When labor begins, a dog’s instincts will almost always take over — you shouldn’t have to intervene at all. we have found through Experience it is Good to stay close in case your Needed. Certain pure breeds Like Bichon Frise can have more problems during the birth process
How to Avoid Puppy Loss During Birth
Darlene and I have Helped our Bichon Dogs through the Birthing Process. Unfortunately, we have lost many puppies, read very many Bichon Books. But much of it we had to learn by experience. We wanted to share that so that our experience can lessen any puppy loss that you might experience. Most canine breeders have faced the death of newborn puppies sooner or later, within hours or days of birth. When these cases remain limited, the breeder, although disappointed, generally does not undertake any additional research to determine the exact cause of death. Here are some of the answers to help you.
Bichon Puppy Birthing Guide
Puppy Birthing Complications
|If Unsure||Take to Vet If Time allows|
|Keep Mother Isolated||If Other dogs around she could get defensive and accidently Hurt Puppies|
|Puppy Accidentally Crushed||Make sure Not Giving Birth in Dog cage - puppies can work themselves through mesh and get Damaged|
|Not Breathing||Gently Give it Mouth to mouth|
|Not breathing||Massage Puppy trying to gently force fluid from his lungs|
|Puppy Stuck||Gently Pull|
|Puppy Breech||Help Guide legs out|
|Puppy Cold||Raise Enviorment to 85 degrees|
|Puppy Cold||Change Wet Bedding|
|Puppy Cold||Warm Puppy up put on Your body till body heat warms him|
|Puppy Cold||No drafts - No metal Floor Pan on Cage|
|Puppy not going on Nipple||Help Guide him to nipple till he gets hand of it|
|Puppy not feeding||Try Small baby Bottle
let him suck - do not force him - can drown him with milk going in lungs
|Puppy not feeding||Use puppy Milk Supplement|
|Puppy Not feeding||check for Cleft Palate|
|Puppy Not Feeding||Take to Vet - he can show you Catheter Feeding|
|Puppy Not Growing||Make sure Mother has plenty Food Water|
|Puppy Not Growing||You can check on scale|
|Labor stops or is prolonged over 24 hours||Take to vet - C section can save litter and Mother if needed|
|Mother does not Remove Membrane||You will Need to Manually remove it|
|Mother does not chew through Umbilical Cord||You will need to cut it 1/2 " away from puppies body tier with thread|
The puppy’s birth complications
The duration of parturition is extremely variable from one dog to another and depends on multiple factors, like the number and the size of the puppies, the breed of the dog, its state of health, and whether she’s already worn it or not. Generally, parturition takes 4 to 8 hours, with extremes of up to 24 to 36 hours for a primiparous dog.
The duration of the expulsion of a puppy is also variable, from a few minutes to an hour and a half, the passage of the first newborn being often longer than the following.
The average time between the successful expulsion of two puppies is 20 to 30 minutes. This resting phase should not exceed 3 or 4 hours. The times for normal delivery are therefore extremely variable. Note however that when a delay of more than 2 hours separates the birth of two successive puppies, it is preferable to seek medical advice without further delay.
Chart of Birthing Accessories
|Breeder Box||Do Not used Wired Dog cage|
|Heater||We use space heater for whole Room|
|scale||To Weigh Puppies make sure they are Gaining Weight|
|Clean towels||Chande during Birthing to clean up|
|Protected Space||Keep Mother away from other Dogs to avoid Distress|
|Draft Protection||Drafts can chill and kill a Puppy|
|Squash protection||Mothers can accidently squash a puppy|
|clean bedding||to replace after birth - will be wet|
|Seclusion||Needs her Privacy - she can get Hyper|
|Rubber Gloves||Keep things Clean and from Blood|
|Scisorrs & Thread||For Cutting Cord|
1. The stuck puppy
One of the first complications of parturition that can lead to significant mortality is obstruction, in the vestibule (posterior part of the vagina) or the vulva. This can be due to the too large size of the newborn (too globular head of the breeds with “flat face”, presence of a small litter with one or two puppies), to a vulva “barred” or insufficiently dilated of the mother, or else a malformation of the pelvis (sequelae of fracture, narrowing, etc.). Finally, it can be linked to the existence of a malposition.
The diagnosis of the obstruction must be made quickly: in fact, the repeated uterine contractions result in the progressive “detachment” of the placentas of the remaining puppies which are then less well oxygenated and begin to weaken; if they are slow to intervene, they risk being born too weak to be able to survive, otherwise, their development will be compromised.
