No dog owner ever wants their puppy to die an early death. With proper knowledge, any pet owner can take the necessary steps to avoid such a situation and also sudden puppy deaths.
1.Fading Puppy Syndrome
This is the number one cause of early death in puppies. Generally, this condition affects puppies up to one week of age but may extend to puppies up to three weeks of age. This is mainly due to the weak immune system.
Puppies just like their human counterpart receive maternal antibodies through colostrum. Puppies those are weak in suckling the mother fail to receive the antibodies and therefore, do not develop immunity against diseases.
Prevention- It should be the responsibility of dog owners to see that every puppy born gets an equal chance to feed on mother's milk. If any puppy is weak, you may put her mouth to the nipple of the mother. If the puppy has any difficulty in suckling milk from mother, you may milk the female dog and take the milk in a bottle and feed.
Here is a video showing how to milk a dog.
Here is another video showing how to bottle feed a puppy
2. Herpes virus infection
Canine herpesvirus infection is another cause of early puppy death. The mother becomes infected with this virus in the uterus or from infected fluids after birth. This virus doesn't affect the mother. The mother remains symptomless or healthy. The virus affects the puppies up to three weeks of age and causes early puppy death.
Symptoms seen in puppies are refusing to eat, abdominal pain, some pups will lie on their back and kick the stomach, the affected pups will be lethargic.
Prevention- Canine herpes virus vaccine is available, known as CHV-1. This vaccine is injected into mother's body on the 37th day of pregnancy. This vaccine is available in Europe but not available in the United States.
This vaccine does not prevent the disease but prevents early puppy death.
3. Canine Parvovirus type-1
Popularly known as CPV -1. This causes an inability to eat, crying, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and death. There are sloughing of the ear, tail tip, and toes.
Prevention- The best approach is to ensure dogs to be vaccinated before pregnancy. Sometimes, if the vaccination status is unknown or doubtful as in case cases of dogs living shelter, pregnant bitches can be vaccinated with inactivated virus vaccine. CPV-1 vaccine is available from Zoetis popularly known as Parvac, This is inactivated vaccine, safe enough to be given in pregnant dogs. This is a monovalent vaccine, therefore more effective.
Live virus vaccine is contraindicated in pregnancy.
just ensure the mother is fully vaccinated. As advised above get the mother vaccinated on the 37th day of pregnancy. The mother should be vaccinated on the 37th day of pregnancy only if vaccination status is doubtful or antibody titer test shows low immunoglobulin levels.
4. Environmental toxin
Your floor cleaner can kill your pups. There are many harmful chemicals found in floor cleaners, window washer, toilet Bowl cleaner, rust removers, and oven cleaner. We take these chemicals for granted and never in our mind occur that this chemical can harm us, our children or our pets.
Puppy's skin is thinner than an adult dog. Puppy skin absorbs harmful chemical present in the environment and becomes sick. Therefore evaluate bedding material. Avoid pine oil, phenols or direct contact with bleach or paint.
Use a gentle cleanser with a mild odor and remove residue before contact with the newborn.
5. Hypothermia or Hyperthermia
Any adult's body temperature remains constant irrespective of environmental temperature. This is not so in case of pups or kittens. Body temperatures fluctuate in accordance with environmental temperature for the first week of life. They develop the ability to shiver when they are about six days old. shivering keeps them warm.
If the environmental temperature is too cold and the pup is less than 6 days old, hypothermia sets in. The affected pup cannot digest food, heart rate decreases and their circulatory system collapse and death occur.
Similarly, a pup develops the ability to pant when they are a week old. Therefore, if the environmental temperature is too high in warmers places, hyperthermia can occur. This condition happens mostly in tropical countries such as India.
Therefore, in cold or warm weather environmental temperature should be kept optimum for the first one week of life.
Beside these there are other causes of sudden death in puppies, some of those are severe intestinal parasite infection, low body weight at birth, overweight mother, bacterial infection and maternal neglect.