Preparation-Care | Premature | Mother Dog Giving Birth | My Pug Dog have Pup at around 50 Days |
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Are puppies, like babies, sometimes born prematurely?
"Premature delivery does occur in dogs but it is not common."
Premature delivery does occur in dogs but it is not as common as you might think. Often these so-called premature deliveries have actually been an error in recording the mating dates or a miscalculation in gestation period (period of pregnancy), which is usually sixty-three (63) days.
How can I tell if the pups are premature?
Truly premature puppies may be small, thin, and have little or no hair. Mothers will often reject premature puppies and these puppies soon die of hypothermia (low body temperature). Survival is possible but they require an enormous amount of care and often have to be hand fed since they are unable to suckle. Sometimes they have to be fed by stomach tube (called gavage feeding). If necessary, your veterinarian will show you how to do this.
"Ensure that the puppies receive some of the mother's first milk or colostrum, which is rich in antibodies and helps prevent infection in the newborn puppies."
If it is at all possible, ensure that all premature puppies receive some of the mother's first milk or colostrum, which is rich in antibodies and helps prevent infection in the newborn puppies.
What else should I know about caring for premature puppies?
Excessive heat (hyperthermia) can be just as harmful as cold or hypothermia. The environmental temperature surrounding the puppies must stay at around 90°F (30°C) and the box must be large enough so that the puppies can move away from a heat source if necessary.
The puppies must be kept in a humid atmosphere if they are being raised away from the mother. The mother usually licks and cleans the puppies frequently. As a result, not only is the environment warm, it is also moist. You can provide a moist environment by placing warm, damp cloths in the box beside the pups in the event you are raising orphaned puppies.
How long will I have to hand raise premature puppies?
If the puppies can suckle, your veterinarian will show you how to hold them on to the mother's teats. If this fails, your veterinarian will advise you on milk replacement formulas and proper puppy bottles. Once the puppies are stronger and able to suckle properly, the mother may resume caring for them.
"Hand-raising puppies is extremely challenging and many puppies fail to survive."
Although it can be rewarding if the puppies survive, hand-raising puppies is extremely challenging and many puppies fail to survive despite your best efforts.
Are some of the puppies likely to be stillborn or die shortly after birth?
With animals that have multiple births, like dogs and cats, it is not unusual for some of the offspring either to be stillborn or to die shortly after birth. Sometimes a stillborn puppy will disrupt the birthing process, resulting in dystocia or a birthing complication. At other times a dead puppy may be born normally.
Determining the cause of these neonatal deaths is often impossible without a full post mortem examination (necropsy or autopsy), including bacteriological cultures and submission of tissues to a histopathologist. Some causes of neonatal death are preventable. It is important to consult with your veterinarian regarding any problems with your pet's pregnancy or whelping.
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