When the puppy’s engagement in the pelvic sector is already well advanced, it becomes urgent to take him out (it is generally too late to wait for the veterinarian): the pull-ups will then be exerted downwards and backward, the dog must be kept upright. In 60% of cases, the puppy is born in anterior presentation, that is to say, the head first: the members are then stretched on either side of the head which will serve as a support point for pull-ups. In the case of a posterior presentation (40% of cases), the members will preferably be seized at the level of the shock cord. The pull-ups will obviously only be exercised when the dog starts new contractions.
These obstetrical maneuvers must be carried out with the strictest hygiene in order not to increase the risks of postpartum metritis, a threat always present during long and difficult parturition: the wearing of sterile gloves, as well as cleaning and disinfection of the vulvar region, is more than advisable. The ideal solution would be to mow the area of the vulva and to clean it with a gynecological soap before any parturition, which would also limit the risks of infection of the reproductive system of the lactating dog.
If these maneuvers fail, the only solution is to resort to surgery, because the life of the puppies is quickly threatened. If the obstruction is at the vaginal level, the veterinarian will opt for an episiotomy under local anesthesia, that is to say, an incision of the perineum dorsally at the vulvar commissure (this intervention is very well supported by the mother and without consequence on its reproductive future). If the obstruction is higher, only a cesarean will save the life of the puppies.
2. The absence of contractions
Some bitches are predisposed to atony of the myometrium: small bitches (Yorkshire, Miniature poodle, Small greyhounds) and certain large size breeds (Mastiff, Pyrenees Mountains, Great Dane), ” old ”primiparous (first parturition after the age of 5 to 6 years), or even obese or nervous bitches, have uterine contractions insufficient for the expulsion of puppies, while these are of normal size and normally dilated genital tract.
This is called primary uterine inertia: the first contractions are weak and gradually decrease, the expulsion of one or two puppies can take place at the beginning of seemingly normal birth. The same problem can be observed, without race predisposition, when there is a very large number of fetuses: the uterus is exhausted after the birth of half or two-thirds of the litter.
From a symptomatological point of view, secondary uterine inertia represents a situation fairly close to primary inertia: due to an obstruction, the bitch first presented strong contractions, painful and unproductive, then stopped pushing…
3. The dangers of oxytocin
Many drugs for obstetric purposes are often used by breeders, foremost among them the famous oxytocin. Unfortunately, there are many breeders who have them in their pharmacy before parturition, and who do not always take the initiative to use it in the right way: the consequences are sometimes very serious.
a) The dog must be full term
Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the post-pituitary gland at the time of parturition, and which triggers uterine contractions when the progesterone level has dropped to its basal level. As long as the progesterone level is above this level, oxytocin does not have a sufficient number of receptors in the uterine muscle. In other words, contrary to popular belief, oxytocin is ineffective in triggering contractions of the uterus if the bitch is not to term. In addition, this powerful hormone has no action on the opening of the cervix: it is, therefore, dangerous to administer it as injections to induce labor without first checking that the passage of the fetus is possible.
If the breeder tries to start the delivery with oxytocin while the cervix is not completely open, even if the dog is practically full term, the uterus will contract, the placentas of the puppies, necessary for their oxygenation, will start to take off, but no birth will be possible: the injection of oxytocin will then cause asphyxia of all fetuses. The gynecological examination in the bitch does not allow the visualization of the cervix, except in the case of large-format bitches in which an endoscopic examination is possible, it is advisable never to administer oxytocin to a bitch as long as a first puppy is not already born, or at least engaged in the pelvis.
b) Do not increase doses
The uterus always contracting under the action of very low doses of oxytocin, it will be useless to use large doses of this substance to obtain effects during childbirth: the administration of 2 to 4 units per dog, whatever the size, every 20 to 30 minutes seems to us more than enough. However, a maximum of 3 to 4 injections should not be exceeded on the whole parturition; When a puppy is not born after 1 or 2 oxytocin injections, it is also advisable to wait at least one hour before renewing the injections.
If oxytocin is used in too high doses, or at too short intervals, all of the oxytocin receptors will be saturated: the uterus thus desensitized will no longer be able to contract enough to allow the puppies to expel. Thus, it is useless, even dangerous, to use oxytocin on a bitch who gives birth normally.
