Signs of this condition are as follows: 
  • fever
  • foul-smelling vaginal discharge
  • listlessness
  • loss of appetite
  • no interest in the puppies
  • decreased milk production

If these signs are noted, usually in the first day or two postpartum, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your dog may have retained a placenta or have suffered some trauma during delivery. Animals who have required assistance with delivery are often predisposed to metritis. 

This condition results when the bitch has trouble supporting the calcium demand of lactation. Calcium supplementation predisposes a bitch to this condition. Usually affected animals are small dogs. They demonstrate:

  • nervousness and restlessness 

  • no interest in the pups 

  • stiff, painful gait 

This progresses to:

  • muscle spasms

  •  inability to stand

  • fever

  • seizures

This condition generally occurs in the first three weeks of lactation and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. 

Eclampsia (convulsions not associated with other cerebral conditions such as epilepsy or cerebral hemorrhage) can occur in the dog as a result of lactation. The greater the quantity of milk produced, the more likely it is that eclampsia will occur. When calcium is lost in the milk faster than it is absorbed, or than it can be mobilized from the skeletal system, hypocalcemia results. Signs are muscle fasciculations, tetany, and death. The treatment is to slowly (10-15 min) administer a calcium solution intravenously. As you treat, the amplitude of heart sounds will increase, and the heart rate will decrease. If the heart rate increases, or becomes arrhythmic immediately stop calcium administration. 

A bitch with a large litter two to four weeks into lactation is especially susceptible to eclampsia. Some would suggest giving extra Ca prior to the time it is needed. However, this does not help, because excess Ca intake decreases the efficiency of Ca absorption from the intestine, inhibits parathyroid hormone secretion, and stimulates thyrocalcitonin secretion. These changes decrease the ability of the dog to mobilize Ca from the bone, when additional Ca is needed; it takes 1 to 3 weeks to reverse the effects. Of course, this is not fast enough, and hypocalcemia and eclampsia occur. Giving Ca when it is needed, during the first week through the fourth or fifth week of lactation, may be helpful; 500 mg of calcium carbonate (about one Tums, the antacid you take for upset stomach) per 5 kg of body weight per day, but only for the bitch in which eclampsia has previously occurred. The best treatment is to get the puppies off the dam as quickly as possible, either onto solid food or a bitch's milk replacer.

Normal nursing glands are soft and enlarged. Diseased glands are red, hard, and painful. In general, the bitch does not act sick; the disease is confined to the mammary tissue. The bitch may be sore and discourage the pups from nursing; however, it is important to keep the pups nursing the affected glands. This is not harmful to the puppies and helps flush out the infected material. Hot packing may be helpful. 

Most dogs are excellent mothers and problems are few. The basic rule is to seek veterinary care if she seems to feel sick of if she ceases to care for her young. Puppies nurse until they are about six weeks old and then may be adopted by new homes.

This lactating bitch provides an example of the nutritional stresses associated with lactation. The characteristics of the litter which determine the level of nutritional stress on the mother are: the size of the puppies, the number of puppies in the litter, and their age. The peak energy needs of the bitch occur when puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old. If a bitch is nursing more than 4 to 5 puppies she should receive a diet containing 28 to 30% protein and 20 to 25% fat during heavy lactation. 

Proper vitamins and trace minerals also must be provided. Supplementation may be necessary, but a proper calcium:phosphorus ratio should be carefully maintained. 

These are some observations on feeding the lactating bitch. She should be fed 1.5 times maintenance for the first week, 2 times maintenance for the second, and 2 to 3 times maintenance amounts for the third week of lactation. Ontko and Phillips noted little or no loss of weight when lactating bitches were fed a basal diet of 427 calories per 100 gm. of ration, but a weight loss occurred when bitches nursing four or more puppies were fed a diet containing 310 calories per 100 gm. Therefore, increasing the caloric density of the diet assures improved lactation. Care must be exercised in adding fat or a diet of higher caloric density. Problems in low birth weights and high death rates occur in litters which have only an increased fat percentage. Fat must be balanced by protein increases, so that 17% protein should balance with 7.5% fat, 25% protein should balance with 20% fat, and 29% protein should balance with 30% fat to assure that increased caloric density will not induce protein deficiency. A protein intake of 25 to 50% of the diet on a dry weight basis appears optimal. A commercial maintenance diet should have 2 to 4% animal protein added, such as liver. Increases of fat also make the diet more palatable.

The digestive capacity of the pet must be considered when increasing the ration of a companion animal during lactation. If the quantity of food required exceeds the amount she can eat in one feeding, then divide that into three or four feedings per day. 

Most puppies are weaned at 6 to 7 weeks of age. This appears to be the optimum time from both the nutritional and behavioral standpoints. At this age they are sufficiently adapted to their species yet young enough so that they adapt well to people and, therefore, become good pets. 

