623 – Managing Your New Puppies’ Critical First 72 Hours

Managing Your New Puppies’ Critical First 72 Hours

Dr. Marty Greer, DVM joins host Laura Reeves to discuss managing the critical first 72 hours with new puppies.

A recurring theme with breeders and new litters is the term “fading puppy.”

“(Fading puppy) is basically we’re just lumping a bunch of stuff together and calling it fading puppy,” Greer said, “because we don’t necessarily have a confirmed diagnosis. We may not have a diagnosis yet. We may never have a diagnosis, but it is not a diagnosis. It’s just a description of a puppy that fails to thrive. And I think that a better term is failure to thrive rather than fading puppy because it’s more clear that it’s not really a term of diagnostics.

“I think a lot of owners and veterinarians tend to kind of throw up their arms and say, ‘well, it’s a sick puppy. I don’t really know what to do with it.’

“Well, there’s a lot of things you can do. Diagnostically, you can do almost everything to a small puppy that you can do to a big dog.  Now of course the bigger the puppy gets, the easier it is to do the diagnostics. But if you choose to pursue some of these diagnostics, it’s not that difficult. You can do an x -ray, you can do an ultrasound, you can do blood work. At the very least, do a glucose level.

“Worst case scenario, you lose a puppy. Don’t just put it in the freezer and walk away, take it to your veterinarian, ask them to either open it up for you or send it in for diagnostics.

“We’ve found things that are clearly one -offs. We’ve seen like the puppy doesn’t have an intestinal tract, a large intestine. Okay, that’s not gonna affect every puppy in the litter. But if you have herpes, if you have adenovirus, if you have distemper, if you have E. coli, if you have all these different kinds of diseases, the faster you can get a specific diagnosis and get a specific treatment put together, the better.”

Greer observed that puppies who fail to thrive may present as crying constantly or weak and not moving with the “swarm” of the litter. Dehydration and low body temperature are common and correctible issues that can knock a puppy down and even out in the first 72 hours.

Test hydration by monitoring urine color, Greer recommends, and be prepared to administer subcutaneous fluids if needed. Listen to the full episode as she walks listeners through this process and more.

416 – Neonates: 6 Danger Signs to Watch for in Your New Litter

Neonates: 6 Danger Signs to Watch for in Your New Litter

Doctor Marty Greer joins Host Laura Reeves to talk about a topic that is near and dear to both of them. Troubleshooting guidelines for neonates and baby puppies.

“About the time you think you know it all is when somebody puts their thumb on you and says ha just kidding,” Greer said.

Greer’s four “Hs” for newborn puppies are:

  • Hydration
  • Hypoxia
  • Hypothermia
  • Hypoglycemia

“We need to start with making sure that the puppies get delivered quickly enough that they can get out of the birth canal, out of the sack, out of the C-section, whatever direction they come out, get the sac off the face, airway cleared and oxygen delivered as quickly as possible. That’s really critical to good health, good brain development and the whole rest of the cascade starts with that,” Greer said.

“Hydration goes along with food,” Greer observed. “With a puppy, if they’re not nursing, they’re going to dehydrate and if they’re gonna not nurse, they’re going to have low blood sugar. These all intertwine.

“It’s really important that we keep the puppies nursing. If they’re not adequately nursing then the way to assess that is going to be if they’re not gaining weight and if their urine color isn’t a pale, pale yellow. Puppies should not have a dark colored urine after the first time that they urinate. So it should be pale yellow. The puppy should be gaining weight. You can’t really assess hydration on a puppy the way you do an adult dog or cat where you pinch the skin on the back of their neck and see if it seems tacky or sticky because puppies don’t have enough body fat to have that work the way it does another ages of animal. So we really have to look at urine color and weight gain.

Danger Signs

“You’ll see a puppy that seems weak, seems lethargic, seems listless. It may be really quiet or it may be crying. It just depends on the puppy and what stage in which they are.

“I see a puppy off by itself, it may not be that the bitch pushed the puppy away. It may simply be that that puppy needs to be warmed, needs to be hydrated, need some oxygen. You do those three things — you feed it, you hydrate it, you warm it up, you get oxygen. And boom. All of a sudden, that puppy regains its strength and it starts to compete and be back with the rest of the group very quickly.

Listen to today’s episode for more tips from Dr. Greer.

For more information in previous episodes, check out some of these links.