We received a update photo this week on Blue Knight In Hot Pursuit At Alibi (Chase) at 5.5 months. He is owned by Julie Oghigian (Montview Labradors) and Kim Jacobson (Alibi Labradors). We’re excited to see how this boy performs in the ring. Best wishes to Julie, Kim, and Chase.
Written on April 20, 2004 – transposed to newly designed website – 2017
Typically, failure to thrive, or “fading puppies” appear vigorous and healthy at birth and suckle with no difficulty. Within a day or two, become progressively weaker, make less vigorous attempts at nursing, lose weight rapidly, and die. Fading puppies should not be confused with a litter suffering from Canine Herpes Virus.
There are often positions or movements (or lack of movements) that these puppies display. A normal puppy twitches and moves frequently. The first signs of a fading puppy are often that they lie still, with less of the jerking and moving that their littermates do. They often lie on their stomachs, with their heads stretched out. Even though pneumonia is often difficult to diagnose in a puppy this young, if a puppy is positioning itself in a sniffing position, it should be suspected, and often the vet will treat for pneumonia at this time, even if a positive diagnosis can’t be made. Cardiac problems with resulting hypoxia can also be a cause of this. Their heads may sway from side to side, and where they vigorously nursed on the first day, each day they seem to have less and less energy as the days go by, and despite adequate milk, do not thrive and grow poorly. They frequently begin to look unthrifty. Their body tone lacks the firmness of their littermates, their coats are coarse, and often a breeder reflects that that they “just didn’t look right”. They often have what I refer to as a “mewing” cry before death. It is absolutely a cry of distress, and causes both breeder and the bitch to experience a great deal of distress as well. It has a high tone, anxious quality to it. This cry is very difficult to listen to for both breeder and the bitch. In the end, fading puppies lack the body fat that their littermates are rapidly developing, despite extra bottle feeding, which often by this time, the breeder has begun. They often suffer from a variety of digestive upsets and respiratory problems. They usually die within 5 – 10 days.
The term, “fading puppy syndrome”, describes symptoms, rather than an actual disease. Fading puppy syndrome is thought to be caused by bacterial or viral infection, inborn metabolic problems, or physical causes (such as renal or cardiac anomalies).
Before you consider that a puppy is suffering from fading puppy syndrome, be aware of a few specific issues. Look first to hypothermia being the cause of any puppy having trouble. Hypothermia is the number one cause of death in the neonatal puppy. Second, be sure the puppy is not dehydrated. Puppies have no physical reserves, and dehydrate quickly. Treat for hypoglycemia *only after warming the puppy to normal body temperature*. Giving glucose will show positive results in moments if hypoglycemia is the issue.
Bacterial Infection can start in the navel stump. Although, it can be transmitted in the uterus prior to birth or in the vaginal canal during birth, and contaminates the pups causing general sepsis. In severe cases, puppies that are born small and weak may already be infected by the germs that build up in the womb, because of a low-grade infection in the uterine horn(s), and infection quickly spreads. Veterinary treatment is a must. A full course of antibiotics may treat an infection, or delay the onset of secondary bacterial infection, however, one should never give antibiotics blindly. Overuse of antibiotics “just in case”has led to methicillin resistant bacteria directly caused by the overuse of antibiotics in todays society.
Viral infection tends to occur later than the first week of life.
Physical anomalies are often the cause of fading puppy syndrome, and are often not discovered unless a necropsy is done.
A newer therapy, is to give oral blood serum to puppies for the first 72 hours of life, or a IV injection of blood serum from a healthy dog. Collection of the blood and preparation of the serum should be left to your vet.
Extra warmth, bottle feeding, and antibiotics (if the vet prescribed them) will help to increase the chance of recovery. It is essential that a fading puppy be kept warm and receive extra calories if there is to be a chance of recovery. But be aware, that with even the most vigorous treatment, often puppies just don’t make it. One of the hardest things for a breeder to do, is to simply understand that nature must take its course, and sometimes, fighting too hard to save a puppy can bring heartache later, when physical anomalies are discovered, and there is little to no hope of saving a puppy after endless hours of attempts to save it.
The following photographs shows the poor development of a fading puppy. In this puppy, it was noted on day two, that she often held her head in a “sniffing position”. Pneumonia was suspected, and antibiotics begun. On day three, she had lost body tone, and although she was nursing well, and eagerly, she did not have the body fat her littermates did. She moved less than they did. Bottle feeding began on day three. She eagerly nursed from the bottle, and took good quantities of milk, only to return to the box and nurse from her mother, although still, she gained no weight. Finally, on day five, she appeared weaker, and nursed less enthusiastically. Her bottle feedings increased, and although she suckled the milk, she tended to chew the nipple more. When given to her mother for some motherly attention, she tended to crawl under her mother, or behind her. I have noticed before, that poor doers often root under their mother, and on the last day, crawl away from her and into a cold area of the box, where they die. No infection was found in her blood culture. Her veterinarian treated her with an antibiotic because her lunds sounded ever-so-slightly off (hard to appreciate in a neonate), although her lungs looked clear on x-ray. At that point, despite all the added feedings, antibiotics, warming, and all the TLC we could provide, she was about 1/3 the weight of her littermates, having gained almost no weight since birth. On day six she died.