It is helpful to restrict the food intake of the bitch before and during weaning to prevent excessive distension of the mammary glands and discomfort after weaning, particularly for good milk-producing bitches with large litters. This may be accomplished by separating the bitch from the litter during the day and withholding all food the day before weaning, but reuniting the bitch and pups that night and removing the food from the pups. Then gradually increase the amount fed the bitch after the pups are completely removed so that by several days after weaning she is receiving the amount needed for maintenance.

The behaviour of both lactating cats and their kittens is affected by a protein restricted diet. Vocalization and movement in the home box are both higher in kittens whose mothers are not receiving enough protein in the diet. Nursing behaviour was abnormal in those queens, also. 

The symptoms of pyometra may not be obvious if there is no vaginal discharge (locked pyometra). This is the riskiest type, because the fluid will not drain spontaneously, for three reasons:
- The cervix is closed.
- Progesterone saturation maintains the uterus in a relaxed state as if it were pregnant.
- The horizontal position of the uterine horns does not facilitate spontaneous drainage. 
Clinically speaking, pyometra often causes lethargy, increased thirst (polydipsia) and increased urine output (polyuria). This can be complicated by kidney dysfunction due to the toxins produced. The veterinarian can confirm the diagnosis by means of a vaginal smear, abdominal palpation, blood samples, X-rays or ultrasound. 
A considerable amount of pus (several litres!) may accumulate. 
Medical treatment relies on certain antibiotics and hormones (prostaglandins) that cause the uterus to contract and the cervix to open, thus facilitating drainage. 
Unfortunately, this treatment is restricted to bitches that can tolerate it (depending on the seriousness of the disease) and whose owners wish to salvage their ability to breed. In other cases, surgery (removal of the uterus and the pus it contains) is usually indicated to give the best chance for a rapid and permanent recovery. 

Go here to our online page for PYOMETRA

Turner and Gomez, in their 1934 work on the mammary gland of the dog described a condition called "complete pseudopregnancy." In the dog this condition extends for a period comparable to normal pregnancy and the development of the mammary gland includes the growth phase during the first half and the gradual initiation of lactation during the second half of the false pregnancy. Therefore, normal secretory activity is not dependent either upon the foetus or foetal membranes. The uterus is apparently not necessary either, as a hysterectomized female was given hormones and began the glandular growth phase. 

Pseudopregnancy can be very helpful to the breeder who needs a foster mother to nurse orphaned, abandoned, or extra puppies. On the other hand, the home owner with a single, female dog who is not allowed to mate during estrus will frequently have to contend with unwanted milk dripping. Veterinarians can administer bromocriptine to "dry up" the milk. Behaviourists note nesting behaviour and even straining movements which simulate parturition about nine weeks after estrus. The dog owner is counselled to discourage nesting behaviour, not to let the dog "nurse" any rolled-up socks she has stolen, and provide interesting outside activities. 




May 2003 WASHINGTON (AP) --Veterinarians now can offer an alternative to surgery to neuter puppies.

Called Neutersol, it's a shot administered directly into the testicles of puppies at the right age for neutering. The ingredients -- the amino acid l-arginine and a zinc salt -- cause the testicles and prostate to atrophy.

The alternative, surgically removing the testicles, guarantees sterility. In a study of 224 dogs, Neutersol did almost as well: Semen analysis showed only one sterilization failure, said Dr. Melanie Burson of the Food and Drug Administration.

The FDA approved Neutersol in March, but did not announce the approval until Monday.

A type of chemical castration already is available for humans. Sex offenders often are sentenced to regular injections of hormones that deplete testosterone. But that's not permanent sterilization.

The new method for dogs is permanent, but some testosterone production continues because it's not hormonally driven, Burson said. So unlike surgical castration, Neutersol may not eliminate unwanted male behaviors such as roaming, marking and aggression, the FDA warned.

Pet overpopulation is a serious problem, and scientists have struggled to find ways to make animals infertile. Some were dangerous either for the animal or for the veterinarian administering them, said Bruce Addison, founder of Addison Biological Laboratory of Columbia, Missouri, which is selling Neutersol.

For some reason, Neutersol ingredients are toxic to cells when injected directly into the testicles but not other parts of the body, Addison said.

It is crucial for vets to administer the shot properly, and for owners to care for the puppy during the following week to avoid ulceration and infection of the injection site, the FDA said.

Scientists now are studying whether Neutersol can safely sterilize older dogs and cats, Addison said.

PUPPY STRANGLES (Juvenile cellulitis)

Juvenile cellulitis (also known as puppy strangles) is a common disease affecting puppies from 3 weeks to 12 months old. It is most often seen in dachshunds, retrievers, and pointers. It can also affect other littermates. 
The most common sign is an enlargement of the lymph nodes of the neck but skin lesions of the head and neck are usually noticed first. In some cases, fever or a lack of eating is also present. 
Juvenile cellulitis may be fatal if not treated with a course of steroids. Therefore, anyone with a dog that presents these symptoms should visit their veterinarian as soon as possible to begin treatment.

E-mail Us to report a broken link!

Main Categories