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Care Management Puppy-Clinical Case Report

Care and Management of Puppy-Clinical Case Report

The interval from birth to weaning is very short and transient period for dogs and cats; it is a very critical and intensive period of adjustment to the extra-uterine environment and preparation for the relatively greater independence of post-weaning (Bebiak et al., 1987). This rapid progression of events is preceded by critical developmental transitions, including organogenesis and parturition, and it is characterized by post-parturient transitions that include the 3–4 days neonatal period, the 21–28 days maturation and weaning itself. Prior to breeding a bitch to make sure she doesn’t have any health problems that might affect her pregnancy. Make sure she is current on all her recommended vaccinations to maximize the amount of antibodies she will pass on to her puppies. She must have negative tests for intestinal and blood parasites (such as hookworms and heartworm respectively) and must not have a carrier of brucella canis bacteria. A high percentage of neonatal puppy and kitten mortalities have combinations of pulmonary congestion, edema, hemorrhage, and atalectasis (Fox, 1963).

The purpose of this discussion is to consider pediatric management in clinical settings, with an emphasis on preventing problems from the neonatal period through weaning.

Case History

A non-descriptive pregnant bitch (cross) with exhibition of panting, restlessness, vomiting, anorexia (loss of appetite) and nesting behavior was admitted in the Madras Veterinary Clinics. Physical examination and owner’s complaint suggest that it was a late pregnant bitch. The dog was immediately given fluid therapy and took in the intensive care unit for delivery.


Birth of Pup

In the bitch’s the sign of pregnancy is loss of appetite within about four weeks into her pregnancy (the range is 3 to 5 weeks) and is the most reliable symptom indicating pregnancy. After 5 weeks, the bitch will begin to gain weight, may show moderate discomfort, and her mammary glands begin to enlarge. At this point, she should consume 20% more food to adequately nourish her pups.

After 5 hours of admission the bitch was excited and the uterine and abdominal muscle contractions was prominent wit h the delivery of a pup and simultaneously the expulsion of the pup’s placenta. It was taken 30 minutes and then come out the next pup.


Fig:1 Removing of pup from whelping site Fig:2 Squeezing of nipple to get milk for pup
Fig:3  suckling behavior Fig:4 Keep in the incubator

Feeding of Colostrum

After the puppy was born it was encouraged to suck the bitch nipple. The suckling  behavior was initiated by placing the mouth of the neonate on the nipple while gently squeezing a small amount of milk on to the neonates tongue, repeated for several times each 24 hours. Colostrum intake is critical, principally because of passive antibody transfer.  Colostrum ingestion increased serum immunoglobulin concentrations in neonatal kittens, documenting successful transfer of passive immunity and it will prevent the puppies from infectious diseases. Very soon after birth, puppies should begin suckling from the mother. Newborns have very low reserves of energy, so they must obtain fresh reserves from the milk. In addition, since very few antibodies come from the mother through the placenta (blood) before whelping, puppies must get infection-protecting antibodies from their mother’s first milk. However, if puppies don’t ingest the milk within 12 to 16 hours after birth, very few antibodies can be absorbed and the puppy will be susceptible to infections until he can produce his own antibodies after four weeks of age (Yamada et al., 1991).

Temperature Regulation

Neonates had been given supportive warming by kept in the incubator. Voluntary suckling behavior and ambient temperature was monitored carefully. The ambient temperature was followed by the guidelines for orphaned puppies which include: 29 to 32.8° C (85 to 90.8°F) through Day seven (7); 27.8°C (80.8°F) from Days 8 through 28 days; 21–24.8°C (70–75.8°F) from Days 29 through 35 days; and 21.8°C (70.8°F) thereafter.

Thermoregulation is problematic in the neonate and a common cause for infant death. The shivering reflex and peripheral vasoconstriction response are not fully developed until at least 1 week. Their relatively large body surface area of non-cornified skin, plus the lack of insulating fat, promotes rapid heat loss by conduction, convection, and radiation. The vulnerable young must rely on the ambient temperature; the dam’s mothering instincts, and/or litter mates for warmth (Hoskins, 2001).

Excessive ambient heat is recognized by changes in litter positioning (separated vs. normal huddling), character of respiration (hyperthermia results in hyperventilation and openmouthed breathing), elevated rectal and skin temperature and distress vocalizations that express discomfort (Lawler , 2008). Slow warming; over 1–3 hours followed by parenteral fluid support are the primary therapeutic steps. Oral alimentation is established or re-established after normothermia is achieved (Lawler, 1991). Neonates that have been given supportive warming should be monitored frequently during lactation for the reoccurrence of hypothermia.

Simulation of Defecation and Urination

After each feeding, puppy’s external anal and urinary orifices were stimulated by gentle message with cotton or soft cloth for effective defecation and urination. This process was continuing until puppies begin to urinate and defecate voluntarily, which was occurred between 15-20 days, depending on the condition and rate of maturation of the puppies.

Neonates cannot voluntarily urination or defecate. These functions are initially controlled by an ano-genital reflex associated with vigorous stimulation of the perineal area with the mothers tongue or a wet swab. Although this reflex is present for up to 28 days in puppies and the stimulation is only requires for the first 18–21days (Hoskins, 2001).


Throughout the pregnancy, the bitch should be fed a high quality diet containing a protein level of 27-34% from animal sources, 18% fat and 20-30% carbohydrates.  Recent research suggests that it requires 8 months for a bitch to return her nutritional stores to the pre-breeding level.  We recommend continuing her on a quality food if another breeding is planned within the year.

Careful management of the pregnant bitch (prenatal period), birth of the pups (parturition) and the postpartum (neonatal) period is critical to assure the best possible outcome. The goal of this information is to arm you with ammunition you need to maximize your success rate.   We cannot expect our bitches and puppies to thrive unless we manage their health, nutrition and environment carefully.

Dogs began having puppies long before humans came into their lives, so there’s no vital need for intense, day-to-day management of pregnant dog. It’s much more important for owners to understand what’s normal during their dog’s pregnancy and to intervene when there are signs of trouble. For the first three weeks of life, a puppy is almost devoid of senses. Its eyes, ears and nose don’t begin to work properly until the third week. During this period, puppies sleep most of the time and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sleep is vital for a newborn puppy’s development.  Activated sleep is important for the development of the neuromuscular system and appears to be the mechanism by which newborn puppies develop muscle tone and begin to develop coordination.


The authors are grateful to the teaching staff at Madras veterinary clinics, Tamilnadu, Chenni, for their kind co-operation to conduct the study.


Bebiak DM, Lawler DF, Reutzel LF. Nutrition and management of the dog (1987). Vet Clin North Am; 17, Pp: 505–533.

Fox MW (1963). Neonatal mortality in the dog. J Am Vet Med Assoc; 143, Pp: 1219–1223.

Hoskins J (2001). Veterinary Pediatrics, 3rd Edition, Elsevier Publishing Co., Philadelphia, PA.

Lawler DF (1991). Wasting syndromes of young cats. In: Small animal reproduction pediatrics. Ralston Purina Co.; Pp: 52–68.

Lawler DF (2008). Neonatal and pediatric care of the puppy and kitten, Science direct journal 384-392.

Yamada T, Yoshinori N, Motoo M (1991). Changes in immunoglobulin values in kittens after ingestion of colostrum. Am J Vet Res; 52, Pp: 393–396.

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admin • April 22, 2016

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