Signs of Mastitis in Dogs

By Naomi Millburn

Telling symptoms signify mastitis in nursing dogs, among them inadequate maternal behaviors and the swelling of the mammary glands. Since this mammary gland bacterial infection is often extremely uncomfortable and painful for affected dogs, it's important to be aware of the warning signs.

Common Mastitis Causes

Mastitis is a health condition characterized by milk duct infection. Lactating gland injury can cause mastitis. Some nursing dogs experience injuries when they feed their puppies. Puppies' toenails can injure their mothers. Infections that pervade bloodstreams can cause mastitis. Ascending infections can be responsible for mastitis, too. In ascending situations, bacteria that originates outside goes to the urinary tracts and fills the bladder with infection. Some bacteria that typically cause mastitis are Staphylococci, β-hemolytic Streptococci and Escherichia coli.

Susceptible Animals

Some dogs have higher chances of developing mastitis than others. If a lactating dog is older, the risk of mastitis is greater. If a dog is of a breed characterized by short legs, mastitis is a bigger possibility, too -- canines with shorter legs have more mammary gland injuries. Sanitation issues can also sometimes bring upon mastitis in dogs. If a lactating dog is kept in a dirty environment, she's at a stronger risk for mastitis.

Typical Mastitis Symptoms

Typical symptoms of mastitis in lactating dogs include reduced energy levels, exhaustion and appetite loss. When dogs have mastitis, their mammary glands are swollen, warm and painful. These glands also sometimes emit a substance that's similar to pus. If a dog has mastitis, she might appear to not tend to her young. This is due to the excessive pain she might experience any time she tries to feed them. Her puppies, as a result, might not develop properly. They might cry a lot, too.

If a dog's mammary glands have systemic participation, septic shock and death are serious risks. Systemic involvement can also bring upon symptoms such as dehydration and fever.

Veterinary Evaluation and Treatment

If your dog displays indications of mastitis, take her to the veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian will analyze whether your dog has mastitis by conducting a thorough physical examination. The vet might perform tests that pertain to complete blood count, fluid analysis and bacterial culture. Make sure to provide your vet an in-depth history of your dog's condition and details of his current symptoms. If you have any ideas of what could have potentially triggered the mastitis, let the vet know.

Common forms of mastitis treatment for dogs include systemic antibiotic therapy, the flushing of affected mammary glands, and topical compresses with warm water. If your pet's mammary glands have a particularly serious situation, the vet might suggest mastectomy, or gland extraction. Intravenous fluid treatment is often employed for dogs with septic or systemic cases.