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What are Mastitis?

Dogs that have had mastitis are more prone to developing it again. All dogs can develop mastitis, including male dogs. Mastitis can become fatal if not treated quickly.

Mastitis in dogs is an infection of the mammary glands. It usually occurs in female dogs who are nursing a new litter of puppies. The mammary glands swell and become very painful for the dog. Nursing puppies should not drink the milk from affected teats; the milk will be toxic to puppies.

Mastitis Average Cost

From 448 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Mastitis in Dogs

Your dog may exhibit several different symptoms. If you notice any changes in your dog, contact your veterinarian immediately for an examination. Time is important; the infection can spread quickly and make your dog extremely sick or can even cause death.

  • Teats are lumpy
  • Teats are painful to touch
  • Teats are warm or hot to the touch
  • Teats are bruised or purplish-blue
  • Not wanting to nurse puppies
  • Snapping or growling at puppies
  • Discolored milk or blood in the milk
  • Restlessness
  • Crying
  • Dehydration
  • Weight loss
  • Lethargy

Types

 

Mastitis in dogs is categorized into two different types.

Acute Septic Mastitis

The female has developed an infection or abscess within a mammary gland and has become very ill. Bacteria have entered the mammary gland and can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Galactostasis

Otherwise referred to as caked breasts, galactostasis occurs during the later stages of pregnancy. The milk can start to accumulate and make the teats painful and distended. The mammary glands are not infected and therefore the female is not ill. This also happens when a female experiences a false pregnancy.

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Causes of Mastitis in Dogs

When pregnant, a dog’s body starts going through changes and milk production begins so she can nourish her pups when they are born. The puppies sometimes will scratch the mother’s nipples or the nipples can become cracked. This can allow a bacterial infection to begin in the milk ducts. 

Dogs, females and males, can develop mastitis when not pregnant or nursing pups. If this is the case, your dog will need to see your veterinarian immediately. Mastitis that is occurring in a dog that is not nursing puppies can be caused by cancer of the mammary glands and needs urgent attention.

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Diagnosis of Mastitis in Dogs

If you suspect that your dog has mastitis, your veterinarian will palpate the teats and take a sample of the milk in the affected teat. The milk will then be examined under a microscope for the presence of pus and bacteria. A CBC, or complete blood count, will also be performed to determine the severity of the infection. 

Your veterinarian may also recommend an ultrasound of the affected teat to locate any abscesses or tumors. A thyroid profile may also be performed to rule out hypothyroidism.

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Treatment of Mastitis in Dogs

Acute Septic Mastitis

A combination of treatments will most likely be prescribed by your veterinarian. Treatments can include aggressive antibiotics along with warm compresses applied to the affected teat. The infected teat will need to have the milk expressed to alleviate some of the pain and help prevent an abscess from forming.

Puppies should not be allowed to nurse from the affected teat. The puppies may need to be supplemented with formula while the female is recovering from acute septic mastitis. Just remember that milk production will stop after three days if puppies do not nurse. 

Galactostasis 

Your veterinarian may require that your dog’s water be withheld for 6-10 hours as well as food being withheld for up to 24 hours. Diuretics may also be prescribed as well as limited food intake. 

Your dog may try to stimulate the teats by licking in the event of a false pregnancy. This can make it worse and your veterinarian may prescribe a hormonal therapy or a mild sedative to stop the behavior.

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Recovery of Mastitis in Dogs

In the event of galactostasis mastitis, your dog is not at immediate risk but should still be examined by your veterinarian. Once hormone levels have become normal once again, the condition should go away.

Acute septic mastitis will require immediate and aggressive treatment to ensure a full recovery. Your veterinarian will set a treatment plan and all follow up visits to make sure the infection is gone. 

When mastitis is caused by something such as cancer, your veterinarian will speak with you regarding available treatments and your dog’s prognosis. Your veterinarian may even refer you to a specialist.

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Mastitis Average Cost

From 448 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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Mastitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Pit Bull

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Almost 3 years old

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Teats

My baby just gave birth to 13 pups.... 2 died during birth. She’s doing great ... feeding them every 2 hours. Pups are now3 weeks old, I noticed she started feeding the pups for very short periods... I declawed all the pups. Thinking it was their nails causing the discomfort... & the feed ups were almost back to normal. Finally I noticed her 4th teat on her right side started to swell. It also became very firm. I did some reading yesterday and did a warm compress ... milked the swollen teat, a greenish pus and a small amount of thickish milk came out. The more I compressed the more discharge.

