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Fading Puppy Syndrome

"Fading Puppy" Syndrome

One of the most common causes of newborn puppy deaths is what has been named as the "fading puppy syndrome." Many of the unexplained puppy deaths that fall into this category would no doubt be attributed to other causes if only an accurate diagnosis could be made. Unfortunately, many of these poor little pets die so rapidly that it is not possible to diagnose the condition.

Whether or not the fading puppy syndrome is actually a distinct disease is still the subject of some debate. Many believe that it is what happens to any puppy that is unprepared, for whatever the reason, to face the stress of living in the world outside of his mother's womb. Whether or not the failure in preparation occurs before or after the puppy is born depends on the reason for the puppy's fading,

Successfully saving the fading puppy that can be saved depends on recognizing the condition early enough and implementing some appropriate remedial action. As a dog owner, you need to be perceptive enough to recognize the signs of a potential syndrome puppy before it is too late. Here are some specific things to look out for in order to identify an at risk puppy:

1. An absence of the flight reaction: When normal puppies are taken from their mother and released, they will usually make every effort to scurry back to her. On the other hand, the "fading" puppy will not attempt to do so.

2. Abandonment by the mother: A healthy, normal puppy is licked and protected by his mother. The "fading" puppy is left out of the litter and left in the corner to die. This is an obvious opportunity for the dog owner to take action. You will need to attempt to save the puppy withOUT relying on the mother, because an unfortunate fact of nature is that once a mother dog has decided to abandon a puppy, the decision is usually irreversible, despite any efforts you may make to reintroduce the fading puppy to the litter and to the mother.

3. "Slow-motion" activity: A healthy, normal pup is always busy and does not move slowly to do anything while a fading puppy makes slow, deliberate movements, almost like in a slow-motion picture.

4. Hypothermia: Most puppies can survive considerable hypothermia, and normal puppies in a litter usually feel warm and have ample supply of energy to keep their bodies from getting cold. The syndrome puppy does not like to eat and feels cold to the touch.

When you have recognized a puppy that is in the early stages of the fading puppy syndrome, you need to take him away from his mother and littermates and handle him just as if he were an orphan. In order for him to survive, you will have to raise him and feed him yourself by means of either bottle or stomach tube.

For information on bottle feeding your puppy, go to the article "Bottle Feeding Your Puppy", and "Puppy Feeding Tips", and for specific information on tube feeding your puppy directly into the puppy's stomach, go to the article "Tube Feeding Your Puppy". There is also additional general information in the articles "Hand Rearing Puppies" and "Feeding Your Puppy".

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