Sudden death in puppies is a really serious condition. This condition is also known as fading puppy syndrome. It is simply a term describing puppies that are apparently normal after birth, but gradually fade and die within the first period of two weeks of life.
There are a number of different conditions causing sudden death in puppies. Sometimes, the deaths are related to a birth defect which was not immediately apparent.
There are some signs of sudden death in puppies. Most of the signs last only about 24 hours before death. Moreover, some illnesses may be preceded by low weight and failure to thrive. If any signs occur, it is better to call the veterinarian as soon as possible.
The common signs of sudden death in puppies include low weight at birth, failure to gain weight, soft stools or diarrhea, continual crying, difficulty in breathing, vomiting, excessive salivation, painful abdomen and ignored by the mother. Most of the time, the fading puppies will experience the loss of muscle tone, severe lethargy and death.
Cause Sudden Death in Puppies
Now, it’s time to see the causes of sudden death in puppies or the causes the puppies “fade”. There are some causes why a puppy “fades” and dies soon after that.
The main reason may be its immune system. The immune system of a fading puppy may not really function well and as a result, it gives limited protection and unable to regulate the body temperature and fluid. However, aside from this reason, there are some other causes too. Here they are:
- Birth defect
- Low weight at birth
- Lack of feeding time compared to siblings
- Lack of milk production by the mother or poor quality of milk
- Inadequate maternal care
- Infections, such as septicemia, the bacterial infections which becomes systematic and is able to kill the puppies quickly.
- Viral infections, often is inherited from the mother. The examples are Canine herpesvirus, canine parvovirus, canine distemper and canine adenovirus
- Intestinal parasites, such as hookworm – also read how to treat ringworms in puppies
- Constipation – also get to know the natural treatments for puppies constipation
- Congenital abnormalities
- Complications and trauma during the birth process which affect the puppy
Aside from those common causes of sudden death in puppies, there are more causes. These are called the big four, which consist of E.coli, Streptococcus, Staphylococcus and Herpesvirus.
Most puppies are possibly exposed to those infections either in the birth canal or after they’re born. Staphylococcus, Streptococcus and E.coli commonly occur in the birth canal of a healthy mother dog.
You can make sure to provide your female canine a clean whelping area, but it is not possible to give her and the babies a genuinely clean and sterile environment. That means that a fading puppy syndrome can be congenital or infectious.
The next question will be how you can treat the puppy which is likely to have the syndrome. You should bring the puppies once you notice the symptoms above, or if you notice these following conditions, such as not having the same growing rate as its siblings, not latching, always separating itself and always crying. After you bring it to the vet, there will be several tests conducted to check it, such as blood, urine and feces tests.
There’s nothing much you can do once you have a puppy with fading syndrome. All you can do is getting the veterinarian’s help. Good home care will not give it 100% or the best chance to recover and survive.
That’s why it is very important to have the puppy checked. After it is checked by the vet, then you can do the home care. The fading puppy needs three essential things: heat, calories and fluid.
They will support the puppy for the first 2-4 days of its life. When you do home care, make sure you give proper care and the surrounding should be strictly hygienic.
Lastly, prevention is the best way to manage sudden death in puppies. Make sure the mother dog is vaccinated regularly so that it will reduce the puppies’ likelihood of exposure to viruses.
These important tips to take care of your dog before having puppies will surely give the ideas. Maintaining the mother dog’s health, specifically during the gestation and lactation period is extremely important for the survival of the puppies.
Moreover, practicing good hygiene while handling the puppies can also minimize the chance of the spread of the infection. Having a puppy is always exciting, but it needs a hard work and extra attention too.
If you have a puppy or plan to have one at home, make sure you are knowledgeable about how to toilet train your puppy and how to keep your puppies safe playing outside home.