The Andys Veterinary Hospital

Fading Puppy Syndrome

This is a condition where puppies begin to deteriorate and die within a few days of birth. The causes of this condition are not well understood, however, inadequate availability of colostrum to puppies, little or lack of milk production from the bitch leading to hypoglycemia, low birth weight, congenital abnormalities, unhygienic and cold environment (chilling), and infectious diseases are known to cause this condition.

The goal is to have puppies consume colostrums in the first 4 hours of life, or at least in the first 12 hours of life. Colostrums provide puppies with the necessary antibodies that are vital in fighting of infections. It is important to call your vet immediately the puppies are born to ascertain that the dam has enough milk and institute corrective measures if she does not have enough milk (Condition known as agalactia). The post natal environment for the puppies should be clean and temperatures should be about 27 to 32 degrees centigrade. Unsanitary birthing process leads to contamination of the umbilical cord resulting to septicemia. Poor health of the dam contributes to low birth weight.

Risk of infection of E coli from the vagina of the bitch is a cause of fading puppy syndrome. Vaginal culture should be done before breeding and bitches positive of E coli should be treated. In addition, puppies born of bitches that are positive of E coli should be immediately treated with pediatric antibiotic suspensions. Canine herpes virus infection is one of the causes of fading puppy syndrome. This can be prevented by proper management of the kennel, bitch, dog shows, training and social activities. Round worms and hook worms may be contributing factor to fading puppy syndrome and it is important bitches have proper worm management and control. There is higher death rate of puppies born of caesarian section than those born natural. This could be attributed from stress from surgery to the dam and ultimately this affects the natural instinct of taking care of the puppies immediately they are born.

Treatment of fading puppy syndrome will depend on the causes and therefore it is important to seek advice from your veterinarian before one breed their bitch.

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