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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 30351
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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day old puppy has a cut behind its ear caused by the mother

Customer Question

day old puppy has a cut behind it's ear caused by the mother breaking the birth sac. This ear is swollen, very dark in colour and has a smell about it.

Please advise of treatment
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 4 years ago.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. I don't know why your question languished on the question list. Day-old puppies have very poorly developed immune systems. The smallest cut or full thickness skin bite wound from the mother becomes infected quite quickly. The swelling, color change and odor suggest abscessation and an abscess can cause sepsis (the spread of infection throughout the body) which is life-threatneing in such a neonate.

The proper manner in which to handle this kind of infection in a neonate is to surgically widen the infected area so it can be thoroughly irrigated with normal saline. It's best not to use antiseptics because they can be toxic in such a young pup. Once the wound is thoroughly flushed, systemic antibiotics are administered in the form of oral drops. The choice of antibiotics is important because even antibiotics can be toxic at this age. An oral cephalosporin such as Cefa-Drops or potentiated amoxicillin (Clavamox, e.g.) is recommended. The dose must be reduced to that which is appropriate for a neonate.

It's best that your vet care for this pup as he/she can surgically approach the wound and dispense the appropriate antibiotics. Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.