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.