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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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My is leaking a liquid from all 10 teats It ranges in

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My bitch is leaking a liquid from all 10 teats It ranges in colour from dark cream to light milk. It is sticky to the touch and there is lumps on one side of the teats.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I'm sorry to hear that Tiffy is producing fluid from her nipples, which I believe to be milk. I think that she is likely experiencing a false pregnancy.

This can occur after a normal heat cycle, even without a male being anywhere near her.
This is because hormonal changes in a dog are very similar whether they are bred or not.
In a pregnant dog the female's hormones fall off and the pups respond with their own hormones which leads to delivery.
In a non-pregnant dog there just isn't any pup stimulation. But some dog's bodies get confused and they feel like they are pregnant.
They will often pick a toy to mother, may even build a nest and produce milk.

We do know that if a bitch's mother had false pregnancies then she is likely to have them as well. And once they have one false pregnancy they are likely to have one with every heat cycle where a successful breeding doesn't take place.
It doesn't mean that she isn't fertile or that there are hormonal problems with her. She could be successfully bred on her next heat if you wanted to.
If you aren't going to breed her (and I wouldn't recommend it at her age) then I do recommend spaying her to avoid subsequent false pregnancies.

However there really isn't anything that you can do now to change her milk production now other then make sure that there is no stimulation (licking). Milk is produced on demand and if she licks it will continue to form. Even spaying her at this point won't change things now as the hormones already produced and circulating in her body are the problem. Her milk production will change naturally as her hormone levels decrease. You can certainly try and distract her with walks and play as some bitches do seem to come out of it a little quicker if we can distract them. But spaying her after this false pregnancy will prevent further episodes. There are medications (Cabergoline) that we can use to try and decrease milk production, but they don't always work and are expensive.
If she is licking then place an elizabethan collar on her so she cannot lick.

Of more concern are the lumps. These may be simply plugged ducts, but could also be more serious such as an infection (mastitis) or even mammary gland tumors. If she is painful, running a fever and/or has a change in appetite then plugged ducts or mastitis are more likely, though tumors cannot be definitively ruled out as we can have secondary infections with those too.
Mammary cancer is preventable in dogs by spaying before their first heat. The more heat cycles they go through, the increased risk of developing mammary cancer. About 25% of unspayed female dogs get mammary cancer and 50% of those tumors are malignant, meaning they will spread to distant sites and aggressively into local tissue as well. When we have multiple tumors we do get more concerned and we tend to treat those cases more aggressively. Given that I recommend that your girl see her veterinarian as soon as it is reasonable. If she is eating and drinking with no fever this is not an emergency. But if these firm swellings are tumors then the sooner she is treated the better.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 15154
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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