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Dr. Susan
Dr. Susan, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 6225
Experience:  8 years of clinical experience with specialty in veterinary pain management, urology, and geriatrics
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Is it possible for puppies to have cerebral palsy We have

Customer Question

Is it possible for puppies to have cerebral palsy? We have a litter of 6 standard poodles and the two pups that I resuscitated (1st and last born) have scissoring limbs, weakness, and spasms. We are tube feeding them 6 times per day, but they are 1/3 the size of their typically developing sisters. They are slowly getting stronger and can eat a bit of pablum from a spoon, but they are definitely impaired. What kind of prognosis can we expect? They cannot compete with the siblings in nursing, and only nurse if we isolate them and hold them to the breast after helping them latch. One is now walking and starting to play.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 5 years ago.


How old are the puppies?


Are the eyes open, do they appear to be blind?

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
They are 4 weeks + 1 day old. The male's eyes are open. The female has one eye 100% open and one eye 80% open; they both see. Their bodies are extemely small compared to their siblings (they all have same father and came from 2 breedings 5 days apart; bitch's first litter). The largest in the litter is over 4 lbs and these are 1 3/4 and 1/1/2 lbs.
They struggle when we insert the tube to feed them, and the male is walking a bit.
Our goal is for them to be able to feed themselves, walk independently, eliminate, play, and have some quality to their lives. We love them dearly and they have added so much to our lives, but we do not want them to suffer unneccearily. The vets I have consulted state they have never seen a dog with CP, and dogs generally tolerate the hypoxia at birth or die; even 25% decreased intelligence doesn't affect a dog like it does a human. These babies are precious and we don't mind the work or expense (the Esiblac is so expensive; I started ordering it on the internet in 5lb. bags. I am an RN (Lactation Consultant) with anual training in resuscitaintg human infants, and I don't think I went to far with these sweethearts, but I did do mouth to mouth gentle suction on the male due to continued "juicy" breath sounds. I have assisted about 5 other litters over the past 15 years, and have never had this situation, not have any breeders or vets I consulted. We are not wealthy people but we love these guys.

Expert:  Dr. Susan replied 5 years ago.

Yes it's true, dogs do not get cerebral palsy. However, they can have neurologic problems related to the cerebrum, cerebellum, or brain stem.


It's very difficult to say if the signs you are noticing are true neurologic deficits, or if they are simply due to the fact that these little ones are smaller and weaker than the others. The scissoring specifically can be a result of true ataxia, or may just be because their muscles aren't strong enough to keep a normal posture at all times and correct when they have their feet misplaced.


I would have to see the spasms to better understand them. It could be something as simple as hiccups, or it could be a signs of neurologic disease.


I recommend having these two evaluated by a vet. This will give you a better idea if these two are truly "special", or if they are just wee runts that need a little extra help to catch up and grow normally.


I hope this helps. Good luck with the little ones.


Please let me know if you have any further questions. If you are satisfied with my answer, please click on the green Accept button. Positive feedback is always appreciated. Thanks!

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