9 year old Doberman producing milk from her nipples

Our question this week was:

Hello Dr Debra,

I have a 9-year-old Doberman, and she is having milk coming from her nipples, and they are quite big, she has already had the left side of her nipples removed, please help or advise on how to stop the milk coming out and to get her nipple back to there normal size, thanking you for your time, please help.

Regards Melanie

Answer

Hi Melanie – thanks for your email. You emailed that your 9-year-old Doberman is having milk coming from her nipples on one side. You also mentioned she had the other side removed and you want advice on how to stop the milk.

My first question is – WHY is she having milk. Dogs can have "milk" for several reasons. They include:

  • Preparing to whelp (have puppies) – before a dog has puppies, she will start to produce milk. This should not be the case (I hope not) on a 9-year-old Doberman.
  • Actively nursing puppies (I also doubt this or at least I hope this is not the case).
  • False pregnancy – This is a condition when a dog will have both physical and psychological changes suggesting pregnancy. The dog will produce milk and can engage in nesting type behavior. This occurs to dogs that are not spayed – often with symptoms starting about 4 weeks or so after their last heat cycle. Most dogs will resolve these symptoms on their own in a few weeks without treatment. If symptoms are severe, some veterinarians will treat with hormonal drugs to stop milk production.
  • Cancer – Some dogs with cancer can have abnormal mammary gland secretions. I'd be worry about this since you said she had one side of her mammary chain removed – the most common reason to have this surgery is cancer. And with her age, this is a worrisome possibility.

    I'd recommend that you take your dog to your veterinarian to help determine which of the above is the underlying cause for your dog's problem.

    An article that might be helpful to you is on our Petplace.com is "Pseudocyesis o False Pregnancy in Dogs" and "Mammary Gland Tumors in Dogs".

    Best of luck!

    Dr. Debra

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