Histological Features in the Mammary Glands of Female Dogs throughout Lactation
AuthorOrfanou, D. C.; Pourlis, A.; Ververidis, H. N.; Mavrogianni, V. S.; Taitzoglou, I. A.; Boscos, C. M.; Fthenakis, G. C.
> The objective of this study was to describe the histology of the mammary glands of female dogs throughout lactation. Twelve lactating female dogs were operated 4, 7, 10, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 56, 70 and 84 days post-partum; four mammary glands of each animal were excised for histological, ultrastructural and morphometric examination. During early lactation and mid-lactation, all lobes and lobules within the same gland had similar features; alveoli were well developed and distended and had a spherical to slightly ovoid structure, with muscular fibres grasping them around; inflammatory cells were seen in the inter- and intra-alveolar space; mammary lobules were separated with a scant amount of connective tissue. In late lactation, connective tissue was abundant and dense, with large numbers of inflammatory cells; alveoli appeared to be irregularly shaped and collapsing, shrunken or fully collapsed. Number of alveoli per lobule and number of epithelial cells per alveolus, as well as diameter of alveoli and height of epithelial cells decreased as lactation progressed. The third mammary glands (from caudal to cranial) had a significantly smaller number of alveoli, but not of epithelial cells per alveolus, than each of the two mammary glands caudally to that. The results suggest that progressive involution of the normal mammary gland starts around the end of the 2nd month of lactation and continues until the end of the 3rd month.