Did you know that fading puppy syndrome is responsible for over 50% of newborn puppy deaths (Gary, 2013)?
That’s a worrying percentage, especially for breeders and pet parents who are excited and eager to welcome a new litter. Fading puppy syndrome can be hard to diagnose because it can be caused by various factors among them infections, birth defects, poor whelping, and so on.
Puppies with fading syndrome are initially born healthy and appear normal like the rest of the litter. However, within a few days, usually 2 to 5 days, you start noticing unusual behavior in the puppy, commonly poor feeding patterns, minimal to no movements, and the puppy being overly vocal.
While fading puppy syndrome can be hard to diagnose, it can be easily prevented. One of those preventative measures against FPS is the use of warmed plasma for puppies. In addition, it is important to fortify your puppy’s immune system with a suitable vitamin and mineral supplement made for puppies- Bullyade. More on that later.
So, how do you know if one or two of your pups have the fading syndrome?
The diagnosis of a qualified veterinary doctor can help determine if a puppy has the condition. Nonetheless, there are physical signs to look for to determine if one or two puppies have FPS. These signs are usually a deviation from the normal behavior of newly born puppies.
Normal Puppy Behavior After Birth
Within the first 7 to 10 days, a healthy puppy should have double its initial birth weight. As the puppy continues to suckle and grow, its weight should again double 3 weeks from the 10-day mark.
A few days after birth, usually 3 to 4 days of age, a healthy puppy should start showing movement. The puppy curls up or stretches its paws when you place it on your palm belly up. After two to three weeks, the puppy should show some movement- crawling and suckling on its own.
It is normal for the puppy to sleep most of the time during the first three weeks. Also, the eyes and ears should open in the first 2 to 3 weeks of life. (See how to treat eye infection in newborn puppy).
Once a puppy’s visual and auditory senses develop, it will start responding to movement and sounds. This stage is important because it helps the puppy sense the mom and move toward the dam to feed.
With the eyes wide open, the puppy can now start moving around and playing with its litter mates. All puppies in a litter should be walking around and playing with each other. There should be no one puppy isolating itself, slouched at a corner, or showing no movement- more on this later.
Something else to check when puppies are born is their temperature. One to two weeks pups usually have a body temperature between 98 degrees and 99 degrees. As the pup gets older and can regulate its body heat, normal body temp will rise to between 100 degrees and 101.5 degrees.
If you do not notice the characteristics we mentioned in the puppy’s early stages of growth, there is cause for concern. Take the unresponsive pup to a vet for an examination to rule out any outline diseases that may be causing symptoms similar to fading puppy syndrome.
Note that the clinical signs of fading puppy syndrome will depend on the severity of the condition.
Puppies with a mild case of FPS may have the following symptoms;
- Puppy not suckling
- Zero weight gain despite feeding
Pups with the severe or advanced fading syndrome will have the following symptoms;
- No response to touch, motion, or sound
- Breathing problems
- Abnormally low body temperature
- Muscle Spasms or Seizures
- Distended tympanic or abnormally swollen abdomen
Causes of FPS in Newborn Puppies
Cold stress or hypothermia is one of the likely causes of FPS in puppies. Newborn pups below two weeks old cannot regulate their body temperature. To keep warm, they curl around the mother or cuddle up with fellow litter mates in a whelping box to maintain body heat.
Exposure to extremely cold conditions at this age can cause hypothermia which reduces the puppy’s heart rate and respiratory activity. When this happens, the pup is likely to collapse and die.
Puppies one or two weeks of age are susceptible to bacterial infections. The pup is initially born healthy but contracts bacterial infections within two to five days. It is also possible for bacterial infections to happen during birth when the puppy is coming out of the birth canal or when separating the umbilical cord.
Common bacterial infections in newborn puppies are caused by;
- Staphylococcus spp.
- Streptococcus ssp,
- Klebsiella ssp.
- E Coli
These bacteria are usually present in the bitch’s uterus and will settle in the fetus’ digestive system.
Genetic defects are common in overly inbred puppies. These deformities can show in the mouth, skull, heart, and anal region. Puppies born with a deformed mouth cannot feed properly and hence cannot get the nutrients they need from the mother’s milk.
Always get your puppies from a professional breeder to avoid inbreeding genetic defects.
Newborn puppies usually have weak immune systems which make them vulnerable to early infectious diseases. Infectious pathogens will enter the puppy through;
- Eye conjunctiva
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Respiratory tract
Common parasites that can trigger symptoms of fading puppy syndrome include Neospora caninum and toxoplasma gondii. These parasites are passed from dam to pup via the placenta. Other parasites that can affect a puppy’s growth and development are roundworms and hookworms.
How to prevent fading puppy syndrome using plasma harvested from the mother dog
Fresh plasma has been used in the medical world for years. It is not only an immune booster in neonatal puppies, but plasma for puppies can also help in;
- Treatment of blood vessel inflammation
- Managing peritonitis and pancreatitis
- Administering maternal antibodies to newborns for an immune boost
- Addressing Hemophilia B with non-labile factors
Before giving a puppy plasma, make sure that the puppy has all the clinical signs of FPS. A prior vet checkup helps rule out any other diseases that could cause the same symptoms of fading puppy fading syndrome.
Fresh plasma should be kept frozen to preserve its immune-boosting properties. Also, depending on the age of the puppy, plasma for newborn puppies is administered orally, intravenously, or intraperitoneally (through the abdominal organ). Another thing to know is to always administer plasma in the recommended dosage, and whatever quantity that remains should be kept frozen and used after a 24-hour lapse.
