Post Partum Care in Dogs

August 25, 2012 by  
Filed under How to Take Care of a Dog

In most cases, the experience of accompanying and assisting your bitch through pregnancy, labor, whelping, and weaning is a rewarding and joyful experience. Sometimes, however, things do not always go as planned. Post-partum care for your dog is as important for her survival as it is for humans. For this reason, one should have an understanding of what might be expected in the event something goes wrong. Education and quick action could be the difference between life and death.

Perhaps one of the most immediate dangers to your bitch after giving birth is hemorrhaging. Most births will exhibit large amounts of watery fluid that can range in color from clear to green, and pink to black. These are typically normal. However, if your dog shows signs of bleeding- perhaps from a ruptured or prolapsed uterus, then she needs immediate emergency veterinary treatment.

X-rays or ultrasounds may be used to determine what the cause of the bleeding is, and in some cases surgery or blood transfusions might be necessary.

Mastitis, an infection of milk-producing tissue, can be easily detected by hand. If the base of one or all of your dog’s glands are hot and tender, this may be a sign of mastitis. Often, the bitch may be unwilling or reluctant to allow puppies to nurse- especially on that gland. Grasping the nipple by the base, gently squeeze with your thumb and forefinger. If a thick yellow substance emerges, possibly tinted with blood, then mastitis is likely. As with hemorrhages, mastitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment- especially if the bitch is vomiting. Treatment of mastitis is aggressive and needs to be initiated as soon as possible.

Eclampsia is a serious condition caused by the malfunction of the parathyroid gland. This gland regulates blood calcium levels. If your bitch is restless, nervous, distressed, suffers convulsions- especially on her side with intense leg movements, weakness, or coma, your dog may be suffering from eclampsia. This condition can progress over a period of minutes or hours. If left untreated, the bitch will almost certainly die. However, if she has not slipped into a deep coma, this condition can be reversed in just a few minutes with an intravenous calcium infusion. It is a very simple procedure and produces immediate results. It should be noted that some dogs do not respond well to this treatment if they have been suffering it for a prolonged period of time. For this reason, it is important to seek immediate treatment.

Metritis can have a number of causes, not the least of which can be poor whelping practices such as a dirty environment or bedding. It can also result from retained placentas or pups. This infection of the uterus will typically follow a prolonged labor, but not in all cases. Symptoms include a foul smelling discharge from the vulva, fatigue, vomiting, fever, and dehydration. Left untreated, this infection can spread to other areas of the body, causing the dog to become toxic. Veterinary treatment is crucial. Treatment involves surgery in most cases, although there are more conservative, but riskier, alternatives.

You know your dog. If she exhibits behaviors or other signs that are unfamiliar to you, and shows any physical symptoms that cause you concern, do not hesitate to call a veterinarian. You can’t prevent all possible problems, but you can prepare for them by being educated, and having the right resources.

Geoffrey A. English is the Founder of GundogsOnline.com, the internet’s premiere online magazine dedicated to hunting dogs. Their site has a wide variety of dog supplies such as Dog Training Collars, SportDOG, and Innotek products.

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