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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 18130
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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my spaniel is producing milk, not pregnant, she not eating

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my spaniel is producing milk, not pregnant, she not eating properly, drinking ok, smelly breath, keeps licking herself. had season 7 wks ago. took to vet on fri had anti-inflammatory injection and charcoal tablets and zitac tabs for 5 days. still no change. please help
Hello, my name isXXXXX and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
I am sorry to hear that your pup Muffy is producing milk, though not pregnant, is licking herself more then usual, has smelly breath, and isn't eating normally.

With her recent heat cycle these symptoms likely point to a uterine infection called a pyometra. Pyometras can rupture, causing peritonitis and/or the infection can spread to her other organs leading to abscesses in her kidneys, liver spleen and even her heart valves. The toxic metabolites from the infection affect her appetite and even though she won't want to eat the infection will stimulate her to continue to drink water.

I understand that you she saw her veterinarian on Friday but given her lack of improvement and her symptoms now a recheck is in order. Antibiotics alone do not work to treat these infections as they have poor penetration into an infection filled uterus and do not address the pool of infectious material and toxins in her uterus. We sometimes use prostaglandin injections and combination antibiotics in dogs that owners want to breed another time, but the success rate is variable. And even if it works if she isn't bred successfully on the next heat the chances of the infection returning are very high. If she is an older pup it unlikely that she would be a good candidate for breeding anyway.

The sooner that this is addressed the better chance she has of doing well. Treatment is stabilizing her with intravenous fluids and antibiotics and surgery to remove the infected uterus. The longer that you wait the more opportunity this infection has to spread and the more difficult it will be to save her. I recommend that you have her seen immediately by her veterinarian or by an emergency clinic if it is after hours and you have access to one. As sick as she is waiting to have her seen is very dangerous.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She is 3 1/2 yrs old. so not a pup. basically you are saying she has an infection of the womb?? Our vet said she was having a phantom pregnancy to limit her intake of water.

My apologies I tend to call all dogs pups no matter their age. Because she had a heat and time to develop these symptoms I knew that she was likely to be at least 9 months or so. It does sound like she has a false pregnancy given her milk production with no possible breeding. That shouldn't make her sick, though it can change behavior (nesting and looking for pups etc). But that doesn't preclude her developing a pyometra (womb infection). I would not expect her to lose her appetite just due to a false pregnancy and her foul breath points toward metabolic waste buildup.

Limiting her water won't change the course of a false pregnancy, that is the result of her internal hormones which have to wane on their own over time. Milk production is on demand. If she is licking her mammary glands or they are rubbing on things then milk will continue to be produced. I'd place an elizabethan collar on her to prevent licking.

False pregnancies can take weeks to resolve, but while they may behave strangely those dogs aren't sick and she sounds sick to me.
I would not limit her water, if she has an infection she will become dehydrated with that.