Sept. 29, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If you are noticing a green discharge, she likely needs antibiotics. It would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian, as they will be able to assess what's going on and get a medication for her if needed. You have been doing a great job so far from what it sounds like, but sometimes they need medication. I hope that all goes well for her and the pups.

Oct. 3, 2020

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Australian Shepherd

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Abdomen

Swollen breasts. She is not pregnant.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, these emails are not set up for urgent messages. It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 14, 2020

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Morkie

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Bumps Around Her Nipples

Hi there, our puppy gave birth to 3 healthy puppies almost 3 months ago, she breast feed them for two months and they are doing great. Yesterday we notice that she has a little bumps right next on of her nipples, she's not in pain or bother by but we are just concern. She went to her vet two weeks ago, for her annual visit and shots and she was totally fine. Should we bring her to the vet or this is normal and will go away on her own?

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this venue is not set up to handle urgent emails. It is difficult to say without seeing the lumps, but if they are not bothering her, it would probably be okay to monitor them and see if they do resolve. If they are getting bigger, or causing her pain, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 14, 2020

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American Bully

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Firm Tits

My dog had mastitis in March. We had medicine, stopped puppies from nursing and I expressed her and used cabbage. My question is you can still tell which one was infected and is still slightly firm. She’s not bothered by it, she’s healthy and had a clean bill of health from vet. Should I be worried or is this normal?thank you

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in answering, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. It should be back to normal, I would think. If you still notice a different in the glands, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment for them.

Oct. 17, 2020

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Pitbull

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Drinking Alot Of Water And Crying

My dog had puppies 2 weeks ago and now she is crying like there is something wrong but i cant find anything wrong. And her tits are hard like where the milk is

Sept. 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I apologize for the delay in my reply, this venue is not set up for urgent emails. She may have an infection, and It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get any testing or treatment taken care of that might be needed.

Oct. 19, 2020

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abby

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Boston Terrier

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1 Year

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Infection

My boston terrier was throwing up after weaning off puppies. I noticed she had lumps around upper two nipples on the left side. I took her to the vet and he told me to monitor it and wanted me to go home. i told him something is wrong with her and he needs to do more work than just feel the lumps. I squeezed her nipples at the vet and noticed blood in those two nipple and the rest were milk. He prescribed me antibiotics amoxi. I am very disappointed in his work. They first week the swelling went down alot. Now she has like 4 to five small pea size knots where the swelling took place but it has been staying the same size the past 4 days. I called the vet and they prescribed me another weeks worth of antibiotics. Is this normal for the healing process of mastitis? The swollen pea size hard knots are probably 2 1/2 inches around nipple which i assume it is her mammary tract. im guessing maybe it is block by i guess dry milk inside her maybe? I just wanted to know is this normal for a dog to have to go through two weeks of antibiotics? I also wanted to know if it is normal for the swelling to go down to pea size knots and stay like that for four days? she is acting normal but i dont want it to get worse again.

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Lilith

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Mastitis

My female American pitbull terrier had a litter of 8 puppies. She's into her third week of nursing and I noticed one tit that is swollen and not giving off milk, I think its mastitis. What should I do for my nursing mom, she still needs to nurse for 3 more weeks.

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Mistry

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Labrador Retriever

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Our rescue 60-lb lab whelped 10 pups a week ago. The last one born, very small, died after 2 days but the rest are very vigorous and active. The mother seems to have plenty of milk (babies thriving, content), so we are not supplementing yet. She has developed firm lumps about 3 cm X 6 cm caudal to the third mammary glands, bilaterally. Those glands are not any redder than the others, and no feeling of warmth. She does not object to palpation. The puppies are still nursing on those teats and the milk *appears* normal. Is this potentially mastitis or is this a normal phenomenon?

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Pixy

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Mastitis

Hi my yellow lab developed mastitis and was successfully treated with antibiotics, warm compresses, and expressing the affected teat. I waited a week after treatment so 2 weeks total. She has started to dry up. I want to reunite mom and pups but they still want to nurse. They have been fully weaned and are eating dry food now and drinking water in their own. Will reuniting cause her to start producing milk again and possibly another case of mastitis? Can I reunite pups to mom or keep them seperate?

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pretty

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German Shepherd

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6 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Licking Teats

hi my german shephard female is about 5 years old she recently was diagnosed with mastitis and my vet said we needed to spay her and drain infected teats so i had the surgery done she has been recovering well and all seems normal so far so good then i noticed the last 3 days she is licking at her teats again but not as frequent as before the surgery is this normal ? i also noticed alittle bit of milk coming out of her teats as well .is this normal?? my dog has never had a litter either so i just need any advice i can get please help..thanks

Mastitis Average Cost

From 448 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

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