• canine;
  • dog;
  • lactation;
  • mammary gland;
  • mastitis;
  • ultrasonography

Ultrasonographic images were acquired of the mammary glands of 40 bitches with physiologically lactating (n=20) or inflamed glands (n=20). Echogenicity, structure, homogeneity, thickness, and distinguishability of each tissue layer were assessed. Additionally, overall echogenicity was noted. In the normal lactating gland, different tissues could be differentiated easily. The parenchyma was, without exception, separated from adjacent tissues and was visible as medium echogenic tissue with a coarse-grained structure. The tissue always had some echogenic lines and anechoic areas and was slightly heterogeneous. The loss of distinct layering of the tissue was characteristic of an inflamed mammary gland and inflamed regions had reduced echogenicity. Additionally in five bitches with mastitis, the ultrasound examination was repeated five times for documentation of the progress of the illness and associated changes, supplemented with a color Doppler sonogram to assess changes in blood vessel density. Information from the examinations carried out via B-mode did not allow treatment success to be predicted. Two bitches with reduced blood vessel density centrally had a poor outcome whereas three bitches with increased blood vessel density had a good outcome. Thus, Doppler sonography might be a useful tool to obtain information of the prognosis in acute canine mastitis.