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Do you plan to breed your Mastiff bitch? Mastitis is a familiar setback to just about every Mastiff breeder. It happens all to frequently that the milk becomes infected or turns sour and puppies must discontinue nursing on the dam and be raised by hand thereafter.

One of our list members recently had a litter of puppies and there was no surprise for her when the bitch developed problematic milk. To her great surprise, and to the surprise of many of us long time breeders, her bitch developed what is known as "gangrene mastitis." What follows is the day by day description to the list members of what was happening with this hideous infection.

"Just got back from the vet. What the dam has is "Gangrene Mastitis". Apparently it is quite rare in dogs. She was seen by 3 different vets and all said they've never seen it in a dog but do see it quite frequently in cows.

The vet said once it started there was no stopping it till it runs its course. The vet lanced it so it would drain but nothing came out except gas and bubbles. It is caused by an areobic bacteria (bacteria that does not require oxygen to grow). The end result will be she will loose the teat. The black skin is dead and will slough off leaving a huge hole that will drain.

The vet will not do surgery at this point as he wants her on strong antibiotics first so it doesn't spread when he does the surgery.

Treatment is Hydrotherapy (I have to spray it down several times / day with a water force to stimulate circulation in the rest of the teat) and cephalexin and he's put her on Memonidazone (sp, can't read his writing) at the same time.

He said to stop moist heat, it isn't going to help. But continue the massage along with the hydrotherapy.

Today is day THREE of the Mastitis. I just spoke with the vet again and reported her progress. Seems to me it should be bandaged, but he definitely wants to leave it open and draining. We are continuing hydrotherapy (water flush) and antibiotics (2 kinds). He said since there is no blood supply in the area, antibiotics will not reach it anyway. They are for the rest of her system and the part of the teat that is getting blood supply."

On day FOUR after the onset of the gangrene mastitis, it seems to have slowed its progress. Temperature is back to normal and she's eating well. She's still on massive doses of 2 different antibiotics and Vit C; and we are continuing the Hydrotherapy (water flush). After doing some research on Mastitis I also put her on Zinc, selenium, and Vit E.

The nipple is completely necrotic and just hanging on by one edge. The hole in the teat is the size of a golf ball and you can clearly see a deep cavity (approx. 3" deep) inside the teat. Inside it appears to be healthy tissue. I do not detect any necrotic tissue inside at all.

The outside area of the teat has become hot, hard, and red; just like classic Mastitis. I feel it is interesting to note that while this is usually the first sign of classic Mastitis, our dam never had this symptom until today; day 4.

Her first symptom was high temperature, and excessive swelling of the teat. It was not hard, hot, and red like classic Mastitis; just very swollen.

Her second symptom appeared within 12 hrs. The skin peeled from around the nipple and she began vomiting accompanied by a 104.5 temp.

Within 24 hrs the nipple turned black. Temperature fluctuated between 104 - 102 degrees.

Less than 36 hrs later the tissue became necrotic and sloughed off on one side. Bloody discharge drained from the teat accompanied with what appeared to be milk.

After 48 hrs approximately 1/3 of the necrotic tissue of the nipple remained exposing what appeared to be healthy tissue inside of the deep cavity of the teat. Drainage reduced to a sepage."

Pictures shown in the order of progression:

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