Small bumps on your nipples and the surrounding areola are generally nothing to be concerned about. These are typically nothing more than your areolar glands displaying what are known as Montgomery tubercles. If you have these tubercles, you're probably quite used to them. But you're a human, and your dog has a different physiology. So if you should spot small bumps on the nipples of your female dog, then it might be something far more serious which requires a prompt appointment with your vet.
Small nodules that develop around your female dog's nipples can be a mammary gland carcinoma. This is a serious issue which can prove to be fatal, which is why a wait-and-see approach can be quite dangerous with these nodules. In fact, you should be regularly inspecting your female dog's nipples so that emergence of these nodules can be noted as early as possible.
These carcinomas are a form of cancer, and it might in fact be malignant. Your vet will take a look at your dog's nipples to assess the degree of growth. When a mammary gland carcinoma is suspected, a biopsy (removal of a small tissue sample) will be performed.
If untreated, the carcinoma can continue to grow. The nodules can even rupture, which is painful for your dog. Additionally, the growth of the carcinomas will begin to assert more pressure on your dog's chest cavity, which can be extremely uncomfortable. While chemotherapy isn't generally used to treat mammary gland carcinomas in dogs, quick surgical removal of any affected tissue will be necessary. This is likewise the case if the tumours have metastasised. The entire mammary gland is often surgically removed to prevent the return of the tumours.
In addition to removing affected tissue, your vet might recommend a prompt desexing of your dog if they have not already been spayed or neutered. Early desexing can minimise the risk of mammary gland carcinomas, as this reduces the impact of your dog's oestrogen receptors, which can play a role in the development of these carcinomas. Even desexing after your dog has already been affected by mammary gland carcinomas can have benefits, but your vet will discuss this with you. Desexing will ideally be performed at the same time (or as close as safely possible) as any removal of mammary gland tissue, malignant or otherwise.
Mammary gland carcinomas in dogs can be very serious, which is why quick identification and treatment, along with desexing, are your dog's best weapons to fight the problem.
To learn more, contact a resource like Findon Vet Surgery.