At 4 days of age she was slightly smaller than all of her littermates.
This picture was taken after her death at six days of age. Note the dramatic size difference, and the emaciated appearance, even though she was being regularly bottle fed, and the day prior was still nursing from her mother to some extent.
These neonatal deaths are always very difficult for a breeder, but each of us should realize that nature often knows best, and despite our attempts at beating nature, she often wins the day. In the end, I had started fluids on the puppy, given her plasma, had her on a heating pad of her own, and tried everything there was to do until she took her last breath. I am left with the knoweldge that I did all that I could. That’s all we can do.
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“In compliance” is all about paperwork, care, and identification!
*ALL* breeders of AKC puppies are held to a standard of practice by the AKC. The standard of practice is called the AKC rules of compliance. The rules of compliance set the standard for regarding record keeping, identification and maintaining proper care of the dogs and kennel conditions.
Passing an AKC inspection is *not* something any breeder should feel the need to brag about. It is expected that all breeders *should* pass inspection. This article is intended to prevent you from being fooled by those who would suggest that their “in compliance” status is unique or special.
Who Gets Inspected?
Any AKC customer (breeder, retail pet shop or broker) that registers 4 or more litters per year or conducts 25 or more registration transactions per year (supplemental transfer statements) is automatically added to the list for inspection.
Breeders who register 4 to 6 litters annually with AKC will be randomly selected for inspection.
Inspections will also be performed in response to complaints, which can stem from concerns over unhealthy facilities to unfounded harassment by a vengeful competitor or disgruntled co-owner. While complaints must be submitted to the AKC in writing and be signed, an inspector will follow up on every one and will not reveal the complainant’s identify unless requested by a court order.
We at Blue Knight have been inspected, and found to be in compliance, however, this does not mean puppies from us or any other “in compliance” kennel is superior to others. It simply means we were in compliance with the record keeping rules that he AKC sets down for all breeders. If we were not, we would have had our AKC privileges suspended and we would have been fined! A $250.00 fee is required prior to re-inspection. Customers who fail to correct deficiencies and maintain compliance are subject to discipline ranging from letters of reprimand to 10-year suspensions coupled with $2,000 fines.
Investigators also work with local authorities to assure proper care of dogs. Fines and suspensions are published monthly in the AKC Gazette and on the AKC Web site in the Board minutes. The AKC completes some 5,000 kennel inspections each year (2004 and 2005 stats).
I have seen some breeders boasting their “in compliance” status. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is anything more than it is — it is no more special than your local restaurant passing a health inspection. To do what they do, they must pass inspection. That is the minimum you would require of them. Being in compliance with the AKC is the minimum standard by which a breeder should maintain their dogs.
We found the AKC Inspector to be professional and thorough. This is the job of the AKC Inspector. Should we have greater than three litters in a calendar year, we expect to see her again. This is just an expected part of breeding AKC registered dogs!
AKC Rules of Compliance
Investigations and Inspections
The AKC is the only purebred registry in the United States with an ongoing routine kennel inspection program. The AKC has a dedicated team of field inspectors who visit kennels to help breeders while ensuring the proper care and conditions of AKC-registered dogs and verify that breeders are maintaining accurate records for their dogs. Since 2000, AKC field inspectors have conducted over 45,000 inspections nationwide.
Routine AKC field inspections involve several steps. Field agents begin every visit with a tour of the overall facility checking that the dogs as well as the condition of their environment are in good order. Field agents also check the dogs for proper identification, microchip, tattoo or collar tag.
After a thorough look at the dogs the field agent will review the breeder’s records, often advising the breeder with options on how to maintain hard copies in addition to using the convenient AKC online record system. Breeders are expected to maintain records for at least five years.
AKC randomly selects breeders for inspection yearly. In addition, to the random selection AKC inspects breeders based on written, signed and substantiated complaints.
Through kennel visits, inspectors seek to work with breeders to help correct any deficiencies, as well as help new breeders develop effective practices and procedures.
If an inspector finds minor deficiencies, the issues are noted and discussed with the breeder in an effort to help the breeder while at the same time meeting AKC’s requirements in the future. While the AKC does not have penal or regulatory authority, breeders who have major kennel deficiencies may lose AKC privileges (ability to register dogs or compete in events). In some cases, fines will be imposed, AKC privileges may be suspended and appropriate law enforcement authorities contacted.
