Post Whelping Complications
Post Whelping Complications – If your dog has recently given birth uneventfully, you might be breathing a huge sigh of relief as you think the worst is over. The pups are suckling normally, and the mother is eating, drinking, and taking care of the pups just how she should. However, this does not mean that the mother and the pups are fully out of danger.
Complications can happen days or hours after the puppies have given birth. In some cases, they occur quite quickly, which means you don’t have a lot of time to intervene. Thus, you need to observe the new mother and her pups and look after them post-delivery.
To help you out, we have prepared this guide covering some post whelping complications and the steps you need to take. Keep in mind that if you notice something abnormal, even if we haven’t listed it here, you should immediately get in touch with your vet.
1. Eclampsia – Post Whelping Complications
Eclampsia is a condition caused by low levels of blood calcium in dogs. The nursing dog is particularly vulnerable to depletion of blood calcium. This is because the dog’s body is unable to keep up with the increased calcium demand.
Note that eclampsia can be caused even if the litter size is small. In fact, smaller breed dogs are at an increased risk of eclampsia than bigger breed dogs.
Even though eclampsia is a quite serious disorder, its signs are quite easy to recognise. The affected dogs might:
- Appear nervous and restless
- Walk stiffly and might even wobble or look disoriented
- Suffer from rigid or stiff legs
- Have a body temperature higher than 40º C
- Develop muscle tremors
- Have increased respiration rate
If you notice any of these signs, contact the vet immediately and stop the pups from nursing. You can feed them with a commercial milk replacement. Your vet can rapidly treat the complication through intravenous calcium supplementation.
To prevent this post whelping complication, make sure to give sufficient calcium supplements to your pregnant dog. You can get some calcium supplements here at Petnap. Just ensure that you don’t go overboard with them.
Haemorrhage is when your dog undergoes extremely heavy blood flow any time post-whelping. This post whelping complication is a very serious condition and requires immediate vet intervention.
Indications of retained puppies or placentas might follow whelping right after or a couple of days later. Haemorrhage symptoms include:
- Reduced appetite
- Constant vomiting
- Green-coloured vaginal discharge
3. Retained Placenta
Retained placenta is a fairly uncommon post whelping complication. The detachment and passage of the placenta generally happens with the birth of every pup or around 15 minutes after delivery. The most challenging part of this problem is diagnosing it accurately.
Dog parents often try to count placentas as they pass through. Due to the excitement and confusion associated with observing every pup’s delivery, people usually don’t see how fast the dam might eat a placenta.
If a bitch fails to pass a placenta is most often reported in toy-breed dogs. A definitive diagnosis is almost impossible as the retained placenta degenerates and is passed in the postpartum discharge. If the mother is nursing live pups, she’s producing oxytocin that results in uterine contraction and expels this tissue normally.
A retained placenta can result in uterine infection that can make the dog quite sick.
4. Metritis – Post Whelping Complications
Referring to inflammation of the uterus Metritis is typically associated with infection. Metritis can be deadly if it is not treated immediately. In some cases, this post whelping complication occurs after a difficult or long labour.
Some symptoms of metritis include:
- Lower milk production
- Dull eyes
- Foul-smelling vaginal discharge
Mastitis is a post-whelping complication that involves inflammation, swelling, and infection of the mammary glands. Its typically caused by three types of bacteria: Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and E. Coli. Mastitis is mostly seen in bitches in the first two weeks after delivery.
The most common symptoms of mastitis include:
- Impacted glands are usually swollen, hot, hard, and might hurt when touched
- Mammary glands that are severely affected might turn black or rupture, resulting in a pus discharge with a foul odour
The good thing is that Mastitis is quite easy to treat. However, it can be fatal if not treated timely.
6. Prolapsed Uterus – Post Whelping Complications
A prolapsed is uncommon and is noticed when the uterus is noticed when the part of the uterus protrudes through the vulva.
When the prolapse is small, this can be manually repositioned by pushing it back into position. However, if it’s more extensive again, it then might be necessary to operate further on the abdomen so that the uterus can be pulled back into position. In certain cases, the prolapsed part might be rotten and require amputation.
Preventing Post Whelping Complications
Complications in your dog after she has given birth can be serious and scary, which is why prenatal care is essential. One of the best things you can do is have a vet check the number of pups your dog is expecting. This way, you will know precisely how many placentas and pups will come out. In addition, finally you’ll also know if a pup is stuck or if a placenta is retained.
The new mother and pups need to have a check by a vet 24 to 48 hours post-birth. This will help the vet ensure that no dead pups or placentas remain inside the body. The placenta has to be removed quickly and efficiently by the vet, it will lead to a uterine infection, and an oxytocin injection required. Oxytocin is a naturally occurring hormone in the dog’s hypothalamus that stimulates the uterus to contract and push out its contents.
Last Few Words on Post Whelping Complications
With assistance from your vet, your bitch will be able to birth a healthy litter of pups. Diagnosing the problem early on can prevent life-threatening emergencies for the mother and the pups.
At Petnap, we have a vast range of products, including whelping boxes, heated dog beds, etc., to make sure the entire process goes as smoothly as possible and there are no post whelping complications.