Unfortunately, some breeders use injections of oxytocin on bitches who give birth slowly but in excellent conditions, thus believing that they can speed up the procedure, and cause secondary uterine inertia forcing them to have a cesarean section. Finally, administering excessive doses of oxytocin can lead to ruptures of the uterus when there is too much obstruction.
The pathology of the puppy
Compared to other species, the puppy suffers at birth from physiological immaturity which makes it particularly vulnerable to its environment and to infectious or parasitic agents.
In particular, the puppy is unable to ensure its thermal regulation, its water homeostasis and its glycemic; the opening of the eyes (10 days) and the ears (13 to 15 days) are late, the control of urination and defecation is effective only from the 20th day. In the neonatal period, the puppy, therefore, depends very closely on its mother for its protection, support, nutrition.
Without forgetting that canine pediatrics begins with the gestation of the mother, it will be remembered that the state of health of the puppy will always depend on several factors, and in particular of its two parents (genetic pool), of its mother (feeding in progress gestation and lactation), hygiene (exposure of the newborn to different toxins or germs). Here, as elsewhere, it will, however, be necessary to first replace the puppy in the best possible ambient conditions, as it is true that prevention is easier to implement than treatments.
A. The immaturity of the newborn
Immediate care for newborn puppies can be summed up by oxygenating, reheating, rehydrating, feeding.
In this respect, the puppy is completely immature, and the first breath of the newborn plays an essential role. If during parturition, the presentation is done in the posterior position, the first breathing can be performed before the complete expulsion, hence the risk of introduction of liquids into the lungs. The risk is the same in the case of a placenta evacuated too early or the excessive use of oxytocin.
Sometimes the inexperienced, often frightened bitch does not take care of the puppy she has just expelled. If the amniotic pouch is not already torn, it should be ruptured yourself as soon as possible (2 minutes maximum) to prevent the puppy from starting to breathe from drowning. It will then be necessary to take the puppy, the head down and the open mouth; slight pendulum movements will then expel fluids that could clog the respiratory tract (the nostrils can also be cleared using an enema bulb).
The use of respiratory analeptics (Dopram®) could be considered if these maneuvers remain ineffective: a few drops will be instilled in the nostrils or under the tongue,
We will also try to calm the mother and force her to stay in the farrowing crate until the placenta is expelled. Once the placenta is ejected, if the mother remains inactive, it will be necessary to tie the umbilical cord using a cotton thread disinfected with alcohol, 1 or 2 cm from the ventral wall of the puppy, then cut the cord 1 cm from the ligature. When there is no wire, strong pressure from the umbilical cord between thumb and index finger for 1 to 2 minutes after cutting is most often enough to stop blood flow. The stump will then be dabbed with a compress soaked in an antiseptic.
If the dog remains too troubled to act, the breeder must replace the stimulating licking of the mother by rubbing the puppy’s chest with a towel.
Not being able to regulate their body temperature themselves, puppies are indeed very sensitive to cold: neonatal hypothermia is aggravated by a total absence of the thrill reflex for up to 6 days and by the low content in fat from the hypodermic tissue. Although the predisposition to cooling is attenuated when there are many puppies in the litter (they heat each other by hugging each other), the puppies are directly dependent on the outside temperature for the first fifteen days.
The puppy’s normal body temperature at birth is 35.5 ° C, 36.5 ° C at one week and 38 ° C in the third week. If this temperature drops to 35 ° C, the puppy can no longer suckle alone (loss of the sucking reflex), and there is an increase in the respiratory rate with acute expiratory vocalization as well as a decrease in the heart rate. Despite his cries, the puppy is systematically rejected by his mother below 34 ° C. At 22 ° C, the puppy is amorphous, but the situation is still reversible.
It is generally easy to avoid hypothermia in puppies by being vigilant about the ambient temperature of the maternity. At birth, the temperature of the farrowing nest should be 31 ° C, then drop regularly to 22 ° C in the third week.
If you notice in a litter the cooling of one or more subjects, it will be necessary to carry out a very gradual reheating over 1 to 3 hours, using hot water bottles or electric blankets). Too rapid heating leads to peripheral vasodilation and would increase blood oxygen requirements, with cardiac and pulmonary overexertion often fatal. An incubator can be used, provided that a humidity of 55 to 65% is maintained.
