ISSN 2398-2985      

Mastitis

4ferrets

Introduction

  • Inflammation and/or infection of the mammary glands in the intact, nursing jill.
  • Cause: trauma by nursing kits to the mammary glands -> inflammation/infection.
  • Signs: swollen, firm, bruised or discolored, occasionally ulcerated, mammary glands.
  • Diagnosis: exudates for culture and sensitivity, FNA for cytology.
  • Treatment: NSAIDs, antibiotics.
  • Prognosis: guarded.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Generally there is laceration or damage by the nursing kits to the mammary glands.
  • This in turn causes inflammation and/or infection of individual glands, although the disease can progress following the channels between the glands. 
  • Kits nursing from jills with infectious mastitis may carry the bacterium orally and spread it to unaffected glands or those of a fostering dam.
  • Abscesses may form in severe cases.
  • Potential etiological agents include Staphylococcus spp and coliforms such as hemolytic E. coli.
  • There is a published report of mastitis caused by hemolytic E. coli in which the glands were gangrenous.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Acute mastitis develops soon after whelping or after the third week of nursing when milk production peaks and kits’ teeth erupt and they become more aggressive feeders.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Liberson A J, Newcomer C E, Ackerman J I, Murphy J C & Fox J G (1983) Mastitis caused by hemolytic Escherichia coli in the ferret. JAVMA 183 (11), 1179-1181 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Pollock C G (2012) Ferrets: Disorders of the Urinary and Reproductive systems. In: Ferrets, Rabbits and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. 3rd edn. Elsevier Saunders, USA. pp 46-61.
  • Fisher P G (2009) Ferrets: Urogenital and Reproductive System Disorders. In: Manual of Rodents and Ferrets. Eds: Keeble K & Meredith A. BSAVA, UK. pp 291-302.

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