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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.

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Mastitis Average Cost

From 448 quotes ranging from $200 - $800

Average Cost

$500

Symptoms of Mastitis in Dogs

Your dog may exhibit several different signs. 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 may 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, may 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 approximately 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. This treatment will not be helpful, and will likely be harmful, if this is not the cause of the problem.  

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 that 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 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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Written by hannah hollinger

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Published: 11/29/2016, edited: 04/20/2021

Mastitis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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American Bully

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

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Unknown severity

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Noisy Breathing

She has small likes pox around the base of her nipples

Dec. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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8 Recommendations

Unfortunately the link to the picture isn't working; it may be worth re-posting it. All nipples should appear similar and be symmetrical. There should not be any growths from then and they should not be bothering her. At her age, the cause of her symptoms is unlikely to be sinister but it may be sensible to have a vet assess things in person. Potential causes would include warts or an infection.

Dec. 27, 2020

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Mixed

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One Year

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6 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Before I headed to work I noticed that one of my l dogs breasts was swollen and wanted to see if I should be concerned of what it possibly could be.

Dec. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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6 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to examine your dog, it is hard to say what might be going on. It could be mastitis if she is near heat or has had puppies. Or it could be a normal hormonal change if she is just in heat and everything else is okay. If you are concerned, the best thing to do would be to have her seen by a veterinarian.

Dec. 23, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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Three Years

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Female dog had pups to nights ago nipples are discolored and painful to feed pups. Mama may have possible Mastitis. Is there someway to shield/cover nipples. So pups can remain with mama but not be able to feed until she is healthy

Nov. 22, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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4 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. There is not a way to Shield the nipples, the infection will spread to the other mammary glands, most likely. She needs antibiotics, as mastitis can become quite serious and life-threatening if not addressed. I hope that she and the puppies are okay.

Nov. 22, 2020

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Shih Tzu

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Eleven Years

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4 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Mastitis

My dog has mastitis and the vet gave her antibiotics. At first her nipple looked purple and bruised and now it looks opened and raw. Will it dry up? The vets in our area will not take new patients. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you.

Nov. 13, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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4 Recommendations

Hi there, I'm very sorry she is experiencing this. That is a severe infection and she needs urgent vet care. She is at risk of blood poisoning and even death. She needs anti inflammatories and pain relief and will also likely require medicated washes and daily dressing changes. We should swab the lesion to determine which bacteria are present so the correct antibiotics can be prescribed. Emergency vets are open despite the pandemic.

Nov. 13, 2020

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Siberian Husky

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3 years

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2 found helpful

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Soar Red Tits Really Irriated

My baby girl gave birth 4 weeks ago she has stopped nursing and her tits are really red and they are hurting her alot. What can i give her or put on them?

Nov. 8, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Linda S. MVB MRCVS

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2 Recommendations

Hi there. She may have an infection called mastitis. She should have a vet check and will likely need some pain relief, antibiotics and anti-inflammatories. Your vet may also discuss how to apply compresses and milk out infection.

Nov. 8, 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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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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0 found helpful

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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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Mild severity

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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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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

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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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