The standard penalty for anyone convicted of animal cruelty involving dogs is a 10-year suspension and a $2,000 fine.
Contact the Compliance dept: AKC Investigations and Inspections, 8051 Arco Corporate Drive, Suite 100. Raleigh, NC 27617-3390. Phone: (919) 816-3629, Fax: (919) 816-4246
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I wrote this article in 2004. Nothing has changed since its writing. The box has more tooth marks, stains, and new memories. It continues to cradle new life, expectant mothers, hopes, and dreams that span 36 years now.
When I was new at breeding, I read an article in the AKC Gazette that I believe was called “The Family Cradle”. It was written by a breeder following a sad outcome of her litter. She spoke of sitting on the edge of her whelping box, wishing for what might have been, rubbing her hands across the edge of the box, and feeling the multitude of tooth marks and nail marks from litters past. She spoke of the delight of feeling those marks from past litters, and that the rough, unfinished, unsightly box was a family treasure — the family cradle for her dogs.
I can no longer find that article, which I kept for many years, but I don’t need it anymore. I have a family cradle of my own, in fact, two of them. They’re rough, unfinished, full of tooth and toenail marks. Some would find them ugly. To me, they are beautiful, and carry the memories, hopes, and dreams that I’ve had for 20+ years.
Of the two whelping boxes I have, one is my favorite, and if I only have one litter, it is the box that is in use. I was given one of my whelping boxs, by a friend of mine, Barbara Davis, owner of Champion Bold Aaron CD, WC (*The* dog who inspired me to get into the breed — the dog who was, in my opinion, the best Labrador on four legs). When Barbara got out of dogs, she gave me the box. It had been used by her for almost ten years and one can only imagine how many of Aaron’s own puppies were born in that box. When she gave me the box, every yellow dog in my kennel, and most of the blacks, had Aaron behind them. It was fitting that the grand, great-grand, and great-great-grandpups of Aaron should continue to be born in that box and each of them leave their mark (quite literally) on the walls of the box.
Those little tooth marks, each of them, represent a life that was either a show hopeful, or the life-long pet of a puppy buyer that spans more than 20 years now. Those tooth marks are precious to me. The rough texture of the box is comforting and beautiful.
The box is simple. Just a 6X4 space with a removable divider somewhere around 1/3 of the way across. The smaller side for bitch resting, the larger side being the puppy side. It has no “pig rail” because I am among a few who believes that addition actually contributes to neonatal injury or death. It isn’t fancy, it’s easy to clean, and it serves a purpose, and it’s far more practical than its simplicity would indicate.
As I rub the edges of the box today, I remember large healthy trouble-free litters, and also the sadness that occurred in the box. But during the sadness, the box served its purpose as a cradle for hope, dreams and prayers given up for small lives that sometimes, were never meant to be.
Sometimes the box is a place of comfort for my girls when their labor has gone very wrong, and they suffer the pain of c-section. I wonder if somewhere in their memories, they remember the comfort of the box when they were newborns and growing puppies. Is it possible that the box gives them a sense of home, security and comfort? I will never know. But I do know that sometimes, a bit of magical healing happenes in the box.
I remember Wish when she had an infection, and she permitted the lactating female of a friend to nurse her puppies, while both of these bitches laid in the box and tended their charges. I remember Abby, who came so close to dying after a ruptured uterus, and raised her litter in that box. I remember when I had had two litters, and one mother was exhausted after a c-section, and the other mother jumped in the box to tend the babies until she gained her strength. And I remember a single puppy who only felt the comfort of the box for the short 24 hours of his life, and how his distraught mother slept alone in the box following his death.
There have been so many litters born in that box, that I hardly recall them all, but I have memories of wet, firm bodies, and first breaths. Of the anticipation of each delivery. The Joy of looking at healthy litters nursing quietly in front of contented mothers.
When you visit my home when a litter is present, please come rub the rough spots on the whelping box. They are the marks of the past, and the dreams of the future. Each one represents a life that started in this rough, but precious and miraculous family cradle.
I anticipate that one day I too will pass a family cradle on to some upcoming wide-eyed new Labrador enthusiast/breeder. It will go to someone who will appreciate its imperfections, its rough texture, its mauled edges–Its promise.
The pain is still new. We just spoke in his ear for the last time “Good boy… you’re a good boy”, as the Veterinarian performed the ultimate act of comfort. The body of this loved creature relaxes and we feel them go, and our hearts go with them. Then days later the call comes “We have Tank’s remains here for you to pick up”. The box of cremains is heaver than the small box would indicate. I pet the outside of the box, as I once did soft fur. I always look inside the box, and I’m not sure why. The ashes are white. Tank was black. The silly thought goes through my head “the ashes should be black”. The pain continues to rip through me. It’s just too soon.
