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Mastitis in dogs

Mastitis en perros

Lobo Azul |

Mastitis in dogs is a disease that is located in the mammary glands of females, almost always when they are raising puppies, but sometimes even if there is a psychological pregnancy, something that is more common than we think.


Canine mastitis is nothing more than an inflammation of the female breasts, which may or may not be accompanied by infection, since sometimes there is only swelling.

Among the most common causes is the way in which puppies obtain their mother's milk, especially when they get a little older and gain weight. Then they press hard on the breasts with their paws and nails, causing small injuries .

This is usually combined with a lowering of the mother's defenses, which makes it easier for inflammation and infection to occur, which would not otherwise occur.

On other occasions it is not necessary to have puppies suckling, since sometimes mastitis appears in psychological pregnancies. The dog is not pregnant, but she believes she is and the body acts accordingly.

In fact, even though there is no actual pregnancy, the breasts become swollen and hard, which sometimes leads to mastitis.

How to know if my dog ​​has mastitis

The diagnosis must be made by a veterinarian , but we must be attentive to our dog if she has puppies, checking her breasts regularly in order to see if we notice them very hot, hard or swollen.

Furthermore, in the event that our dog changes behavior, it is also the first thing we should look at, in case she had a psychological pregnancy that has led to mastitis.

If you are breeding, not only will we notice mastitis in our dog, but the puppies can also put us on alert , for example, if we notice that they stop gaining weight.

In any case, a visit to our trusted veterinarian will provide us with an accurate diagnosis in order to act accordingly, which always begins by removing the puppies, otherwise the problem will only get worse and worse.

This professional can do different tests, but sometimes a physical examination and taking the dog's temperature are enough. In order to be sure, you can analyze the breast secretions if there are any or perform a milk culture.


There are several symptoms that are common to all dogs with mastitis, although it is true that sometimes it is not easy to associate them with this pathology if we do not do an examination, since some, such as fatigue, are associated with breeding, especially if there are many puppies.

Thus, with mastitis the first thing we notice is that the dog is very tired and fatigued, moving less than normal or moving very slowly. We should not think that it is a breastfeeding thing, especially if you have also lost your appetite.

If, despite having several puppies suckling, they do not eat, it is best to start the examination as soon as possible.

What do we notice in the breasts of a dog with mastitis?

With this disease in mind, we are going to explore the breasts and we may see other very clear symptoms, such as very swollen and hard breasts, which may hurt if we explore and touch them.

At this point it is common for the mother to avoid breastfeeding the puppies , since they cause her quite strong pain that she can no longer bear.

In turn, the area around the breasts is likely to be red and irritated or even have some lumps or bumps.

Other symptoms, among the clearest, are hemorrhagic secretions with pus , perhaps what alerts us the most, since we all know that milk is neither red nor green.

You may also have vomiting, diarrhea and fever, although of course the most obvious signs are those we see in the breast area.

Puppies also suffer from some symptoms

Although puppies do not catch mastitis, not even when it occurs as an infection, they do present symptoms that also indicate that the mother may suffer from this problem.

Suddenly, we notice that they are not gaining weight as they should. In fact, they even lose weight because they do not breastfeed enough, because their mother prevents them from doing so.

Their activity also drops . The once restless puppies that didn't stop moving are now weak and complain all day, as if they were hungry.

As if that were not enough, they can have diarrhea and vomit, in addition to losing their hair due to lack of nutrients by not ingesting all the milk they need.


At first, and if caught in time, mastitis is not a serious disease, but it can get worse if it goes unnoticed.

Treatment begins with a broad-spectrum antibiotic such as amoxicillin for about two to three weeks. After that time, if the mastitis has not disappeared or subsided almost completely, it is necessary to do a culture.

With this, you can see which specific bacteria is causing mastitis and you can prescribe the best antibiotic to eliminate it.

In addition, the veterinarian will give the female an anti-inflammatory in order to relieve the pain as soon as possible and reduce the swelling, which will be accompanied by a prescription so that we can give her tablets at home for a few days.

Another treatment consists of removing the milk that is retained and if there are wounds in the breast area, some treatment can be applied (even a natural one) with the idea that it improves as soon as possible.

There are serious cases in which the dog has to undergo surgery, since all the pus accumulated in the mammary glands must be drained and a mastectomy may be a good decision.

To finish the treatment, at first the veterinarian will probably give the dog an intravenous serum with some vitamins or even glucose, especially if she has a fever or seems very weak.


We already know the symptoms and the treatment, but the most important thing is the prevention of mastitis in dogs, since puppies have to suck and nothing is better than doing it with their mother, ingesting natural milk.

We will start with breast hygiene. Once or twice a day we will clean them with water and a sterile gauze , something that will not affect the puppies, as they will not perceive any strange taste.

This will allow us to immediately notice if the breasts are changing or there is a problem that leads to mastitis.

The puppies are also part of the prevention, so with the same procedure we are going to clean their paws, eliminating dirt and feces, which we do not want to end up in the mother's breasts.

Finally, when the puppies are suckling you have to see if they are doing it from all the teats. If they leave one, we will take one of the puppies and put it to suck there, since it is essential that all the mothers "work" and allow milk to come out through them so as not to cause retention.

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