Canine Mammary Gland Problems
My dog recently gave birth to puppies 3 days ago. All of the swelling to her teats decreased except the left rear one. That one is MUCH larger and now there appears to be some blood/discharge coming from it? What is it and what should I do?
The most likely explanation is a condition known as mastitis, which is defined as swelling and inflammation of the mammary gland. The underlying cause can be physical trauma (think of all of those sharp, little puppy teeth) or infectious or both! This condition is most likely right after birth because there is increased blood flow to the mammary glands and the teat canal (where the milk exits the body) is open to the environment to allow milk to flow. This open canal allows bacteria to invade the gland and set up an infection. The most common bacteria to cause infection are Staphylococci, Streptococci and/or Escherichia coli. Treatment can include antibiotics, warm compresses and even manual or surgical expression of the gland.
Since there are other possible causes for the swelling and discharge and because growing puppies are relying on this milk for nutrition, it is VERY important to make an appointment with your veterinarian so that a proper diagnosis can be made. Puppies should not drink milk from severely infected mammary glands and nutritional support may need to be provided to the litter until the mammary gland is healed
Mastitis can be a treatable illness, but if left too long both the mother and the puppies can become very ill.