What Are the Symptoms of Mastitis in a Mother Dog?

Conspicuous redness of the glands is a telling sign of mastitis.
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After female dogs give birth to puppies, they occasionally experience mastitis, which is a kind of bacterial infection that appears in the breasts. If you have any reason to think a mama dog has this inflammatory condition, seek veterinary care for her as soon as possible -- no time for delay.

Mastitis Basics

When mother dogs lactate and nurse their puppies, their mammary glands are particularly vulnerable to infection, according to Richard and Susan Pitcairn, authors of "Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats." Bacteria is capable of traveling into the skin via openings made by puppies' tiny teeth and claws. When breasts experience this infection, it often spreads quickly. Some dogs have mastitis in several of their glands, while others have it in just one gland. If a dog is nurturing her youngsters in an unclean space, her chances of getting mastitis are increased, according to "The Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health." Dogs are often prone to mastitis when they give birth to small litters. When some of their teats are barely touched and they have a lot of milk, mastitis becomes a bigger risk.

Breast Appearance

If a mother dog has mastitis, it might be clear to you from simply looking at her breasts. Breasts with the infection tend to be tough to the touch, indicates Richard and Susan Pitcairn. These breasts also often develop a conspicuous purplish-red coloring. Abscesses are also common indications of mastitis in canines. Although you might not be able to tell from just looking at the mama, she might feel extremely uncomfortable due to soreness of her infected breasts. Physical contact often exacerbates the discomfort.

Ceasing Nursing

If a mother dog has mastitis, the swelling and soreness of her glands might stop her from feeding her youngsters entirely. If the mother denies her pups milk, it's crucial to immediately notify a veterinarian of the pressing matter. Not only do mother dogs with mastitis frequently stop nursing, the milk they produce often takes upon an atypical appearance, as well, whether with regard to its texture or coloring. It sometimes starts to look bloody or greenish-yellow. It occasionally even contains a lot of mucus. Since growing puppies need to eat frequently, it's vital to never ignore symptoms of this condition. When mothers have mastitis, their puppies often display poor development.

Other Overall Symptoms

When mastitis develops into an overall infection, mother dogs frequently exhibit symptoms beyond the state of their breasts or their milk. Depression, fever, exhaustion and loss of desire to eat are all common symptoms of mastitis. As soon as you detect any hints of mastitis, take your pet to the vet. The vet can assess your pet's situation and then figure out the most appropriate mode of management, whether it involves first aid or antibiotics.