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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 14581
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian
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I am concerned about my lactating. We have a 4 day old

Customer Question

Hi Lisa,
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: I am concerned about my lactating bitch. We have a 4 day old litter of puppies, all has been going famously. I understand as the milk comes into milk they pant a lot and get very warm. we've been juggling keeping her cool and ensuring the puppies are warm enough, again all going really well. Tonight Seven has been panting a lot more and taking longer to get up, looking particularly tired and some appetite loss. I just took her temp and it was 40.4 which I know is very high. Is this unheard of in a healthy lactating bitch at this time, should I rush her off to the vet? Or is this acceptable and should I continue to keep her as cool as I can and monitor her for a couple of hours? It is 2am here? Thanks for your help
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Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Dog
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
I have arranged payment.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
This is a 4 year old Rottweiler bitch normally in excellent health. Birthed naturally, first litter, 9 puppies, all healthy weights. Vet reviewed her the day after whelping, everything has been fine. it is just the temp I am concerned about. Is this acceptable or is it likely she has retained something or is unwell please?
Expert:  Lisa replied 7 months ago.

Hi there. Thanks for requesting me!

If this were me and my bitch, I'd be more worried about something like mastitis...which is an infection in the mammary chains that can impact the health of the puppies.
Normally the milk actually comes in a day or so before the bitch whelps, so to have her with such a high fever this many days after delivering, I'd be worried.
I know that it's early morning there for you (I'm actually in the US), so if you'd prefer to wait until your vet opens, I think that's acceptable...however, if she gets sicker before then, or if any of the pups are acting sickly, then you should absolutely take the drive to the emergency vet tonight...just to be safe.
I hope this helps.

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Thanks, ***** ***** no mastitis, and milk usually takes 3 days to come in properly. I take it you are not a repro vet
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Before bitches whelp it is colostrum
Expert:  Lisa replied 7 months ago.

I can opt out and see if someone else picks up.

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. I am very sorry to hear about your girl A litter of 9 pups is a good sized litter, and they may be overstressing her body.

Pregnancy and producing milk for a litter of puppies is a lot of work for any dog and can be very taxing on their bodies. Some dogs develop hypocalcemia (low blood calcium) due to the demands of producing milk for a litter of puppies. These dogs can have symptoms of panting, fever, restlessness, drooling, vomiting, tremors, weakness, may have a change in personality due to the effects of low blood calcium on the brain as well as stiffness in their gait. It can progress to seizures and if not treated, death.

If this is what is going on with her this is a true medical emergency and she needs to be seen by a veterinarian immediately. They will check her blood calcium levels and start intravenous calcium immediately. If this is her diagnosis the puppies will need to be bottle fed and weaned now, she cannot feed them any more or she will become hypocalcemic again.

Other possibilities are an infection, either mastitis or a post-whelping uterine infection.

I recommend that you check her mammary chain and look for any signs of redness, firm swelling or pain. If those are present then mastitis is possible.

Does she have any yellow, or foul smelling vaginal discharge? If so a post-whelping uterine infection is possible.

Treatment of an infection can be antibiotics, but as sick as she is she may need to be on intravenous fluids and injectable antibiotics and in many cases the pups will need to be weaned.

Whatever is going on with your girl she does not sound normal, and the conditions I listed above are not conditions that can be treated at home, she needs emergency veterinary care. Whatever you try to give her orally won't be enough to replace what she needs and may cause her to vomit which will cause dehydration.

Best of luck with your girl, please let me know if you have any further questions

Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 7 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to make sure that you didn't have any further questions for me, and I'd like to know how things turned out for your pup. If you found my response helpful please don't forget to rate it so I may receive credit for it, thank you, ***** *****

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