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Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33293
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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My westie had five pups one week ago. Between 03.30 and

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My westie bitch had five pups one week ago. Between 03.30 and 06.45 this morning one of them howled, whined, cried and whimpered practically non stop. She wouldn't feed from mum with the others so I gave her 2.5ml welpie milk which calmed her for about five minutes then she started again. When she eventually slept, through sheer exhaustion I think, I thought she had died as she just didnt move. If this should happen again to her or any of the others what can I do for her please?
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
You've described a colicky pup - usually due to excessive gas formation but constipation can be a factor as well. Cuddles and tummy rubs can be quite helpful. In fact, mimicking mom's tongue with a warmed and moistened rough cloth rubbed from front to back on her tummy can stimulate gastrointestinal motility and passage of ingesta. Make sure that the pups are kept in a very warm environment (~30C) because chilling will slow down metabolism and GI motility.

When colicky behavior persists for more than a few hours, force feeding is indicated as you've done (one end stimulates the other) and manually stimulating defecation by carefully inserting a well-lubricated rectal thermometer just 1/2" into the pup's rectum and jostling it a bit can be helpful. Avoid oral anti-gas products (simethicone, usually) which have questionable efficacy in dogs in any event.

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hello Dr. Salkin,


Thank you for the advice, I shall try the tummy rub before bed tonight and we may all then get some sleep! I had also been reading about fading puppy syndrome and wondered if these were the symptoms and what I could do if it was? She is very quiet at the moment and has gained 15g in weight since yesterday evening.


The temperature of the room is 22C with a heat mat in the whelping box.


Thanks again for your response.


Lynn Fewster

Thank you for the additional information. Fading puppy syndrome shouldn't be suspected in a WHW pup who has gained 15g in just 24 hours! (As a guideline for you, puppies should gain weight daily at a rate of 2-7g per day for each kg of anticipated adult weight and should double their birth weight by 10 days of age.) Fading puppy syndrome is a catchall term for neonatoal losses between birth and 4 weeks of age. It's evidenced by a low birth weight, low weight gain, and/or failure to gain weight at all; sudden onset of illness characterized by depression, anorexia, hypothermia, persistent crying, abdominal distension/pain, and failure to suckle. Death can occur in 18-24 hours depending on the cause. Respiratory and gastrointestinal signs predominate in puppies.

I'm going to check back with you tomorrow for an update. Feel free to return to our conversation - even after rating - prior to my contacting you if you wish.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you for your kind accept. I appreciate it.

I'll speak to you soon.

Please disregard the info request.
May I have an update, please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Good morning Dr.Salkin,


Everything seems to have settled down with puppy, she is now feeding normally and quite content. She has also doubled her birth weight in 10 days.


Thank you for your advice and follow up interest.


Lynn Fewster

What a good update! Thank you for taking the time to do so.

Please disregard the info request.