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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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Dachshund

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Has Symptoms

Swollen Breast

My dog breast are swollen like they are filled with milk but she not pregnant and my other dog is always licking these little hole areas on her tummy they should show up in the picture

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It sounds like she may have an infection, and should probably be seen by a veterinarian who can examine her. They will be able to see what is causing these problems on her belly, and see what medication she might need so that they are better. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 6, 2020

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Pit Bull

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One Year

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Painful Urination

My dog is pregnant and she will not walk on her back right leg but will walk around fine on the others. Also only one boob is more swallow than the other and it’s the one right by the hurt leg. She can’t move or walk barley. But she is about to have her puppies and it’s been like this for almost 24 hours

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. She may have a mastitis, or an infection. This will not get better without treatment. It would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian right away, as she will probably need to have that treated before she has puppies. I hope that all goes well for her.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Redness

Will the puppies be harmed if they are feeding off of infected mother on antibiotics?? She has been diagnosed with mastitis.

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Amoxicillin is a safe antibiotic for nursing mothers. Depending on the level of infection, or the number of teats involved, you may need to bottle feed some of the babies. Without knowing how many puppies there are or how many nipples are affected, it is hard for me to say. That may be a question that you ask your veterinarian says they have examined her and know more about the situation. I hope that everything goes fine with all of the dogs and that everybody is back to being healthy soon.

July 27, 2020

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Doberman Pinscher

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Nipple, Yellow Bile

This is the first time I’ve seen her one swollen nipple ( it’s big and feels bumpy, hard to describe.) and today she threw up some yellow bile. I am wondering if her current dog food is affecting her gastrointestinal system because she looks skinny- eats a lot but doesn’t seem To gain weight. Maybe her swollen nipple is the issue?

July 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. Dogs can develop mammary tumors, and the tumors can make them ill, yes. Without being able to see her, I can't say if it is a tumor, and infection, or something else, but it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. They will be able to examine her, see what is going on, and let you know what treatment options there are. I hope that she does well.

July 27, 2020

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Pit Bull

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One Year

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Swollen Nipples

My pup had her first heat and me and my girl thought one of the dogs around the nieghbor hood got to her buts it been over 2 months and her nipples are swollen one of the back ones are red and to .y knowledge she is not pregnant can u help with this problem

July 26, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. There are many hormonal changes that can occur in dogs when they are not spayed, or when they are pregnant. Dogs are pregnant for about 2 months, but it can be a couple of weeks during the heat cycle so if it's only been a little bit over two months, she may be pregnant. Otherwise, she may have an infection, or a mastitis, or a problem. If the nipples don't become normal, it would probably be best to have her seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to let you know if there's a problem or if everything is okay. Also, if you're not planning on breeding her on purpose, it might be a good idea to have her spayed so that she doesn't have any problems. That is something that you can talk to a veterinarian about as well. I hope that all goes well for her.

July 26, 2020

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abby

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Boston Terrier

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1 Year

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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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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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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