View Full Version : Need some advice...puppy not thriving

19th April 2009, 02:50 AM
Hey guys. I wonder if you all can advise me on something. A friend of mine has a chihuahua/sheltie mix that had three puppies born about 8 days ago. One of them is a major runt. She borrowed my postal scale and the other two puppies weigh 14.9 ounces and 11.4 ounces. The runty guy only weighs 2.9 ounces. It stopped nursing about 3 or 4 days ago. At the instruction of a vet, my friend got a puppy bottle, syringe and puppy formula and has been feeding the little guy every 2 hours. She's been stimulating his bowels with warm cotton balls (wiping his bum). Well, he now is screaming (sound like a kitten screaming) and is clearly distressed. I called Bandit and Lizzie's breeder who said this "screaming" is typical for a puppy that isn't thriving no matter what you do and when it is close to death (she thought he'd probably be dead by morning). She said she has learned that if the puppy is very runty and the mother also rejects the puppy, it is usually futile to try to save them since every time she has tried, there has been some medical reason that the puppy wasn't thriving. She told me a couple of heartbreaking cases where she basically willed a puppy to live by using extraordinary means, yet had to put them down weeks, even months later because they were suffering.

My friend with the puppies has asked me if she ought to try to continue to feed him until nature takes it's course or should she go ahead and take him to the emergency vet (45 minutes away) since it is Saturday night and have him euthanized. She wondered if he is suffering badly and didn't want to leave him like that if he is.
What do you all think? What would you do?

19th April 2009, 02:56 AM
Poor little thing! I'd take him to the vet - see if they can help him and if not I wouldn't want to watch the little puppy suffer!

Jen and Ilsa

19th April 2009, 03:06 AM
Thanks for the advice. WHen she took him to the vet a few days ago, that is when they told her what to do about feeding him. THey didn't find anything wrong with him.

19th April 2009, 03:47 AM
Dogs have extremely strong instincts, and sometimes, a really small runt, like the one mentioned could have a birth defect and we just don't know what happened so it didn't develop. It would be different if it was a very large litter and it just wasn't getting fed enough, but that isn't the case. Most likely the momma knows something is wrong and realizes that it is futile to try to keep it alive. I'm really sorry to say this, but it is probably best to trust momma's instincts because the poor baby is just to small and probably isn't developed 100% internally like it should be.

My advice would be to visit a vet, but if it was me I would make it comfortable and hope that it goes to the bridge sooner than later. :(

Edit: I hope everything goes turns out well!

19th April 2009, 10:03 AM
I would be getting an emergency vet appointment for the wee thing,or even call her vet for advice.
Just in case the puppy can be saved.
Keep us updated....:(:( x

19th April 2009, 01:27 PM
First off I don't breed so have never tried this but always kept the information as it can be successful and if all else is failing, worth trying. Pasted here just as I copied it ........

Fading Puppy or Weak Puppy: Beef Liver Remedy
Recipe for fading or weak puppy...from what Ive been told it is a true life saver!! Thought this worth passing on...print and kept for safe keeping!

Beef Liver Remedy For Fading Puppies

Large piece of Beef Liver - boil slowly in a small amount of water (5 minutes or
until the blood comes out).

Let cool-drain the liquid ONLY; 4 drops into a dropper and feed the weak puppy.

First dosage every 2 hours for 12 hours, then every 4 hours. Continue for however long needed until the puppy is thriving on its own.

Don't feed or use the liver itself, it is far too rich; use only the liquid

hope this helps

19th April 2009, 01:54 PM
Any news Brotymo? i hope he's ok poor little lamb. i know they do say if the mother even rejects the pup theres something wrong with it but its soo hard. i hope the vet can help make the right decision:(

19th April 2009, 01:57 PM
I have faced this with a cavalier puppy I bred and if I am honest , I let myself be "swayed" by the Vet who suggested I keep feeding the puppy. It is our instinct to try and save life but a little voice in me said this would not end well. He was only 7 ozs at 3 weeks. Yes he did live he ended up a delightful dwarf with every fault you could name. Around a year he began with fits and after trying everything we put our "little Eli" to sleep at 2.5 yrs old.
It was hard and I wish I had been braver in the beginning , he was a delight but he had some issues that he should never have had to deal with.

Cathy Moon
19th April 2009, 02:39 PM
I'm sorry your friend is going through this. :( Ideally she needs a vet, an experienced mentor, and a breeder forum in that sequence, to help advise her. We don't for the most part have the level of experience she needs right now.

