Canine mastitis: what is it and why does it occur?

Like us, pets also suffer from a variety of health problems that, in addition to causing discomfort, can lead to more serious complications.

For this reason, it is important to pay attention to the pet and keep it in a place that is always clean and airy, with everything it needs at hand (water, feed, toys, etc.).

Let’s talk about canine mastitis, to understand a little more about a disease that affects female dogs and very rarely males, as it is more related to pregnancy and lactation.

What is mastitis in the dog (canine)?

Canine mastitis is an inflammation of the mammary glands, caused by bacteria, which can affect female dogs during or after pregnancy and even in cases of psychological pregnancy. In addition, it can appear in one or several breasts. Mastitis is quite common and it takes a lot of attention from pet owners.

It modifies the tissue of the mammary glands and the composition of the milk, which can harm the babies that are breastfeeding, as the milk becomes toxic due to the infection and loses part of its nutrients.

Causes

The main cause of canine mastitis is the decrease in the mother’s defenses after delivery, which is vulnerable to infectious organisms that settle in the breasts, causing infection.

This can happen while the puppies suckle. That’s because they hold the mother’s breast to express the milk and end up biting or scratching, causing wounds that are the gateway for germs to settle.

Bacteria such as Staphlococcus aureus , Escheria coli and Streptococcus sp , can multiply, destroy cells and cause infections. If left untreated, mastitis can even cause the dog to die if the infection spreads.

In cases of psychological pregnancy (pseudocyesis), the dog thinks she will have puppies and, thus, the mammary glands can even produce milk.

When produced in large quantities, milk can become blocked in the breasts, as there are no puppies to suckle, and end up creating lumps and inflammation.

Another possible cause for mastitis, however less common, is the use of contraceptives in bitches, which some people resort to in order not to perform the castration in the animal.

The contraceptive contains a high dose of hormones that can cause tumors not only in the breasts, but also in the uterus and ovaries.

What are the symptoms and signs of canine mastitis?

There are several signs that may indicate that the female has mastitis. If she is pregnant, breastfeeding, had a psychological pregnancy or was breastfeeding and suddenly stopped, she will possibly have mastitis.

For the diagnosis, it is important to observe some signs that, if manifested, it is indicated to seek veterinary guidance to perform the necessary exams and start treatment as soon as possible.

Observe signs such as:

  • Hardening of the breasts and swelling;
  • Refusal to breastfeed the pups (in cases of female breastfeeding);
  • The dog seems to experience local pain;
  • Secretions coming out of the breasts;
  • Lack of appetite;
  • Apathy;
  • Vomiting;
  • Discomfort;
  • Fever;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Irritability.

A possible consequence of the worsening of mastitis is the appearance of tumors in the breasts, which can even lead the pet to death.

In addition, puppies that are still breastfeeding may also have health problems, such as malnutrition, due to lack of milk or complications from ingesting contaminated milk.

Is there a cure?

Yes. Mastitis is curable when it is identified before possible complications and proper treatment is started.

Canine mastitis have treatment? What to do?

Canine mastitis has treatments, which are indicated according to the severity of the problem. They can vary between antibiotics , anti-inflammatories and even surgery or they can be done simultaneously.

In less severe cases, only the medication can resolve and eliminate the infection. It is recommended to make hot water compresses to relieve pain and reduce swelling.

In the most severe cases, surgery may be indicated to drain abscesses (pus bags) from the mammary glands. The options are the removal of the wounds (debridement) or the complete removal of the breast (mastectomy).

When the problem is identified, the best thing to do is to seek veterinary guidance as soon as possible, so that appropriate treatment and necessary care for the animal can be indicated.

What is the remedy for canine mastitis?

There are two types of remedies to treat canine mastitis, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. Both must be indicated by a veterinarian (a) because you should not medicate your pet without the guidance of specialists in the subject.

