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Ask Dr Scott Nimmo Your Own Question

Dr Scott Nimmo
Dr Scott Nimmo, Small Animal Veterinary Surgeon.
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 19132
Experience:  BVMS, MRCVS. { Glasgow UK }
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Hi I have a litter of shihtzu puppies that are 3 week old.

Customer Question

Hi I have a litter of shihtzu puppies that are 3 week old. They all had a vet check when they were born and everything was ok. One of the puppies hasn't grown as big as the others over the last 3 week and when she has been suckling off mum she sometimes struggled to latch on to the teat, i have helped her to do this and then she would suckle ok. Yesterday she stopped feeding altogether and looked very listless and i did all i could to get her to suckle but she wouldn't so i rang the vet and he said i could try and drop feed her sugar and honey in warm water and if she was no better this morning i should take her to the vet and they would put her on a drip. I expected her to be dead this morning but she isn't but she is very weak and i just want to know if the vet would actually be able to save her at this time or if there is anything else i can do to help her
regards
sue
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello, and welcome,

My name is Scott, I am an experienced small animal veterinary surgeon and I will be very pleased to work with you today and will try my best to answer your question to your satisfaction.

Please give me fifteen minutes or so to think through your particular problem, prepare an answer, and type things up. I will then get straight back to you and we can talk things over.

Regards,

Scott
Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again Susan and thanks for waiting,

I have worked out an answer for you, please read it through and see what you think, ... lets get started.

1. What is going on here? : Where a puppy is weak and does not grow in comparison to it's litter mates then it is often classified as a runt. Many of these poor puppies have congenital defects and others have acquired serious infections.

2. What are her chances? : Well I am going to be very honest here, where there is life there is always hope so you may want to have your vet give things a go if she is still around in the morning. But from what you have said so far my experience would be that her chances of survival would be very low even at your vet's surgery. Sorry ...

3. In the meantime honey and water orally on the hour would be about the best you can do.

I hope I have covered your question fully enough but if you would like further clarification or to talk things over a bit more then I will be on-line for the next hour or so and I will be more than pleased to continue working with you.

Regards,


Scott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for being honest. I have just been to drop feed her again and she had actually got up and walked down to the paper to have a wee so i thought this was a good sign. I tried to get her to suckle off mum and she was licking her lips as i squirted some milk onto her lips but she will not suckle. I have just given her some more honey and water and wrapped her up again and she is on a heat mat but she is just lifeless again. It is breaking my heart to watch her and if the vet can help then i would obviously take her but i don't want to take her away from mum unless she can be saved.

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

This is such a difficult situation for you I know, tonight make sure you get quite a bit of plain luke warm water { say one ml } into her on the hour, this will prevent dehydrarion and some honey rubbed on her gums will give her energy. The heat pad is a great idea.

As an alternative to going to the vet tomorrow get some dog milk substitute and give her that { very slowly and gently } five or six times a day using a small syringe or similar. If you could try that I cannot see you could be trying harder ...

Of course the object is to perk her up so you can put her back on her mother.

Good luck,

Scott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

i was trying to feed her with puppy milk formula with the srynge but she sounded like she was going to choke even though i was only putting very tiny amounts into her mouth. I was told that i could be sending the fluid directly into her lungs! is that true? also if it was an infection would she benefit more at the vets as they would give her antibiotics aswell


thankyou

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again,

Sure antibiotics from the vet could increase her chances, as could a drip. I was just giving you all your options. When you give any fluid orally be it plain water or puppy milk you have to give it very slowly indeed particularly when a puppy is very weak because if they inhale any into the lung field then that could be very serious. It can lead to an inhalational pneumonia.

Regards,

Scott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Does the fact that even though she is weak she still walked down from her bed to the paper to have a wee show she has some life left in her do you think? and even though i am doing all i can to help her the best place to be to stand the best chance is at the vets? i didn't want to send her there and take her away from her mum if she is going to die. I know it sounds silly but i would rather be home with me and mum if that is inevitable but if she stands a good chance of surviving i would rather her be at the vets.


thankyou

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again Susan,

I so wish I could answer this accurately for you, all I can say is that her situation sounds very bleak, and yes you could easily lose her but at the end of the day her best chance is with the vet ...

Regards,

Scott
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thankyou for your help. I keep seeing a glimmer of hope in her and i'm praying she survives as i will keep her with me forever if she does. I have just fed her a little more but if i don't see any sign of her suckling in the next hour i will take her to the vets and hope they can help.


kind regards


sue

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again Sue,

That sounds a sensible course of action.

Good luck,

Scott.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi just to let you know i have taken my puppy to the vets and she is now on a drip and beeing fed through her tummy so we will see how she is in the next 24 hours and follow whatever course of action they adivise me to take. Thankyou for your help


kind regards


sue

Expert:  Dr Scott Nimmo replied 3 years ago.
Hello again Susan,

I am in a different time zone from the UK and have just come back online this morning and found your reply, so sorry for the delay ...

You have done the right thing in taking her to the vet, I will contact you in a couple of days to see how she got on ...

Regards,

Scott

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