I know a lot of you have been eagerly awaiting updates on Sabine and her brood, but other than in chat I have been with puppies doing my level best to salvage something out of what has been a disaster
We have 4 puppies left, and we have had to fight like demons to have these 4. Of the 9 live puppies (out of 13 delivered) 5 developed secondary infections (i.e. pneumonia) from the kennel cough they contracted from their mother. These 5 have passed to the bridge despite exhaustive efforts.
The 4 remaining have been well for 4 days now, and apart from one that still has what I hope is just a residual cough are now thriving.
I added the bit about Aspiring breeders to the subject line in order to bring to the attention of prospective breeders just exactly what type of heartache and work *can* be involved when all doesn't follow the script.
From day 1 this litter has been on antibiotics, Clavulox (Amoxycillin with Clavulinic Acid). This involved using very small doses, 0.1 ml, having to be made up individually and dosed twice a day.
When it was apparent that Clavulox was not arresting the infection a second antibiotic was introduced, Flagyl (Metronidazole). Now Flagyl only comes in 200 mg tablets, that's the smallest. The puppies were to have 20mgs each twice a day. But that's what was prescribed so that's what we did.
The puppies were also prescribed Ventolin (Salbutamol), a bronchodilator, to try and open their lungs. This has to be given via a nebuliser with a tiny peadiatric mask held over the face of each puppy.
They were living in a "humidicrib" which was a crate covered over with a sheet with a steam vaporiser running to aid in breaking down mucous.
At 2 weeks of age the first of the puppies to get critically ill went downhill badly. He went into such bad respiratory distresss, that he was coughing blood, unable to breathe and not eating, other than by tube feeding. This little fella, with all his mated were shipped back off to the vet for review. He died as the vet was examining him. One of his brothers was at this time heavily consolidated in the lungs so he was kept at the vet, on oxygen with a tiny little IV in his little leg. He passed to the bridge hours later.
Post Mortem and culture of lung tissue of the first puppy showed we were battling E. COli, Klebsiella, Bordatella and Parainfluenza. That's 3 bacteria and 1 virus, not a very easy battle to win. Normal Kennel cough consists of just Bordatella and Parainfluenza. Sensitivity showed that these bugs were sensitive to Clavulox but not Flagyl so that one was ceased while the Clavulox was increased to 3 times daily
A mucolytic, Bisolvon, was added to the Rx at this time. 1/10th of a tablet to each puppy twice a day.
At 2 weeks and 3 days, a third puppy went downhill. He was breathing in a very laboured way, was constipated from metabolic stasis and dehydrated. It was at this point we had to start with giving fluids subcutaneously (under the skin). So that was 10 mls of sterile Hartmanns solution injected into 4 sites (2.5 mls each site) to each puppy, whenever dehydration was apparent. The third puppy regressed further and we made the decision to have him euthanised as his suffering was too hard to bear.
2 more puppies took turns for the worse. Further results from cultures showed that some of the bugs were sensitive to Gentamycin so the puppies were commenced on Gentamax. Another injection, 0.1 ml, intramuscularly. Not easy on puppies that are sick and have very little musculature.
So we now had 6 puppies on Ventolin, Gentamax, Clavulox & Bilsolvon. They were now having fluids intraperitoneumly (straight into the stomach cavity) and were still in the mist tent and having Ventolin. Those that could came out for a feed off Sabine and those that couldn't were bottled or tubed.
Despite this the 2 ill puppies passed on as well. Both were euthanised.
So we were now down to the 4 we have today, little Bianca and her 3 brothers, Timmy, Mac and Midget as they have been dubbed.
These 4 have been "well" for 4 days now and are being weaned off medication. They are eating well, have been started on their BARF diets and are running around playing, spending time in the sun. Despite their illness they are still big puppies for their age and weigh in at about 2.2 kgs each at 4 weeks. They have even been started with Clicker Training.
So although this account is very clinical in nature it is necessary I feel, for people who may want to breed to get an idea of what time, love, effort and money have to go into breeding at different times. This is one of the bad times. There can be others.
This all started with simple Kennel Cough. A fairly innocuous, easily treatable disease in an adult dog but lethal to puppies, they can go down in hours.
During this period we had temperatures in Sydney of over 40 Celsius. We had puppies running temperaures that needed to be cooled but at the same time kept warm. Catch 22!
The secondary infection was virtually unavoidable as the bug E.Coli is a normal flora (resident) of the bowel. Mother cleans babies bums to make them poo and then licks their faces. E. Coli will live in a rectum and cause no problems but once in a respiratory tract.......well. Klebsiella is an opportunistic organism that comes to the fore in weakened immune states. It causes pneumonia. These puppies certainly fit this bill.
So all in all it has been a terrible 3 weeks. Many a tear has been shed and we have endured much suffering.
But I still consider to have won this "war" even though many battles were lost. We still have 4 very beautiful, hopefully now healthy and certainly stronger puppies. Sabine has settled. She didn't want anything to do with the sick babies. This is nature, it's not to be judged badly.
In closing I will say this. I am not in the business of trying to put people off. If people choose to breed, they can do so. But it is a privilege, not a right to undertake. The responsibility is huge, the rewards are many and great but the pitfalls can be heart breaking.
A little education goes a long way in this world. I hope I have provided some.
Thankyou all for your support and prayers, I'm sure they have helped with Mac, Timmy, Midget and Bianca, They will all be cuddled by me on your behalf.
See you in chat Boxerchat