We have over the years allowed our Litters to be Born this way – we put them in a non – draft environment, room or closet – we then bring in a Space heater to the whole room. we set the heater to 80 – 85 degrees – this makes the mother uncomfortable – but it stopped any puppy losses due to the losing body heat – just until they get strong usually when eyes are opened we take things back to normal.
As it is sensitive to cold, the newborn is sensitive to dehydration; it is also the most common cause of weight loss.
Several factors explain this puppy’s natural predisposition to dehydration. First, water makes up 82% of the weight of the newborn puppy.
The cutaneous surface is then particularly important: the skin represents 25% of the weight of the newborn puppy and has a keratinized layer almost nonexistent at birth, and which will be definitively functional only between 20 and 30 days. The renal system of the young puppy is finally completely immature: the recovery of filtered water in the kidney is only 20 to 50% of that of an adult kidney, and even if this drawback is partially offset by protein needs of very high growth which leaves little waste to be eliminated, this remains very clearly insufficient for proper regulation of water metabolism.
The ideal humidity of a maternity is around 55 to 65%. Below 35%, the risks of pulmonary water losses are significant. A humidity of 80 to 90% is only recommended when there is a beginning of dehydration. Beyond that, the multiplication of infectious germs is facilitated.
For sick puppies that need to be heated, we prefer hot water bottles to an infrared lamp which has the drawback of drying out the ambient atmosphere. In normal operation, the infrared lamp is ideal if you control the humidity (a large sponge soaked in water can do the trick).
Daily water requirements are 1 to 2 ml / 100 g. A dehydrated puppy stops feeding, loses vitality, then cools and is rejected by the mother. More than the persistence of the skin fold, the weight loss will confirm the diagnosis. If the puppy loses more than 10% of its birth weight in the first 24 hours, it must imperatively be rehydrated with a bottle of sugar water. If equilibrium is not found, breastfeeding must be artificially administered and physiological isotonic saline administered subcutaneously (1 ml / 30 g body weight).
The adult dog is an important user of fat as a source of energy and can effectively resist a prolonged fast, up to 3 weeks, without manifestation of hypoglycemia. Conversely, the newborn puppy, especially less than 5 days old and a fortiori puny or premature, has no reserves and its potential for enzymes essential for neoglucogenesis is insufficient: deprived of umbilical supply, it is imperative to adjust his blood sugar with the intermittent nutrition he receives.
The mother’s milk is, of course, the best food for the young puppy, still, it is necessary that the milk production is sufficient and of good quality (see below “Toxic milk syndrome”). During many litters, if the dog has little milk, in the event of stress or on orphan puppies, the risks of hypoglycemia in the puppy will be frequent: hypothermia, weakness, inability to suck, permanent crying, then exhaustion of the animal and installation of a bradycardia associated with irregular breathing, convulsions then coma. During hypoglycemia, the implementation of veterinary treatment will be essential.
Just as the weight loss should not exceed 10% on the first day, artificial feeding will be used if the puppy has not yet gained weight on the second day. The normal daily weight gain in puppies is thus estimated to be 2 g per kg of expected adult weight (eg if the adult weighs 10 kg, the daily weight gain will be 20 g for the puppy).
a) Gastric intubation
When the mother has mastitis or lactation is insufficient to meet the needs of the whole litter, it is necessary to artificially breastfeed the puppies. For the breeder, gastric intubation is a quick and easy technique to implement (the use of the bottle is generally too restrictive in terms of duration of care for the entire litter; 10 to 15 minutes per bottle against 1 to 2 minutes on average by intubation):
· you must first check the length of the tube so that its end reaches the stomach without risk of perforation; the syringe is filled and the air which maybe there is expelled;
· The puppy is held horizontally, the head in extension in the extension of the body (but not raised), so that the tube slides in the esophagus; the introduction must be done gently, without forcing; a few drops of milk on the tube can be used as a lubricant; (be careful, milk must be dispensed warm ~ 37/38 ° C);
· The contents of the syringe are injected into the stomach gradually and without brutality; slight resistance means the stomach is full; as an indication, the volume of a puppy’s stomach represents approximately 5% of its body weight (a 500 g puppy can ingest 25 ml of milk);
· The operation will be repeated four times a day.
In the event of maternal failure, the breeder must also stimulate fecal excretion by rubbing the anal region with a piece of moistened cotton.
b) Importance of colostrum
In puppies, the protective role of antibodies (immunoglobulins) is even more important during the first weeks: 95% of immunoglobulins are provided by colostrum.
