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Dr.Beth, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 631
Experience:  Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota
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My 12 year old Jack Russel bitch just produced a pup. What

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My 12 year old Jack Russel bitch just produced a pup. What additional vcare should I take of both.


Most dogs dog very well in taking care of their new born pups. There are however a couple things that you can do to help them both along.

1) Food: make sure that mom is eating a good quality puppy food during the time that she is lactating (nursing) her puppy. She will twice the calories she usually has.

2) Flea treatment and deworming: make sure that mom is up to date on her flea preventative and deworming. You can get products that are safe for nursing dogs from your vet.

3) Safety: make sure that mom and pup have a warm, protected place to nurse and sleep. If you have other dogs or kids, this should be a location that is safe from them.

It is normal for your dog to have vaginal discharge after parturition. It should be odorless and may be green, dark red-brown or bloody and may persist in small amounts for up to 8 weeks.

Problems to Watch For (with mom):

Metritis (Inflammation of the Uterus)
Signs of this condition are as follows:

foul-smelling vaginal discharge
loss of appetite
no interest in the puppies
decreased milk production
If these signs are noted, usually in the first day or two postpartum, a veterinarian should be consulted. Your dog may have retained a placenta or have suffered some trauma during delivery. Animals who have required assistance with delivery are often predisposed to metritis.

This condition results when the bitch has trouble supporting the calcium demand of lactation. Calcium supplementation predisposes a bitch to this condition. Usually affected animals are small dogs. They demonstrate:

nervousness and restlessness
no interest in or even aggression towards the pups
stiff, painful gait
This progresses to:

muscle spasms
inability to stand
This condition generally occurs in the first 3 weeks of lactation and a veterinarian should be consulted immediately.

Mastitis (Inflammation of the Breasts)
Normal nursing glands are soft and enlarged. Diseased glands are red, hard, and painful. In general, the bitch does not act sick; the disease is confined to the mammary tissue. The bitch may be sore and discourage the pups from nursing; however, it is important to keep the pups nursing the affected glands. This is not harmful to the puppies and helps flush out the infected material. Hot packing may be helpful.

Problems with the Puppies
Newborn puppies should spend their time feeding and sleeping; they are not very playful or active for the first week. Puppies that nurse poorly, cry constantly, or do not sleep with the rest of the litter are in trouble and should be examined by the veterinarian. Ideally the puppies should be weighed shortly after birth and should be expected to gain 5% to 10% of their birth weight daily. (A small weight loss in the first day of life is normal but this should be less than 10% of their initial weight.) Puppies that do not gain weight properly are in trouble and should be checked by the veterinarian. It is helpful if puppies are weighed at least daily to be sure they are growing properly. Very young puppies have clear or slightly yellow-tinged urine. Obviously yellow urine is a sign of dehydration.

If you think there is a problem with the mother or any of the puppies, contact your veterinarian. Examination may be needed for the mother and entire litter, not just the individual who appears sick.

Most dogs are excellent mothers and problems are few. The basic rule is to seek veterinary care if she seems to feel sick or if she ceases to care for her young. Puppies nurse until they are about 6 weeks old and then may be adopted by new homes.

Please let me know if I can be of further help.

Dr. Beth

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Is it abnormal for a 12 year old bitch to have pups, and if she has produced just 1 is there need to visit a vet (she is in great form and no longer is in labour)
As long as mom is not longer in labor and she and the pup are otherwise active and happy, there is no need to visit the vet until the pups are due for their first vaccination. If either of them have any of the previously listed symptoms, then they should be seen.

As long as your dog continues to go into heat, she can still have puppies. While not terribly common to have puppies at this age, it is still very possible. Just like women having babies in their 40's.

Dr. Beth

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