way to rupturing through the skin, which would have presented other issues. All in all, we are very glad about our decision to have it removed.

Being the geeks we are, we asked the Vet to save the tumor so we could see it. She did, and even cut it open for us. It was quite interesting. For a tumor, it looked healthy in the sense that there was nothing necrotic about the tissue or foul-smelling about the fluid inside.

Siobhan recovered wonderfully! The day after surgery she was very tired and hungry, but her pain level was low. By that evening she wasn’t holding her tail tucked anymore indicating even less pain. Three days post-surgery she wanted to jump and play and help with the escaping sheep. It’s hard to keep a good dog down! She did do a leap which possibly broke an internal stitch apparent by fresh blood spreading under the skin, but it quickly stopped. Two days later it was clear her body was already absorbing the blood as the discoloration subsided.

We used the powerful anti-inflammatory essential oil called Copaiba (copal), diffused lavender EO, gave her ASEA Redox molecules orally as well as sprayed the solution on the approximately 3-inch long incision, lots of high-quality raw nutrition, as well as SBO probiotics especially since the Vet gave her a shot of antibiotics before we could ask her not to. Sigh.

Siobhan’s prognosis is very good. Mammary tumors are usually hormone driven so we need to watch for the development of any more over her next heat cycle. We will also be using natural therapies to help balance her hormones. If more tumors do develop, she will be spayed which is known to slow or stop tumor development. It is not believed that there is a genetic component to mammary cancer.

Given this, we are retiring Siobhan from our breeding program. She has produced such amazing dogs in the two liters she gave us! We are so thankful for her marvelous contribution to the English Shepherd breed!

On a side note, while the Vet was intubating her for surgery (to use gas so as to wake faster) she remarked at how beautiful her teeth were. I said thank you. She remarked, “You brush them.” I gave a slight chuckle and replied “Never once, it’s the Prey Model raw diet.” She asked what that was, so I briefly explained. She commented pleasantly. I just love that our healthy dogs speak for themselves about the benefits of the NR lifestyle!