I have a litter of 11 healthy pups. They are almost 3 weeks now and there is one female that is a preemie. She still has a big soft spot and does not act well all the time. I bottle feed her 4X a day because she never makes it to nurse in time and when she does -- she can not latch on to mom. Her paw was not formed all the way and she looks like a apple head chihuahua instead of a pit bull. She is not walking but her eyes are open and she will give me kisses. Has anyone ever raised a preemie? Is it worth all the extra work or do they not make it in the end? She is not even a pound and her siblings are over 4 pounds now. Any suggestions on what to do with her.
What does your vet say? Poor thing, among other things it sounds like she may have water on the brain.
I think if she is thriving, though she has a long road ahead of her...don't give up on her just yet. But, if the bad days seem to out weigh the good...it is best to put her to rest peacefully now, before it gets really bad for her and everyone gets too attached to her.
She is adorable though. Looks like she's a fighter to me!
I would have the vet check her for the hydrocephilitis (sp)(water on the brain), it isn't really common, but it is something that can happen. If so, it is generally not so good prognosis. Good luck with the little one.
I can tell you that once or twice I have had a puppy with a similarly shaped head and despite even tube feeding they began wasting away and eventually died by 28 days. I truly hope you have better luck with your puppy. My vet suspected the hydrocephulus though, so hopefully yours is just small and will bounce back.
Mine just didn't thrive or grow, despite extra intestive care. It is even more heartbreaking with those puppies because you have been trying to save them round the clock for weeks.
With those puppies, some times I look back and wonder if it was right that I kept them going so long, because at the end they were SO sick. I guess I was hoping they would turn around, and I really really don't like to put things down if they have a chance. It is a tough situation one of the many aweful things that can happen breeding dogs.
TO ME that doesn't sound like a Preemie. It sounds like you have something else going on developmentally. Like maybe she was one of the pups that was meant to be reabsorbed. (Females ovulate and fertilize 1 1/4 times as many eggs as they will carry to term - the rest are reabsorbed as her body decides what it can handle carrying to term) Usually, in a very large litter, it's almost expected that you'll lose a pup or have one with some kind of developmental problem (with Shelties, 5 pups is an average litter. I had one Mom decide to have 9 - 2 were still born and obviously passed a couple of days before the litter was born).
I have had a whole litter born premature. They were about 3-4 days earlier than they should have been (born at 58 days after the first breeding, but the Mom carried to 62 days on both of her previous litters). They were all born without hair on their ears and only had hair halfway down their legs. It took me 3 times as long to get them going and nursing as a normal pup, and we had to keep the whelping box especially warm and humid and we treated everyone for hypoglycemia. Their eyes opened at 18-21 days. They basically ran 4-5 days behind a normal pup through their entire development. I normally keep pups until 9 weeks - these guys I kept until 12 weeks to let them catch up. I also let them nurse from Mom a week longer.
Having ONE pup premature in a litter is not nearly as common as most people think. Pups can only be officially conceived once the bitch has ovulated and the eggs have been fertilized. Sperm does live for about 3 days - so a breeding made before fertilization CAN take - but all the sperm used from that breeding, and breedings made up until fertilzation will result in puppies conceived on the day of fertilazation. Unless you're leaving your male and female together ALL the time, through her entire cycle AND she's accepting him through her entire cycle... at the most their will be a 2-3 day window of conception of all the pups in the litter. Pups can be born 2 days early and all you're going to get is a puppy that is a bit smaller than the rest. It's like a baby born 2 weeks early.
In a big litter like you have, I'd guess you're looking at a bigger picture than her being born early. For paws not to be formed, you're looking at something developmental - and it could be as simple as she was in the horn of the uterus that had the odd number of pups and she just didn't get enough of everything to grow correctly. Why Alicat probably lost her pups is because there was something bigger going on that just a small puppy.
