Overview of Mammary Gland Swelling in Dogs
Mammary gland swelling in dogs is a thickening, proliferation of tissue or a lump in the mammary glands (breasts) and in the surrounding tissue. The mammary glands are comprised of two rows of subcutaneous (under the skin) glandular tissue around each nipple and are located on either side of the dog’s ventral (underside) surface. The two rows extend from the area near the underarms to the inguinal region near the genitalia. Generally, there are five glands in each row. Swellings may occur in one or all of the glands.
Mammary gland swellings are much more common in intact female dogs, particularly during or after heat cycles, lactation and parturition. Dogs are more commonly affected than cats.
Causes of Canine Mammary Gland Swelling
Swellings of the mammary glands may be due to normal hormonal changes or be associated with disease. Normal swellings of the glands occur during the heat cycle, pregnancy and lactation. Abnormal swellings of the glands are associated with:
What to Watch For
Diagnosis of Mammary Gland Swelling in Dogs
Treatment of Mammary Gland Swelling in Dogs
Many times no treatment is necessary and the swellings resolve on their own. In dogs, additional treatment may include:
Limit stress and activity. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication might be able to be used after consulting with your veterinarian. Warm water or cold water compresses can help reduce swelling in some dogs.