Maternal immunoglobulins escape digestion due to the relative immaturity of enzymatic processes in puppies, but also because the colostrum itself contains inhibitors of protein-digesting enzymes. Immunoglobulins are thus absorbed intact by the neonatal small intestine. This phenomenon being limited to a few days, even a few hours, it is desirable that the puppy ingests enough colostrum in the first 36 hours.
Colostrum also seems to play an important role by providing growth factors favoring the development and enzymatic equipment of the intestinal mucosa in the first 5 days of life.
When maternal production is lacking, frozen colostrum can be given. Strict hygienic conditions will then be observed: if the lining of the small intestine is permeable to immunoglobulins, it is also permeable to many molecules, even viruses or bacteria.
C. Congenital malformations
Structural or functional anomalies are present in 1% of newborn puppies and are responsible for 14% of neonatal mortality; their genetic nature has not always been demonstrated. In most canine breeds, they can affect a single function or affect different organs.
Many of these anomalies are immediately visible and compatible with the animal’s at least temporary survival, others, on the contrary, wait months or years to express themselves. Among the malformations that can lead to death during the neonatal period, we will distinguish:
· the palatal fissure, whether or not accompanied by a hare’s beak, is the most frequent anomaly in dogs;
· Hydrocephalus is common in Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel, and Bulldog;
· Skeletal malformations; heart defects; polycystic kidney disease, the absence of one or both kidneys;
· Mega-esophagus and pyloric stenosis; imperforation of the anus …
As soon as these lesions are diagnosed, euthanasia is required, with the exception of pyloric stenosis or cleft palate, for which surgical correction is possible.
From birth, we can notice that the puppy with a cleft palate does not grow like his brothers and sisters. When he suckles, part of the milk escapes through the nostrils. He has a permanent risk of misdirection, which is why he coughs and sneezes a lot, especially at mealtimes, where he regurgitates most of what he has ingested.
A puppy with a cleft palate will gain very little weight and a gap will widen between him and the healthy puppies.
Finally, be aware that it is usually enough to observe the puppy’s palate to see the slit. It can be more or less important. In all cases, the veterinarian must be immediately alerted.
There are several possible causes for cleft palate. Some are preventable. In any case, a dog that is born with this malformation, once out of danger can never be put to the reproduction.
Heredity, We also consider certain breeds to be more at risk: the brachycephalic, for example, the Boxer, the French Bulldog, the English Bulldog, the Pekingese or the Boston terrier. However, other races can be affected: Cavalier King Charles, Labrador, Collie, Brittany Spaniel, Schnauzer, Cocker, etc.
If treated during pregnancy with certain drugs such as corticosteroids, metronidazole or griseofulvin.
Mother’s diabetes mellitus during gestation, or any other metabolic disorder
Zinc or folic acid deficiency
Too much vitamin A
It is also recommended to administer to the pregnant dog a supplement of folic acid from the day of mating to reduce the risk of orofacial malformation.
As I said above, the vital prognosis of the puppy with a cleft palate is often engaged. The most serious malformations result in death within hours of birth. For the others, it is the lack of food, the false routes and especially, consecutive pneumonia which can cause death in the days or weeks to come.
It is recommended to feed the puppies with a gastric tube or a syringe until the surgical intervention allows them to return to a traditional diet.
Surgery is the only way to fill a cleft palate. There are several techniques and depending on the size of the slot and the condition of the puppy, we prefer one or the other. The operation is cumbersome, with an uncertain outcome in the most serious cases. This is why we only operate the dog when it has reached 6 or 7 weeks. It sometimes takes several interventions for the problem to be completely resolved.
When the puppy is not robust enough to support an operation, it is sometimes suggested to install a temporary prosthesis to cut the communication between the nose and the mouth and restore the good passage of air and food. It also promotes the production of a natural tissue replacing the palate.
Once the septum is fully restored, the dog has a perfectly normal life, which requires no special treatment.
Pathologies related to the mother
The health and vitality of puppies at birth and in the first days of life can be compromised by the repercussions of poor maternal health, nutritional errors or administration of teratogenic substances, and the mother’s transmission of various germs resulting in localized or sometimes generalized bacterial diseases.
1. The state of health of the mother
The age of the female put to the reproduction has a direct influence on the performances of the litter: it is between two or four years that the best results are obtained, and it does not It is not always reasonable to reproduce a list beyond seven years.
