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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Caked Breasts (Galactostasis)

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Condition Overview

Milk accumulation in late pregnancy and during lactation may increase to the point where the teats become distended, painful, and warm. They are not infected and the dam does not appear sick.

Symptoms

The teats become distended, painful, and warm.

Causes

Caking of the mammary glands also occurs during false pregnancy when there are no puppies to remove the milk. This may also occur when the litter is small and the dam has extra milk.

Diagnosis

Caked breasts should be distinguished from the swollen breasts that develop when milk fails to let down after whelping.

Treatment

Withhold water for 6 - 10 hours. Also withhold food for 24 hours and modestly restrict food intake for the next 3 days. Your veterinarian may prescribe a diuretic such as furosemide (Lasix).

Dogs with a false pregnancy often exhibit an excessive mothering instinct that includes licking and stimulating the teats, which makes matters worse. This can be prevented (in part) by giving a mild tranquilizer prescribed by your veterinarian. Hormonal therapy to dry up the breasts may be considered in cases of false pregnancy.

Prevention

The only prevention for this condition is to have the dog spayed.

Support

Please contact your veterinarian with questions regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +

Sources

Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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