Specialist Neonatal Care.

To know when to intervene, to know what is the right manner in which to save a puppy, and the long time question of, should a breeder hand raise, has been answered elsewhere in my web site and also in my book. This section is dedicated to those who have agreed the answer is "yes".

First sign of trouble in a newborn, there is no time to waste. Don't wait around for a diagnosis, treat all puppies immediately with a broad spectrum antibiotic such as Clavulox liquid at the rate of 0.1ml to (according to weight) 0.4 ml three times a day.

In order to save critical care newborns, one must learn how to stomach tube feed correctly.

The only thing different I would have done to the vet performing the tube feeding is made sure there was no air in the syringe before tube feeding. Also I would have measured from the tip of the puppy's nose to the last rib cage, marking the tip of the nose end with a permanent marker. Also, I lay the puppies flat on a non slip surface (warm surface) on their abdomens while tube feeding.

In a critically ill dehydrated puppy, I would administer IV fluids directly under the skin (subcutaneously) before attempting tube feeding. I would not administer formula either by tube or otherwise in a chilled and dehydrated puppy, only fluid until hydration occurs. With subcutaneous fluid injections, inject only a small amount, which has been previously warmed up to body temperature, at different sites of the body. For a Toy breed of puppy up to 10 ml every two hours is sufficient.

Using my neonatal puppy bag and underlying heat, gradually bring the chilled puppy's body temperature to normal body temperature. Do not over heat. Read more on this method on my page on the neonatal puppy bags and their use.

Keep the puppy in the humidity crib as set up and described on the page humidity crib. Once body temperature is normal, hydration is normal, you may then administer formula which has been diluted with 50% cooled boiled water. The formula I use is found on the page for hand raising puppies. DO NOT give full strength formula right away. Tube feed puppy dilute formula for up to 24 hours, every two hours in the rate of 1 ml (toys).

Once the initial 24 hours has passed, offer the puppy a bottle, if the suction reflex is still weak or puppy refuses to suckle, resort to tube feeding. Offer bottle before each feed.

Stimulate puppy to eliminate prior to feeding, even tube feeding, be sure to take notice of urine consistency and color. Dark colored urine, concentrated, indicates the puppy is still dehydrated and kidney function has not been fully restored as yet. Keep up fluids. It is not uncommon for a puppy not to pass a stool every feed, it is not constipation, but he should have at least one to two motions passed within a 24 hour period. Diarrhea must be corrected with the administration of a good anti diarrhea medication. I use Neosulcin which contains a sulphar based antibiotic. I have used this on day old newborns with no ill effect.

Once puppy is back on full strength formula remember to add the natural yoghurt to the formula. This is important.

Hand raised puppies must be washed down daily. I use "wet cloths" as used for human infants to keep them clean. Eyes, even if closed, are gently bathed with warm water and a cotton ball.

Constipation is not common if the right formula is given, but in the case where it happens, add one or two granules of Epsom Salts to cooled boiled water to which glucose has been added, give this as one feed and omit the formula for that feed. Gently massaging the rectum with the tip of a cotton bud which has been dipped in oil or lubricant also helps. Lastly, if desperate, you can make up a mild soapy enema, using warm water and very mild soap. Gently insert this into the rectum with the use of a fine catheter, making sure not to insert too far into the rectum and only use 04. ml.

Written By
Anne Roditis-Muscat
Author of the Book
"Let's Talk Dogs"
copyright 2007