The mother’s overweight affects not only the difficulties of parturition but also neonatal mortality (which increases) and prolificacy (which decreases).
Maternal hemoglobin and protein levels at term are good markers of puppies’ chances of survival: if the dog seems tired at the end of gestation, it may be useful to monitor these biochemical or hematological parameters.
2. Feeding the pregnant female
Eating errors during gestation are likely to lead to neonatal mortality.
As we have already specified, we will first of all take care to avoid overdoses of vitamin A or D. An insufficiency of lipids in the maternal diet during the second part of gestation can also cause in the puppy a decrease in load of hepatic glycogen at birth, with increased mortality in the first two days of life (the good hepatic glycogen content in the puppy promotes homeothermy).
a) Swimming puppy syndrome
Swimming Puppy Syndrom is an anomaly in the development of the puppy, more frequently observed in chondrodystrophic breeds with short limbs and large thorax (Bulldog, Basset Hound, Pekingese …), characterized by a delay in the implementation of the walking process and characteristic morphological modifications.
While the normal puppy must be able to stand at 16 days and ensure his movements at 21 days, there is the persistence of weakness and lethargy, as well as crawling movements on the sternum.
The forelimbs, rejected on the sides with a rotation of the joints, are unable to support the trunk; the hind legs are retracted under the body and sometimes deviated with patellar dislocation.
The puppy does appear to be swimming and its movements are accompanied by regurgitation of milk. At the same time, a dorsoventral flattening of the thorax is observed, the abdomen is soiled and irritated by the urine until presenting ulcerated wounds.
Several elements seem to be at the origin of this syndrome. Genetic factors have been implicated, but the possible recovery in several cases invalidates this hypothesis.
More likely, these disorders are linked to the combination of a delay in the establishment of the nervous system (insufficient myelination) observed when the litter lives on a smooth and slippery surface which does not stimulate the extremities, and a dysmetabolism linked to a hyper-protein diet of the mother (“all meat” diet).
b) Hemorrhagic syndrome
This is the clinical manifestation of a deficiency in blood platelets, which can take on an enzootic appearance in breeding: apart from a too short cut cord, the action of bacterial toxins, of Rubarth disease, or anoxia, the most likely cause remains the existence of a nutritional deficiency in vitamin K of pregnant females.
A relatively short phase of lethargy and wasting is followed by subcutaneous bruising and numerous diffuse hemorrhages: traces of blood are observed in the nose, lips or urine, in puppies aged one to four days.
The treatment consists in transfusing the puppy when the size allows it, and the supply of vitamin K to the puppies as to the pregnant female (during the last ten days of gestation). It will also be necessary to take into consideration the storage conditions of the food distributed:
the insufficiency of vitamin K is directly linked to the existence of poor conditions for preserving food (expiration date not respected, excessive heat, oxidation).
3. Bacterial infections
Conventionally, we mainly find streptococcal, staphylococcal and Coli bacillus infections. The favorable causes of these nonspecific bacterial infections are the absence of ingestion of colostrum, maternal infections (mastitis, metritis, dental or Bucco-gingival affections, pyoderma), as well as the ambient microbism (bad hygiene of premises, ventilation insufficient, humidity too high).
Contamination occurs through direct contact, through milk, but also through licking by the mother (it is common to observe these disorders in correlation with the persistence of tartar).
a) Localized conditions
Omphalophlebitis (umbilical infection) appears in the first five days after birth. There is edema in the umbilicus, a large, hard abdomen. It is most often a streptococcus which is at the origin of the process whose systematic evolution is peritonitis. Antibiotics administered intraperitoneally, therefore, represent the treatment of choice, possibly with surgical intervention if there is an abscess.
Neonatal pyoderma appears around the age of 5 to 10 days: on the skin of puppies, there are crusts and pustules localized on the head and neck, which can sometimes cause bulky edema of the face and swelling large submaxillary nodes. This dermatitis is often due to sticky, dried and over-infected placenta elements. The treatment consists essentially of a Betadine® shampoo.
Neonatal ophthalmia (acute purulent conjunctivitis) generally precedes the opening of the eyelids: the eyeballs are protruding under the pressure of exudates and pus. Treatment consists of opening the palpebral slit and administering antibiotic eye drops.
b) Toxic milk syndrome
The presence of toxins in breast milk leads, especially in the first 3 to 15 days after parturition, a syndrome characterized by complaints in puppies who have a swollen abdomen and a purplish and edematous red anus.
