Female cats can get mastitis or inflammation of the mammary glands. Let’s learn the signs of mastitis in cats and help your kitten avoid this painful condition.
Mastitis is the term used for inflammation of the mammary glands. Painful mastitis in cats, while generally not life threatening, is usually easy to treat. The most common cases of mastitis in cats occur as bacterial infections in nursing mothers. As with any infection, early detection and treatment of mastitis in cats is key to keeping your kitten happy and healthy. So what are some of the symptoms and what is the best way to treat mastitis in cats? Let’s find out!Indicator signs of mastitis in cats
“Mastitis in cats has a variety of symptoms,” says Dr. Justin Molnar, DVM, Last Chance Animal Rescue Medical Advisor and Medical Director at Shinnecock Animal Hospital. “Since it is seen mainly in mother cats, it is important to check the entire body of your nursing cat at least once a day, especially the area of the teat and belly.”
Here’s what Dr. Molnar advises to look for when diagnosing mastitis in cats:
- Puffy nipples
- Discolored nipples
- Discharge(blood, pus, color or abnormal consistency of milk)
- Open wounds around the nipplesor breast.
- Always check all kittens in your litterto make sure they are gaining weight properly – underweight kittens are another indicator of possible mastitis.
Because the main cause of mastitis is an infection, if left untreated, it can enter the bloodstream and develop into a life-threatening condition known as sepsis.
It is imperative to take your cat to the vet immediately if your kitty is showing any of these signs!
Common causes of mastitis in cats
Pregnant cats require additional specialized care. Monitoring the general condition of a pregnant cat minimizes the risk of medical complications. Taking into account the health and environment of the pregnant or lactating cat helps prevent and treat mastitis in cats.
Primary causes of mastitis in cats:
- Trauma to the mammary glands
- Unhealthy living conditions
- A prolonged period of milk accumulation
Diagnosis of mastitis in cats
If your cat shows any of the above signs, or if your kittens are not gaining the correct amount of weight correlated to their age, a visit to the vet will reveal exactly what is causing the problems.
Generally, a physical exam is all that is needed to detect mastitis in cats. Sometimes additional tests are needed; blood and / or milk samples may need further analysis to determine the exact cause of the symptoms.
Treatment of mastitis in cats
Once diagnosed, treatment for mastitis in cats is usually easy to administer at home. A course of antibiotics is used for mastitis caused by an infection. If your cat is nursing, you may need to express milk every six hours to ensure that the milk is expressing properly.
A clean, cold compress should adhere to the infected areas for two to four hours without compressing (cabbage leaves can also be used). Following your veterinarian’s medical advice accurately should result in a full recovery in less than a month.
Prevention of mastitis in cats
Change your cat’s bedding frequently and disinfect surfaces where he spends time. Observe the mother when she is nursing her kittens. Make sure the kittens are suckling from all of their nipples and physically rotate the kittens if necessary.
As always, pay attention to your cat’s health and behavior . Any changes could warrant a medical exam by your vet. Physically run your hand all over the body and pay attention to your reactions (cats cannot tell you verbally if something is wrong), keep in mind that a daily general examination should be done for nursing mothers.
To avoid mastitis in cats, sterilize your cat. Spaying your cat greatly reduces the chances of mastitis and cancer. As always, the health and well-being of your cat rest in your hands. Mastitis in cats is very easy to avoid, fairly easy to detect if it is developed, and requires following your vet’s instructions to ensure that you are on the way to a full recovery.
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