Saturday, April 9, 2011

Diseases of newborn pups

            Weak and stillborn puppies are a common occurrence with Imperial Valley mother dogs.  Owners often claim the cause of death was the mother lying on the young pup.  For the most part this is incorrect.  Most of these pups I have examined were affected by one disease or another.  As such these problems could have been avoided or prevented.
            Several weeks ago a lady brought in a terminally ill three-week-old pup with purulent exudate sealing eyelids of both eyes. She said two litter mates of the pup died shortly after birth.  Cause of this pup’s illness was not readily apparent to me but a scraping of the inflamed conjunctiva showed canine distemper virus in epithelial cells.  I have seen this before: pups being infected with distemper at birth or in the uterus near the termination of pregnancy resulting birth of dead or dying pups.  Had the bitch been given a routine vaccination by a veterinarian a month or so before breeding the chance of her shedding the distemper virus that infected the pups in utero or neonatally would have been greatly reduced.  Note; live virus vaccination very near to conception or during pregnancy can adversely affect the pups before birth.
            There are other diseases causing abortion and neonatal weakness and death that serious dog breeders are advised to prevent if they are seeking healthy litters.  These are venereal diseases transmitted between breeding pairs, canine herpes virus and brucellosis.  Once infected with these diseases dogs can have breeding problems for years.  By having prospective mates tested by a veterinarian a month or so prior to breeding infected brood stock can be identified and avoided.  Thus, valuable breeding stock should be mated only with animals that have tested negative for canine herpes virus and brucellosis.

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