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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10865
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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my dog gave birth to 5 puppies yesterday, she is panting heavily

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my dog gave birth to 5 puppies yesterday, she is panting heavily when nursing them, she has a dark bloody discharge but no smell is this normal. i am worried it is her calcium.

Hello Michelle, I'm Dr. Deb and I'll do my best to help you today.

First of all, congratulations on the birth of your five puppies; delivery is always a stressful process but such a rewarding one.

The dark bloody discharge sounds normal as long as there's not profuse amounts of it pouring out of her and there's no odor (see below). This could continue for up to a week or slightly longer and would be considered normal.

As to the panting that she's doing, there could be several different explanations for it:

1. She still has a pup in her which may or most likely will not be alive. An x-ray could easily determine if this is the case unless you know for sure that she only had five pups to deliver.
2. She's running a low grade fever which is commonly seen after whelping for about 24-38 hours. If you have a rectal thermometer, you can take her temperature. Normal is between100 and 102.5.
3. She could be in the early stages of a uterine infection or metritis. The signs associated with this condition might include a foul-smelling brownish or reddish brown vaginal discharge, anorexia, lethargy, fever, decreased interest in the pups.
These dogs will need antibiotics for this problem to resolve so I'd continue to monitor her vaginal discharge closely.
4. Low calcium or Eclampsia is a commonly seen problem in dogs, especially for the smaller breeds with large litters. Supplementation with Calcium Tablets (available at most pet or grain stores) may be something to consider. You can give her Tums if you can't get to the store right away (I know you have your hands full!).
5. Less likely, but still possible would be a retained placenta.

If this were my dog, I would take her temperature but wouldn't get too excited if it's high but < 104 degrees.
I would monitor the color and smell of the discharge. If it smells, then she should be seen by a vet pretty quickly.
I would supplement her with Calcium since nursing this many pups could create Eclampsia (LINK)

But if she's otherwise eating and taking care of her babies, then I might give it another day or so to determine if the panting disappears.

I hope this helps. Deb

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have taken her temprature and it is 39.3

That's 102.7 in Fahrenheit and just a tad higher than normal. I wouldn't be worried about it and would consider it normal since she just whelped. It should go back to normal (<39.1) over the next day or so.

Dr. Deb and other Dog Specialists are ready to help you

Thanks so much for the rating and bonus; it's greatly appreciated.

I'd like to check back in with you tomorrow about your girl just to see how she's doing.

Even though you've rated, we can still continue to communicate at no additional charge to you.

I know you're going to have your hands full but you can just get back to me when you have a minute if you wouldn't mind. Regards, Deb

Kindly ignore the request for additional information.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello, just like to say thankyou for the information. i think izzy has had a little bit of a post-natal fever, she was still panting through the night and has had loose stools but i think that is because she ate the placenta. she seems a lot better today no panting or heavy breathing her temprature has come down to 38.6 and she has ate her breakfast and is taking good care of her babies. i am really grateful because i was really worried about her. Thankyou again.


You're more than welcome and what excellent news!
I had a follow up email scheduled for today which I'll now cancel since it sounds like she's going to be fine as far as any possible complications from her delivery are concerned.

Please keep me posted about her and those babies if you have a chance. I always like to know how they're doing as time passes. Pictures are always appreciated and enjoyed:) Take care, Deb