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My fourteen month old bitch has swollen mammary glands. She was in season a month ago, her first, and showed little signs of it. I removed her from the other dogs but here she is looking about 5 weeks gone. If that were her only problem I wouldnt be so anxious but a week ago she appeared to be in pain in her hind quarters, especially on the right and very stiff.She also had a temperature. I went to the vet who said she didnt look pregnant to him and x-rayed her and put her on a high dose of anti-biotics. I go back to him tomorrow for the results.I do not have much faith in the vet and may change him.What I need to know is could the pups be pressing on a nerve or bladder. Do dogs have a sciatic nerve? She has good days and bad days when she groans a lot. She eats tasty food only and her bowels and bladder are working. I am worried anti-biotics and x-ray may harm the pups.

It is really difficult to find a vet who knows about farm dogs over here.They scare you to death with all kinds of possibilities, keep bringing you back to surgery over many miles and charge the earth.

Someone please help!The bitch just lies around all the time and she is normally so lively and had a great future ahead of her.

Viv Billingham

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Bearing in mind I can't see her or her test results...


She could have mammary development from doing a false pregnancy (all dogs do a false pregnancy, but not all dogs are symptomatic with it.) A few dogs will have morning sickness with either a real or false pregnancy, and some that have a false pregnancy also gain weight. However, usually they don't develop a big abdomen, fever or pain. If there is any possibilty that she may be pregnant, I'd advise pursuing that a little - over here I'd do an ultrasound (or do you call them sonograms over there?) to rule out pregnancy or another possibilty, pyometra (uterine infection). These are unusual in young dogs, but I've seen them in bitches less than a year of age. They generally occur anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks after the heat is over, though 4 to 6 weeks is average. The other advantage of ultrasound is that it would detect free fulid in the abdomen from other causes, and you can assess the bladder (sometimes dogs with bladder stones are painful). If she is pregnant, Xrays can count pups 6 weeks after implantation (I usually go 7 weeks, though, because there's more calcium in the skeletons then and they're easier to count.) Two or three Xrays should not harm the puppies. I don't know what antibiotic she's on, but many of them are safe in pregnancy. (BTW, a sonogram can detect the presence of pups and tell if there are beating hearts, but it's a lousy way to try to count how many puppies. They are very non-invasive, though you may have to shave a little belly hair.)


If she is pregnant, she might be uncomfortable (and tired!) from that (especially if it's a big litter); but it's also possible that the signs of pregnancy are independant of the pain and fever, and that the two have nothing to do with each other. If it is just fatigue and nausea associated with pregnancy, it probably isn't too serious. Some of the other stuff maybe a bit more so, but there's lots that can be done.


Has she had any vaginal discharge? is she drinking or urinating more than usual (either volume or frequency)? is there any discharge from her nipples? is the mammary tissue pliant, or is it hard and hot?


Dogs do have a sciatic nerve, but it runs sort of from the top of the hip joint parallel to the spine and then down the back of the hind leg; I doubt that's the problem, though, because sciatic injury is uncommon in dogs unless there's been some kind of trauma like being hit by a car or stomped on by a moose or kicked by a horse or something. If there were a spinal injury (which could cause sciatic injury) probably either you'd know about a traumatic episode, or some spinal changes would have been seen on the Xrays.


Good luck with this, and I hope the tests turn up something concrete (although they don't always - that's the nature of medicine, alas.) I'll keep an eye on the thread for developments.

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In 35 years, I`ve never had a bitch show these signs from pregnancy. Even with big litters, they are pretty amazingly normal. If you are concerned about damaged pups,(too late), you could do an emergency hysterectomy, and remove anything that is harmful, such as a ruptured ovary tube, or a closed pyometra. There are also hormone procedures to terminate the pregnancy at about four weeks. I`ve had a few closed pyometras, and the bitches drink a lot - very noticably. It sounds you have a less common problem, and what the dog doc said would be really important to quickly follow when the dog is so uncomfortable.

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I would certainly get a second opinion if you're not comfortable with the first. You know the dog better than any vet, and recognize that something isn't right. I'd consider ultrasound immediately, and check for pyometra, ectopic, et.

Good luck, Viv.



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Hello to old friends!!

Thankyou for your helpful replies which are very much appreciated. After putting on my thinking cap I think I've cracked my bitches problem She is very heavy and quite long in the back. She went lame in the back end before after working on the hill. I rested her and was given anti-biotics and anti-inflam pills for her. She appeared fine 24hrs later.

This time she had been working on the hill and Often a dog that doesnt know the ground can "Hit a drain"(A deep ditch hidden by grass in summer.) I now believe this is what caused the oedema. A dog I have had similar symptoms earlier this year resulting in a haematoma on the hip.

Is what I believe to have happened feasible? She definitely isn't pregnant and with the help of the anti-biotics the swelling has gone down.

Kind regards Viv

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That's certainly possible... has the mammary swelling gone away? If she's well now, it may not matter so much what caused it so long as it doen't come back. I'm glad she's definitely not pregnant - that could certainly complicate things in all sorts of ways.


If she did a pretty hard belly-flop she might have had minor internal organ injury (bruising) that might have made her be sore, mopey and anorexic; sometimes they can hemtoma the spleen, which can bleed like mad internally and might cause abdominal distension, plus they're tired from the blood loss (but the body reabsorbs that in a few days and recycles it, so not a disaster if it isn't a catastophic bleed initially, or an ongoing repeated bleed). That might explain all the signs you saw.


I'm glad she feels better, at any rate.

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