Our vet has a specialized nurse who will care for newborn pups 24/7; do you know if there is a similar service in her vicinity?

19th April 2009, 03:37 PM
What about contacting a rescue centre, sometimes you need advice, quick and accurate, no room for guess work, and from someone whos had exerienced with sick pups, sometime a breeder can be more experience because they have actually nursed sick puppies before. Like wise resue centres prob have had sick puppies left at their door. Worth a phone call. di

19th April 2009, 03:41 PM
How is he doing Suzie? How horrible to go through. I don't have a clue what to do but like everybody said your instinct is to want to save him. Your poor friend. Let us know how he does.

19th April 2009, 04:02 PM
Hi everyone. I am going to call her and check on the puppy shortly to see how the night went. I've not heard anything new since. What I keep hearing from experienced breeders is that vets aren't good at helping with fading puppies (beyond showing someone how and what to hand feed them and the importance of keeping the puppy from getting cold). Breeders have spent far more time up close and personal with the situation and vets can test for disease, but usually don't know what to do. I have recently reconnected with a childhood friend who I used to ride horses with (we kept our Arabians on the same farm and rode together often) who, suprisingly lives in the next town to me is also a veterinarian (found her after 25 years thanks to facebook!). She is offering her counsel. Unfortunately, things still don't look good.

19th April 2009, 04:08 PM
I think there is little you can do other than what youve said, is the pup by inself, or with other dogs, im just thinking if there is no other dogs for it curl up with i wonder if it wouldnt help to keep in a sling or something so its close to something warm and can feel a heartbeat. di

Cathy Moon
19th April 2009, 04:08 PM
I read that the fading puppy needs supervised time alone with mum.

19th April 2009, 04:11 PM
yes that sounds like it might help, or a surregate mother - dont you wish you could go over and help, all for a little puppy. di

19th April 2009, 04:25 PM
hi everyone. while the mother won't clean or care for the puppy, she will let it suckle. Problem is, it stopped doing that a few days ago (my friend took it to the vet then and got instructions on feeding). She is cuddling the puppy a lot and has a warming pad to keep his temperature up (getting cold is a death sentence for puppies). She also puts him with the other two pups for cuddles as well. I just don't feel in my heart like he has much chance. I hate to say it and I want to be wrong. The only other thing she might could do is subcutaneous lactate ringers solution (injected just under the skin at the top of the shoulders) to keep him hydrated and provide nutrients and electrolytes. The problem is, if they are too far gone, they can't even absorb the fluids and the only help is IV's. A pup as small as he is would most likely be impossible to insert an IV into.

19th April 2009, 07:34 PM
Hi Harleyfarley,
Thanks. BAndit and Lizzie's breeder is actually the rescue coordinator for the ACKCSC for our region. I've been getting advice from her, too.

Update on the puppy....He is not crying so much and is weak, but is still with her. Instead of the premade puppy formulas, she is going to try a recommended homemade one that uses goat's milk, egg yolk and karo syrup.

Thank you everyone for the advice and support. It has made my friend feel nice knowing that total strangers have concern for her puppy. You guys are awesome.

19th April 2009, 09:31 PM
If all else fails, do try the fading puppy formula I posted earlier, I know alot of the old kennel folk I know believe it can work miracles.

19th April 2009, 10:40 PM
I personally have NO experience, but have noticed that manytears.co.uk rescue seem to deal with cases like this / puppies with problems. I don't know them, but it's one place I've come across stories of puppies who sounded as though they wouldn't make it, but did.

20th April 2009, 09:27 PM
Well, what had appeared to be the looming fate of the puppy finally happened. The little guy passed away early this morning. My friend is very sad, but realizes that something was wrong that was incompatible with a healthy life.
I just feel bad for her. She is approaching the 1 year anniversary of losing her 15 year old son to an overdose of oxycontin (he took 4 pills recreationally, went to sleep and didn't wake up), and she is estranged from her 19 year old daughter who pretty much went off the deep end after her brother died. Her dogs are her babies now.
Thank you all for your suggestions. I passed along lots of the advice. My friend at least feels she did all she could.

21st April 2009, 07:11 AM
Ahh, that is so sad. I was really hoping the little baby would make it.*ng*l Seems as though your friend is the one that needs the prayers now. I will keep her in my prayers, losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to anyone. I can't imagine the pain she must be feeling with the one yr. anniversary approching. Please let her know she will be lifted up in prayer. :flwr:

21st April 2009, 07:27 AM
It is always sad to hear such stories, but tell your friend to take comfort in the fact that the pup is in a better place now.