Fading Syndrome (Neonatal Mortality) in Puppies
Newborn puppies are born with an immature immune system that needs to be built up over time, starting with their mother's milk. Because of their immature body organs and systems, puppies are prone to various insults, including infections and environmental, nutritional, and metabolic factors. Also, young animals do not yet have strong body temperature regulation, and their body temperature can fluctuate profoundly in response to changing environmental temperatures and humidity. Glucose control may also be poor, and blood glucose levels may fall below normal ranges in cases of nutritional disturbances, leading to a state of hypoglycemia. Neonatal mortality, or fading syndrome, involves the death of puppies from birth to two weeks of age. This syndrome is more common in pedigree puppies.
Symptoms and Types
- Low birth weight
- Loss of weight
- Failure to gain weight
- Decreased activity
- Poor appetite
- Constant vocalizations and restless in early phase, but puppy may become inactive and quiet in later stages
- Straying away from the dam and rest of the litter
- Low body temperature
- Difficult birth or prolonged labor
- Problems with milk letdown
- Inadequate nutrition
- Temperature and humidity extremes
- Poor sanitation
- Congenital defects
You will need to give a thorough history of your puppy's health, including a background history of symptoms and any background information you have regarding your puppy's parentage. After taking a complete history, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical examination. Laboratory tests will include a complete blood count (CBC), biochemistry profile, and urinalysis.
Blood testing may reveal anemia, changes in leukocyte (white blood cells, WBC) counts, including an abnormally low number of platelets (the cells responsible for blood clotting) and an increase in the number of white blood cells, which is what is usually seen in infections. A biochemistry profile may indicate abnormally low levels of glucose (hypoglycemia) along with other changes, depending on which organs are being the most affected. The urinalysis may indicate the presence of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying component of red blood cells, in the urine. It may also show bacteria present in the urine, indicating an infection of the urinary tract. More specific testing would include isolating the virus or bacteria from various body fluids. Your veterinarian will also conduct a fecal examination to test for the presence of parasites.
A newborn less than four weeks old; belonging to certain species
A list of an animal’s ancestors
A nipple, as in on ruminants and equine animals
An in-depth examination of the properties of urine; used to determine the presence or absence of illness
White blood cells that are known for destroying disease and help to keep foreign substances out of the blood
Low amounts of glucose in the blood
The weight of a newborn animal after it has been in the world for a full 24 hours.
Any female animal that has given birth.
Eliminating or the material that has actually been eliminated
The protein that moves oxygen in the blood
A condition of the blood in which normal red blood cell counts or hemoglobin are lacking.