When there are wounds on the female’s breasts, healing ointments may also be indicated to close the wound quickly, as they are the gateway for bacteria.

Check out some medication options below:

Antibiotic

Treatment with antibiotics serves to inhibit the growth of bacteria and eliminate them, thus controlling the infection caused by them. It lasts about 2 to 3 weeks and the most suitable drugs are:

  • Amoxicillin ;
  • Amoxicillin / Synulox clavulanic acid ;
  • Cephalexin;
  • Cefoxitina.

Anti-inflammatory

Anti-inflammatory drugs are drugs that fight tissue inflammation. They work by also minimizing symptoms such as redness and swelling, fever and pain.

  • Maxicam;
  • Ketofen ;
  • Carprodyl.

Ointments

Ointments act as a complement to medications and help in cases of external wounds. They help to fight the microorganisms responsible for superficial bacterial infections.

Check out some options:

  • Furanyl ;
  • Vetaglós ;
  • Neodexa F.

Homemade treatment for canine mastitis

Some treatments can be done at home to relieve the pet’s pain and treat the wounds. Here are some options:

Massage

To help stimulate the unblocking of milk vessels in the female, a light massage can be done with the fingertips around the breasts, as this helps to not block the milk.

An option to assist in massage is to use castor or almond oil. Drop a few drops of oil on your hands to massage the pet. When finished, wash the area with warm water and mild soap.

Compresses

The compresses are very good for relieving the symptoms of mastitis and can be done with several infusions. To prepare them just add the spice in hot water and cover. As soon as the water is warm, the infusion can be used.

The procedure is simple, just wet a clean cloth or gauze in the preparation and then make a compress on the pet’s breasts. Let it act for about 20 minutes, wetting the cloth little by little in the infusion.

Check out some of the spices that can be used:

  • Rosemary: reduces the pain and swelling caused by the infection, as it contains anti-inflammatory substances;
  • Thyme: it is a powerful antibacterial and natural disinfectant. It helps to clean and treat the wounds, in addition to reducing local swelling;
  • Chamomile: increases the activity of the immune system and fights infections as it is a natural healing agent.

Canine mastitis and psychological pregnancy

Mastitis cases during a psychological pregnancy (pseudocyesis) are less common, but they can occur in advanced stages of pseudocyesis.

In these stages, the female organism understands that it needs to stimulate the mammary glands to produce milk. This can cause fissures in the breasts, which can become infected with bacteria and result in mastitis.

This milk can still become stoned, as it is not extracted by puppies, and can cause complications and aggravation in the case of mastitis.

How to prevent the disease?

Mastitis can be easily avoided, however, it will be necessary to take extra care with the pet on the part of those responsible.

It is necessary to regularly observe the breasts, especially in females who are pregnant or breastfeeding, to check that they are normal.

If they are stiff, sore, red and bleeding, this can be a sign of canine mastitis. It is advisable to take the female immediately to the veterinary office in these cases.

Some constant care is essential to prevent the disease:

  • Keep the dog’s breasts always clean during pregnancy or breastfeeding. This prevents moisture from being a place prone to the proliferation of germs and bacteria;
  • Keep the place where the puppies stay clean. This prevents them from stepping on the dirt and transferring to the mother’s breast while breastfeeding;
  • Keep the puppies’ nails trimmed at all times to prevent them from causing sores on the mother’s chest;
  • During breastfeeding, make sure that all the breasts are used by the puppies, so that there is no stony milk in any of them.

Another effective way to prevent mastitis is castration, as it reduces the risk of infections and tumors related to the reproductive system (breasts, uterus and ovaries) and reduces the chances of a psychological pregnancy.


Canine mastitis is a serious disease that can be prevented if proper care is taken. Always stay tuned to identify any changes in your pet’s behavior.

Most problems, when identified in advance, are more likely to be solved in a way that does not cause complications for your pet.

Keep following the Healthy Minute if you like to know more about pets and share our content with those who also have pets.

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