Causes, Diagnosis and Therapy of Common Diseases in Neonatal Puppies in the First Days of Life: Cornerstones of Practical Approach


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Abstract

ContentsNeonatal diseases and losses are a common and often unavoidable problem within breeding kennels. Altogether, morbidity and mortality ranges, according to the literature, from 5 to 35%. Among non-infectious causes besides hypoxia during birth, hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and dehydration are mostly responsible for puppy diseases and losses. Approximately 90% of all deaths in hypoxaemic pups occur during the first 2 days. Of 183 pups with hypoxia, 63 died, 92.7% of them within 48 h after birth. Among infectious causes, bacterial infection is the most common cause of neonatal mortality. Escherichia coli, streptococci, staphylococci, Pseudomonas sp., Klebsiella sp., Enterobacter sp. and some other micro-organisms are regularly involved in neonatal infections. Post-mortem findings especially document E. coli, Staphylococcus sp. and Streptococcus sp. as responsible bacteria. The dam and the environment are suspected as sources of neonatal infections as it was shown by genetic relatedness of responsible bacterial strains isolated in both puppies and their dams. From a total of 517 puppies with bacterial infections, the treatment results documented that parenteral administration of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid in 308 neonates showed the best result. Diagnosis of diseases is often made difficult by the absence of variability in clinical signs contrary to adult dogs. Findings during a physical examination in pups differ from those in adults. Furthermore, treatment recommendations have to meet the special conditions in neonates concerning drug metabolism and excretion.

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