How to draw plasma from the mother dog
Fresh plasma is harvested from blood serum drawn from the mother dog. The best veins to draw blood from are;
- Jugular Vein
- Cephalic Vein
- Saphenous vein
The jugular vein is located in the neck and runs down the side of the neck. The cephalic vein is located in the forelimb and is one of the best and easiest places to draw blood. The saphenous vein is on the outer side of the lower back leg just below the dog’s knee. If it is your first time to draw blood from a dog, go for the cephalic or saphenous veins.
Plasma can only be drawn from blood that is treated with an anticoagulant. So once you have the blood sample from the dog, store it in test-tube that is pre-treated with an anti-coagulant. The chart below should guide you in the best test tube to use.
|Test Tube Color||Coagulant||Best For|
|Red Top||None||Freshly harvested blood/ Serum/Plasma|
|Red/Black Top||Special Gel||Plasma|
The commonly used test tubes in plasma collection are the red top and purple top test tubes.
- A syringe
- Anti-coagulant treated test tubes
- Red capped tubes
- Centrifuge machine
- Someone to restrain the dog
How to collect blood from dog
- Locate the cephalic vein on the dog’s paw. You may have to clip off some fur in this area for a heavy-coated dog
- Let your restrainer hold the vein with their thumb and roll it outwards. This temporarily stops blood from flowing and places the vein along the top side of the leg.
- Wet the vein with surgical alcohol to make it more visible
- Hold the dog’s leg and place your thumb to the side of the vein to position it
- With the syringe placed bevel up, in a 15 to 35 degree angle, gently push the needle into the vein
- Pull the plunger back slowly to allow blood to flow into the syringe. Squeezing the paw helps draw blood out faster
- Once you have collected enough blood, clean the vein and apply a band-aid
- Transfer the blood into the anti-coagulant treated tube
- Invert the test tube gently 4 to 6 times so the blood mixes thoroughly with the anti-coagulant
Collecting plasma from blood
- Dial the temperature of the centrifuge machine to room temperature
- Set the spin to 3000 rpms and the timer for 10 to 15 minutes
- Place the test tube with the blood sample in the centrifuge machine. Ensure you fit the tube in the right-sized tube holder for accurate results
- Place another test tube with water on the opposite end to balance the weight. This will help in spinning the sample evenly.
- Close the centrifuge machine and initiate the spinning process
- When the spin cycle completes, gently take out the test tube with the plasma serum
- Plasma is the yellowish clear liquid at the top while the red blood cells are settled at the bottom
- Using a pipette, gently suck up the plasma making sure not to disturb the red cells below
- Transfer the liquid plasma in a clean red top test tube and place the tube in a fridge freezer for later use.
Tips for feeding plasma to a newborn puppy
Plasma should be given to a puppy within the first 36 hours of being born. These first 36 hours are the most critical to puppies because they have an undeveloped immune system which makes them vulnerable to disease and infection. Feeding warmed plasma within this time frame increases a puppy’s chance of fighting postnatal infections and reduces the likelihood of fading puppy syndrome.
Plasma is also used for;
- Orphaned or weak newborn puppies
- Puppies that are underweight or struggling to put on weight
- Increasing the survival of a large-sized litter
- Puppy with immature immune system
- Added protection against viruses and infections
- Treating protein loss in blood
- Warm plasma to body temperature first before feeding it to the puppy. You can thaw plasma in warm water until it reaches room temperature. Never thaw plasma with hot water as this will kill the active nutrients that help nourish a puppy and prevent fading puppy syndrome.
- The correct dosage for warmed plasma for puppies is 3 to 4 cc/ml per pound of body weight for small puppies. Large puppies like American bully pups require a dosage of 3-5 cc/ml per pound of body weight.
- If a puppy is not suckling or shows other symptoms of fading puppy syndrome, feed warm plasma to the puppy within the first 24 to 36 hours. Draw about 3 to 4 cc/ml (small dog) or 3 to 5 cc/ml (large dog) of warmed plasma into an eye dropper or syringe.
- If using an eye dropper, use two fingers to gently press against the sides of the puppy’s mouth. This will help pry the mouth open. Gently push the tip of the dropper into the puppy’s mouth and slowly squeeze the plasma serum into its mouth.
- When using a syringe, connect the tip of the syringe to a feeding tube. Again pry the puppy’s mouth open and gently push the tube inside. It is best to let the puppy suckle with its mouth to allow the tube inside. Administer the warmed plasma gently.
- Never give the full dose of plasma all at once. Whether it is 3cc or 5 ccs give the dose in small drops every two hours until the pup finishes the dose.
- Oral feeding is not recommended for puppies that have stayed more than 36 hours without feeding. Instead, feed the warmed plasma to puppies intraperitoneally or intravenously.
Large quantities of plasma for puppies can be kept in 10 to 12 cc/ml plastic bags and stored in a freezer. Any leftover plasma should be kept in a freezer and used again after 24 hours.
NOTE: YOU CAN ALWAYS CALL EDDIE FROM MANMADE KENNELS FOR INFO (302) 272-3625 OR JUST ASK YOUR VET ABOUT HARVESTING PLASMA PRIOR TO GIVING BIRTH.
Warmed plasma is essential in providing neonatal puppies with the antibodies they need to build a strong immune system. Since puppies are born with an underdeveloped immune system, they get all their immunity antibodies from the mother’s milk. In the event, a puppy refuses to eat or has difficulties suckling, warmed plasma for puppies usually replaces the missing antibodies a puppy needs.
As the pup gets older, it will need all the essential vitamins and minerals required by puppies for their growth and development. While this can be hard to obtain in the food a puppy eats, missing vitamins and minerals can easily be provided by our number one supplement for puppies, Bullyade.
Bullyade has all the 18 vitamins and minerals that are necessary for puppy growth. This supplement for dogs also replenishes the electrolytes lost when a puppy has diarrhea or is dehydrated.