During pregnancy along with development of the fetuses/kittens is also the stimulation of the mammary gland to produce milk. Milk is the most important source of food for kittens especially on the first few weeks of their lives. In the first few hours of the kitten’s life it is important for them to drink the mother’s milk called colostrum. This special milk contains antibodies that the kittens needed for immunity against possible infection. Unfortunately, some cats develop a condition known as mastitis on early lactation or late lactation period. This condition is characterized by inflammation of the mammary gland.
Mastitis can be due to several causes including trauma including blockage in the nipple that prevent the normal flow of milk and thereby causing the milk to be stagnant and later on might breed some bacterial, injuries from the kitten’s teeth or excessive sucking or nibbling that might introduce bacteria to the open wounds. On both cases, the teats will started to swell and become painful to touch with redness. The mammary gland in severe cases ruptures where you can notice an open wound with pus formation.
A similar case has been checked and treated in the clinic where the cat just gave birth and develop the condition. The mammary gland ruptures leaving gapping holes where curd milk passes through the hole with some purulent discharge. The wound was cleaned and sutured leaving two openings for the discharge to come out. The wound was checked and cleaned daily and antibiotic was given.
In some mild cases, applying warm compress and putting the cat in antibiotic treatment help resolved the condition. In cases where the mastitis is quite severe then the cat needs to be hospitalized just like the case mentioned above.
Make sure though that if the cat is treated at home that she will be in a clean environment, clipping the hair around the affected mammary gland will also help maintain cleanliness. If the mother cat is unable to take care of the kittens then the kittens need to be hand fed. To prevent the occurrence of mastitis or to prevent exacerbation of the condition, make sure that all mammary glands are being used by the kittens.