mastitis(redirected from gangrenous mastitis)
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inflammation of the mammary gland.
Mastitis occurs mainly in primiparas during nursing, but it may also develop before labor or be unrelated to pregnancy and childbirth. Less frequently, it is seen in girls and even men. A particular form is mastitis neonatorum, a coarsening of the breast in the newborn (of either sex) associated with the passage of lactogenic hormones from the mother’s blood.
The course of mastitis is acute (less commonly, chronic). The main causes are stagnation of the milk, poor emptying of the gland during feeding, and cracks in the nipple. Under these conditions microbes penetrate into the gland through the lymphatic and lactiferous ducts and cause its inflammation. The causative agents (staphylococcus or streptococcus, for example) come into contact with the gland by way of the infant’s mouth or dirty linens, or as a result of inadequate breast hygiene during pregnancy and nursing. Cracks form when the skin surrounding the nipples loses its elasticity, owing to poor preparation of the nipples before childbirth or incorrect nursing technique.
The symptoms of mastitis are induration (coarsening) of the breast, reddening of the skin, severe pain, and elevated temperature. As the inflammation progresses, the skin becomes taut and hot to the touch. The formation of an abscess under the skin or within or behind the breast is characterized by softening of the induration (infiltrate) and elevation of the body temperature. Nursing becomes very painful, and pus sometimes appears in the milk. Restricting or halting breast feeding intensifies the inflammation. If the patient’s resistance is low or if treatment is delayed or inappropriate, the process may become phlegmonous or even gangrenous.
Treatment of mastitis in the initial stage involves the application of cold compresses to the breast, the administration of antibiotics and Novocain block, and the complete evacuation of milk from the breast (breast feeding systematically and thoroughly drawing off the milk). In the event of suppuration, the abscess is lanced, nursing from the affected breast is halted, and the milk is drawn off with a breast pump. The condition is prevented by preparing the nipples for nursing and treating cracks when they form. The milk can be kept from stagnating by drawing it off after each feeding. The rules of breast feeding should be strictly observed. The mother’s hands and nipples should be kept clean, and the infant must grasp the nipple completely, together with the skin around it. Mastitis neonatorum disappears in three or four weeks without treatment. Fluid should not be forced from the breasts. The strictest cleanliness is essential.
REFERENCEVoino-Iasenetskii, V. F. Ocherki gnoinoi khirurgii, 3rd ed. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
Sick animals should be allowed to rest. The quantity of succulent fodder in their diet should be reduced. Antimicrobial agents should be administered internally and topically. Cold and hot applications, iontophoresis, and massage may be prescribed. Animal mastitis may be prevented by breeding cows suitable for milking by machine. Other preventive measures include a balanced diet, a proper milking schedule, timely and correct steaming up, and regular examinations for the latent condition.
Sheep and goats also suffer from infectious mastitis, caused by the specific pathogens Bad mastidis ovis and Bact. mastidis capri and affecting primarily dams giving birth for the first time. Sick and convalescent animals are the sources of the causative agent. Lactating animals become infected after the pathogen enters the teat canal or injured udder tissue. The disease has severe clinical symptoms and often ends in death. Animals that recover acquire permanent immunity.