These disorders correspond to an incompatibility with breast milk, either by its composition (which is particularly rare), or by the presence in it of bacterial toxins; zinc deficiency and insufficient protein intake in the mother’s diet have been criticized, but are far from explaining everything.
The germs encountered, E. coli, S. hemolytica, Staphylococcus, originate from mastitis or from a postpartum uterine or vaginal infection; Toxic milk syndrome often follows laborious labor or having required obstetric labor.
Treatment consists first of separating puppies from their mother as soon as possible and breastfeeding them artificially; the mother will receive appropriate antibiotic therapy, and uterine emptying treatment may be implemented by the veterinarian.
c) Neonatal sepsis
This is a very acute condition, characterized by sudden mortality of the puppies in the first month. A first case appears in a litter, and the others follow with 12 to 24 hours of delay: the puppy signals his discomfort by cries, quickly followed by polypnea, then nervous disorders preceding a rapid death. At autopsy, hemorrhagic lesions are usually discovered. The diagnosis will be based on an identification of the germ responsible for the condition that the time is shortly after the death of the puppies
The treatment is often illusory in the first cases and consists of intensive resuscitation and nursing of the puppies which will be immediately separated from the mother, as well as the implementation of appropriate antibiotic therapy. Prophylaxis is the only truly effective therapy: as far as possible, the farmer must ensure the absorption of colostrum and the control of possible maternal diseases. At the same time, all the most energetic means of disinfection and sanitation must be used.
When the concentration of dogs is high or the facilities are poorly adapted, a certain number of conditions can lead to significant neonatal morbidity or mortality. In the most serious cases, this pathology can lead to the bankruptcy of the establishment.
The non-specific germs whose effects we have seen can also cause a real endemic and develop an important breeding microbism; other agents are responsible for a specific neonatal pathology.
1. Herpes virus
The herpes virus is responsible for occasional abortions, but especially for mortality in puppies. It is encountered more and more frequently inbreeding, and it causes significant economic losses. According to the authors, 48 to 74% of farms suffering from reproductive disorders have positive serologies.
a) Inapparent in adults
The clinical manifestations of herpes virosis are generally very discreet in adults. Small nodules 2 to 3 mm in diameter can be seen on the lining of the penis and vagina. These nodules are the site of active multiplication of the virus; the risks of contamination during the projection are significant.
Herpes also has a particular affinity for the first respiratory tract, causing nasopharyngitis, or sometimes involved in the secondary development of kennel cough.
This genital or respiratory infection is characterized by permanent carriage. The infected animal does not show any more symptoms, but continues to spread the virus, and can thus contaminate the subjects of another breeding.
b) Dazzling in puppies
Damage to the a fetus during gestation with mummification and abortion can be observed, but, as a rule, canine herpes causes mortality in very young puppies, less than 15 days old (5 at 9 days above all).
Contamination occurs during childbirth, through the nose, eyes or mouth. All secretions are very rich in viruses (tears, urine, stool, sputum). The incubation is short (4 to 6 days at most). The dog remains in good health and continues normal lactation.
The attack of the puppy is of septicemic type, with rather evocative symptoms (anorexia, depression, and disinterest for the mother, yellowish-gray soft stools more or less liquid, painful and continual complaints, pedaling movement, opisthotonos …) or on the contrary very cruelty (sudden death). Most puppies die within 24 to 48 hours; some escape, often becoming chronic carriers.
c) Control of herpes infection
There is no effective treatment for herpes virosis; the infection should be considered a lifetime infection. However, although the eradication of herpes virosis from a farm currently seems impossible, prevention is a key step in the problem.
We must first take the precaution of isolating a female who would have been introduced into a breeding during her gestation: the stress that this new arrival presents for the other dogs of the breeding is enough to produce a ” viral awakening ”and a multiplication of the herpes virus.
Serological checks can also lead to simple measures: avoid using an animal for reproduction when it is positive; avoid introducing a positive individual into the farm. Unfortunately, the seropositivity of a dog or a dog, even infected, is generally only of short duration.
This is the reason why, in the current state, the serological examination carried out outside a clinical context is of little interest. Systematic serological testing of males before mating is of little use.
Serology allows above all to assess the circulation of the virus within the farm: in other words, finding a seronegative dog or bitch does not mean that they are not infected with the herpes virus.
