Bacterial Infection of the Breast in Dogs

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If the breast infection is not too severe, your dog's puppies may be allowed to continue nursing (this is the ideal option, as it is best for the health of both mother and puppies), unless the glands contain dead tissue, or because the mother is systemically ill and it is not safe for her or the puppies to nurse. In those cases, your dog will be admitted into a hospital until she is stable.

Your veterinarian will caution you to pay special attention to the antibiotics that are being used, any reaction your dog or her puppies might have to the medication, and the continued weight gain of the little ones. In case of dehydration or sepsis, intravenous fluid therapy will be ordered to correct electrolyte imbalances and hypoglycemia. Shock is also a possibility, which will be treated accordingly.

Often, veterinarians recommend that you apply warm compress and milk out the affected gland(s) several times daily to keep the milk ducts clear. Application of cabbage leaf wraps to the affected glands may speed resolution of the swelling and help bring comfort to your dog. Abscessed or gangrenous glands, on the other hand, will require surgical removal.

Living and Management

The prognosis of a dog with mastitis is good with treatment. Discuss with your veterinarian a proper diet for the dog if she is nursing. However, if the bitch does not progress well enough to care for her pups on her own, you will need to hand-raise them, which requires considerable commitment. Your veterinarian will make recommendations as to the best feeding methods for the puppies.


In addition to keeping the living area clean, shaving hair from around the mammary glands may prevent reinfection. Clipping the nails of the puppies to prevent scratching of the mother's skin and making certain that all mammary glands are used for nursing can also lower the risk of infection.

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