Mastitis in dogs is not real common, but it is serious and needs to be watched for.
Canine mastitis is a breast infection in the mammary glands that sometimes occurs in lactating dogs.
Mastitis in dogs can be caused by a blocked milk duct, weaning puppies too early, or by a scratch from the puppies' sharp claws.
It can appear within 2 weeks after whelping, but may also appear later than this, as the pups get more aggressive with their nursing and their toenails scratch into the momma, which may allow bacteria to enter into the Golden Retriever's breast.
Since many dogs may not show any obvious signs at first, you need to keep a watch on her breasts and make sure they appear to be normal.
Normal lactating breasts will be warm and enlarged, but should not be red, black, hard, have swollen knots, or cause pain when touched.
Rupture that just happened
Dogs with this illness will usually go off of their feed, may not allow the pups to nurse, or will allow them to nurse only at certain teats.
Other signs may include fever, or listlessness.
Canine mastitis treatment consists of antibiotics. Your vet may also prescribe pain medication depending upon the severity of the illness.
If caught early, applying warm water in the form of wet compresses will help.
If the infection is located in the back breasts, then sitting her in a warm bath will also help.
Getting the teat to milk is important and it helps if the pups continue to nurse.
Rupture starting to heal
If the mastitis is not treated immediately, this can cause an actual rupture of the breast, a couple of inches away from the nipple.
If it does rupture, she will have to kept totally away from her pups, and depending upon the pup's age, they will need to be bottle fed.
The rupture will not be able to be stitched closed and the hole will have to heal on its own.
Generally, if this is caught and treated early, any future litters should not bring about a re-occurrence. However, in dogs that have a severe case, re-occurrence is possible.