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Dogs
Dogs, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 83
Experience:  I have spent many years in mixed practice, dealing with pet, working and show dogs alike.
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excessive licking of the mammary area, panting a lot, not off

Customer Question

excessive licking of the mammary area, panting a lot, not off food and water but looks slightly distressed as though she doesn't know what is wrong with her she is nearly seven and I have only had her for two months so I haven't got historical behaviour pattern
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 3 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry that your question wasn't answered in a timely manner. I understand your constraints. It would be helpful to know when Tiggy's last heat cycle ended because licking her mammary glands is one of the symptoms of pseudocyesis (false pregnancy). Of course she would need to be intact (unspayed) to become falsely pregnant - a common state of affairs in dogs.
Supportive evidence of pseudocyesis includes mammary engorgement, lactation, and aberrant maternal behavior (nesting, digging, adoption of animals or objects). The mammary gland changes can range from turgid nipples to painful engorgement and galactostasis (milk impaction). I rarely need to treat false pregnancy but terribly uncomfortable dogs can be treated with a dopamine agonist such as cabergoline.
Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Expert:  Dogs replied 3 years ago.
Hi there,
I see this question has popped up on the system again, so assume you're still having problems. I agree with Dr Salkin that a false pregnancy would fit the symptoms you describe. If you've only just got her I take it you may not know if she's intact or spayed - gently roll her over and, if she will let you, look for a 3 to 4-inch scar just behind her belly button. If there's no scar then we can assume a false pregnancy is happening.
These cases often need no treatment, but the persistent ones, and the ones where the dog is distressed or uncomfortable can be softly treated with extra exercise, cutting back the food ration by a third, and removing any toys or extra nesting materials until the signs subside. In your case, I would go for the next option which is treatment with a drug such as Galastop from your vet. This consists of drops for her food and is very effective.
If this has happened once then it may well happen again at her next season, and each time increases her risk of an infected uterus, or pyometra. While at the vet's I would discuss having her spayed when things settle down, usually around 8-12 weeks after the season.
All the best, ***** ***** let us know how you get on.
Vet Andrew