I have five similar boxes here, that contain the ashes of loved dogs.
When we lived in California, we at first buried our dogs on our 2.5 acre property, but as we got older, digging in the granite rock that was our property was just too difficult, and we opted for cremation. We scattered the ashes on the hilltop that was our front yard, where every litter, and therefore that dog had played on. That seemed fitting. Now that we’re in Idaho, digging is easier, and we could bury them, but we had decided to cremate and wait to see where we believed they should go. We finally decided. We have a courtyard area, and we plan to pour cement pads within that courtyard. We’ll add a pad for each dog, which will make a great patio area filled with memories. I will put a stamped name for each dog on the pad. It will be our memorial courtyard, where I will grow flowers and vegetables, and be able to reflect on the lives of each of them. I will remember the day I delivered them from their mother, and the day I delivered them into the hands of God. It will be a beautiful place to sit and remember, and maybe smile at the memories that flooded my mind in the last moments we held them.
As you can see, he doesn’t look like the other dogs here. That’s because Joe is a Pointer, and Joe has a story.
Dan’s life-long friend, Bill, died in a motorcycle accident. He and Dan knew each other from early childhood, and stayed in contact. Bill’s beloved English Pointers were his pride and joy. They were highly trained upland game dogs. When we went to be with Bill’s family, they immediately asked us if we would take Bill’s three dogs. We already had ten Labradors, and there was no way we could take on three dogs. …and then they announced that a “rescue” had agreed to take them. What rescue? Many rescues are wonderful, but a few are simply folks with a desire to “save” dogs, and amount to little more than dog collectors. None of them ever leave the home of such “rescues”. The family could not recall the name of the rescue, “she’s a lady who loves and saves dogs”. No!! I asked if I could please be responsible for rehoming the dogs to good homes with proper vetting. They responded in the affirmative. So, we went to meet them. Two of the dogs, a 12 1/2 year old female and 6 year old male were moaning, shaking and crying on Bill’s bed, as family members disassembled Bill’s home and tried to clear out his belongings. The third, a 7 year old female, was in a dogloo, growling at the other dogs and the strangers in the home. All three were suffering from confusion and absolute grief over the chaos in the home, and their “dad” being gone. It took a full day to find all the paperwork on the dogs, and I called the breeder of the younger two. He wanted nothing to do with it. So, I made a few well-placed posts on Facebook, and a flood of aid started to come in. Pointer enthusiasts are wonderful, and love their breed. They spoke my language, and we all set about making sure that the dogs ended up in a family/hunting environment. Immediately, Bill’s girlfriend stepped up to take the old girl, allowing her to live her remaining years with someone she knew. Within two days, I got a call from a guy who wanted the older bitch, and his friend who wanted the male. I went into vetting mode. Both would be good homes. We agreed on the female, but I could not agree to placing Joe. Joe wasn’t eating or drinking. Joe was moaning, crying, and not making eye contact. He was shaking. He was in deep grief. I could not agree to home this dog, until he pulled out of his grief. He had already been passed from family members to us, and we couldn’t justify confusing him further. We brought Joe home, until we could work through his physical and emotional needs. For seven days, Joe refused to eat or drink, and did little more than rock and moan. I took him to the vet during that week, and he told me “this is a Pointer, not a Lab. They’re more sensitive.” My numerous new Pointer friends advised me likewise. So, we waited him out, and slowly he began to eat, drink and interact. He immediately began to attach to my husband. You could see the expression of panic on Joe’s face if Dan was out of the room for a long time. I started to see the writing on the wall. Two weeks in, we told the gentleman who was willing to take him, that Joe would be staying with us.
Dan quickly found out that Joe knows more about upland game hunting than most people know. Joe is funny, a quick learner, stubborn, has hysterical facial expressions, oh, and Joe is not amused by Labradors. He tolerates them, but he’s not happy about their fast, clumsy, body-slamming exuberance.
This is Joe and Dan, the day we told Joe he’d be staying. I think you’ll agree, that Joe understood, and was pleased.
Imagine you’re watching Tv — the show breaks, and soft/sad music comes on… the soft, sad monotone voice of a woman narrates as photos of sad/freezing looking dogs display. In her best sorrowful voice she says … ” Our most constant companions feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are often cast outside to weather the cold or a storm owing to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering…..”.
Yes, “animal rights” groups would use these images to rip your heart out and prompt you to send money to an organization that does nothingfor animals in shelters, but rather to pass anti dog/cat/farmer legislation. See the video (below) for the answer to the first video!
Isn’t it amazing how music and images can change our perception of things?
Yee haww…. They had a blast!
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