We as breeders often forget that sometimes God makes choices and not every pup is SUPPOSED to make it. We keep trying to save a puppy well past when we should accept that everything is working correctly inside, and all we're doing is prolonging the life of a pup that is going to be a special needs case forever. I don't think euthanasia is a blanket answer with pups born with problems, but when you have been paying special attention to a puppy for more than a week or two, you often have to accept that maybe the problem is it's kidneys, or liver, or heart... and unless you plan to sink a couple of hundred dollars into testing and vet bills to verify and correct the problem so that YOU can keep the puppy (because you need to disclose any and all issues with the pup to a potential home for her), sometimes the humane answer for all involved is to put the pup down.
My preemies all survived. By 3 days all but one pup were nursing on their own and gaining weight steadily. The 4th puppy required supplemental bottle feedings and sub-q fluids through the first 8 days. After that, she took off and actually by-passed her bigger siblings. But I could see steady improvement in her. She went from dropper feedings, to bottle feedings with a nipple with a large hole, to bottle feedings with a normal nipple where she sucked like a demon, to nursing from Mom within days. She actually stopped by to visit a couple of weeks ago and is bigger than her other siblings now...
At this point I would seriously be considering that something bigger is going on and that euthanasia would be the humane thing to do for her - and you. As the rest of the litter gets bigger they are going to need more of your attention to thrive. Putting her down, would allow you to concentrate more on the rest of the pups and doing a good job with them.
Sadly, I agree with Abbylynne. Though, if you and your vet decide to hold out and give the pup a chance...she needs fed more often that every 6 hours. That is too long between feedings for her. Especially since you mentioned she gets no nursing from mom at all. She will likely need bottle fed about every 3 hours around the clock. Breeding is alot of work, sleepless weeks and heart break.
abbylyne that was some great information. Thanks everyone. The only reason why I was maybe thinking she was a preemie is because the mom to these pups was flown to Cali and I am in Texas. She was bred over a 10 day period and accepted him everyday till the 10th day when she flew back home. It was not planned for her to stay that long but she did. This pup has always been super tiny and did have trouble since day 1 but took to the bottle like a champ. I supplement bottle feed every pup in all my litters from about 48 hours old till they hit 4 weeks and are eating well. I for some reason always get huge litters and dont want all the strain of nursing that many pups solely on mom. This year I had a litter of 13, another of 13 and this one 12. The momma suffocated my favorite male when he was about 4 days old but everyone else is doing great but the sad little girl. She has a new problem this evening and its one of her back legs is swollen 4x the size of the other leg. I am thinking it may be better to take her and put her down. I fed them there first meal this evening of Innova Evo canned puppy food mixed with Esbilac formula and even she ate it like a champ. I hate to put any pups down but she will be going to the vet on Saturday morning. She is such a little trooper I hate to call it quits. I named her Digit from day one and had planned on keeping her as a house dog. I have never lost a puppy before this litter and its bugging the sh!+ out of me. I try hard with all my pups and spend at least 4-5 hours total out of the day making sure everyone gets bottle fed till they are content. It takes a long time to feed all these pups 2-3 times a day but I cant stand skinny pups. I am use to raising huge litters but not use to losing them. My last litter of 13 everyone was pretty consistant in size and they were all super healthy and same for the litter before. I want to thank you again for all your advice and I will give her till Saturday morning to make my decision.
IPN169 she is bottle fed through out the day and was just fed while me writing the previous response. I also see to it that she nurses from mom but now she is rejecting her mom. All my pups big or little get bottle fed 2-3X everyday. I have always done that and have always had some of the healthiest pups I have ever seen. My first litter of the year one of my male pups was 12#'s at 5 weeks old and 46 at 12 weeks. He was a big boy and the vet wanted to keep him. Thanks for the advice and dont worry I know what amout of time is put into breeding and whelping a litter.
***Edited By: utopia on 7/14/2006 1:57:18 AM*** Reason: 22