Various preventive measures are also useful during contamination:
Warm the puppies by keeping them in an atmosphere of 31 to 33 ° C (the rectal temperature must be higher than 37 ° C in order to limit viral replication which is maximum between 35 and 36 ° C; we can even place them puppies for three hours at a temperature of 37 ° C);
· Serotherapy may be considered before the onset of symptoms;
· Experimental treatment trials have also been carried out with Acyclovir® or immunity adjuvants, without it being possible to really determine their effectiveness.
Even if all these palliative measures will initially serve only to “limit the damage”, that is to say, the mortality of the puppies, they prove to be particularly effective in the long term. Indeed, if a female is infected during a first gestation, she can transmit a significant amount of virus within her reach; this same dog can nevertheless transmit protective antibodies to its subsequent litters which will make them less vulnerable:
it is on this principle that a new vaccine should be marketed in the coming months.
2. Distemper, Rubarth Hepatitis Rubarth
virus (CAV1) has been known since 1951 as an agent responsible for neonatal mortality. It can lead to the sudden death of which only the laboratory is likely to specify the etiology (and again, in difficult conditions, since the virus must be isolated after culture on dog kidneys). A slower form, characterized by a decline and the installation of a coma, has been described but remains particularly rare.
The congenital form of distemper can be observed when the infection of a female takes place during gestation: if there is no abortion, the puppy born infected dies within a few hours in a convulsive syndrome which does nothing pathognomonic. This overwhelming symptomatology differs from that observed on weaned puppies and suggests that the importance of this virosis in neonatal pathology is probably underestimated.
However, systematic vaccination of breeders before the gestation period considerably limits the incidence of these conditions in serious farms, and they can only be observed when the mothers are completely deprived of antibodies or when the production of colostrum is too weak (remember that colostrum can perfectly freeze in anticipation of this kind of accident).
However, it is advisable to remain cautious during the “critical period”, this famous period during which the level of antibodies of maternal origin in the puppy is insufficient to protect it from the parvovirus but too high for the vaccination to be effective.
3. Multifactorial gastroenteritis
Appeared in France in 1979 as an epizootic form, parvovirus has decimated a number of dog breedings before vaccination allowed its ravages to be contained. Although it mainly affects puppies during the weaning period (from 6 to 12 weeks) in the form of hemorrhagic gastroenteritis with diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy and intense dehydration, it can result, in the newborn, by a generalized infection of lightning evolution.
Even today, parvovirus remains frequent in dog breeding: it is due to the great power of resistance in the external environment of the parvovirus, as well as to the emergence of new strains, for which the effectiveness of vaccines seems to be attenuated.
Parvovirus-related mortality is also increased by the presence of intestinal parasitism (ascariasis, giardiasis, coccidiosis), as well as the association of coronaviruses and rotaviruses. It then becomes difficult, if not impossible, to incriminate a specific agent.
Even if the implementation of symptomatic treatment makes it possible to limit mortality, it is above all advisable to rethink all the installations and their maintenance: overcrowding, poor hygiene, heat, cold, humidity, faulty ventilation are systematically at the origin of these complications of breeding microbism.
Most canine breeders have faced the death of newborn puppies sooner or later, within hours or days of birth. When these cases remain limited, the breeder, although disappointed, generally does not undertake any additional research to determine the exact cause of death.
Indeed, there is in all animal species a significant mortality rate in the first days of life and, therefore, having from time to time a puppy that dies in a litter is not the sign of a serious infectious problem in animal husbandry.
Things get more boring when mortalities of newborns occur in series on the farm. In this case, either the puppies of the same litter each die in turn, or mortalities occur in several successive litters. The breeder is then legitimately worried and begins to fear that his breeding will be affected by an infectious problem likely to cause other losses on the litters to come.
However, the perinatal pathology is still poorly controlled, even if considerable progress has been made in recent years. Much research remains to be done to meet the demand for a clientele of more and more dog lovers. The positive results will come from close and systematic collaboration between canine breeders, veterinary practitioners, and veterinary research laboratories.
Finally, all of these considerations must obviously lead to a compromise between the comfort of the dog, that of the breeder, compliance with hygiene rules and commercial requirements. It, therefore, seems illusory to hope that each visitor goes through a decontamination airlock; Likewise, puppies raised for too long, sheltered from any health risk, are very likely to be badly socialized by lack of manipulation. Faced with this set of health and technical constraints, the farmer must, with the help of his veterinarian.