Why do puppies die?

When confronted with the death of puppies who are absolutely healthy at first glance, for the first time, every person is shocked and begins to search for the truth, blaming himself, others and even unknown intruders for what happened.

However, unfortunately, for veterinarians such events do not seem to be something unusual or rare. In this article we will try to understand the causes of the sudden death of puppies.

Causes of puppy death

Some dog breeders witnessed the death of entire litters. The culprit of such rapidly developing events may be a herpes virus infection, hepatitis or bacterial infection, which has penetrated into the immature body of a puppy with mother's milk.

A characteristic feature of the pathogenesis of infection with microorganisms is the transience of the disease, which in a matter of days leads to the death of the entire litter. In case of herpes virus infection, the pathogen enters the puppy's body through saliva or outflow from the nasal passages. Infection can also occur through close contact or use of the same care and feeding items.

Even the owner himself can provoke an outbreak of the epidemic among his pets, bringing the virus home on his clothes, shoes and even his hands. As practice shows, crowded keeping of animals in nurseries and homes leads to the fact that the herpes virus infection in one individual leads to 100% infection of all other pets. And there are no exceptions to this rule.

Curiously, adult dogs have fairly good immunity to herpes virus infection. For this reason, the clinical picture of this pathology is rather blurry. But puppies, pregnant animals or individuals with a weakened immune system are severely affected by herpes virus infection, which spreads with lightning speed throughout their entire body.

If we talk about puppies, then, as a rule, they die not immediately, but after 2 weeks. Before the animal dies, the virus goes a long and difficult way. Having penetrated the mucous membrane of its host, the virus proceeds to intensive reproduction under conditions of low temperature. Naturally, such an activity destroys cells, which leads to the erosion of the mucous membrane.

If for some reason the immunity is not able to withstand the pathology at this stage, then the virus will freely continue its march through the body, affecting the nervous ganglia, which will serve as a refuge for it for the entire period of latent development. Further, when a stressful situation arises, for example, when the conditions of keeping puppies deteriorate, the genome is reactivated and the herpes virus re-infects the mucous membrane of the animal.

From this point on, the dog becomes infectious, since the causative agent of herpes virus infection is actively released into the environment, although the carrier itself has a clear clinical picture of the pathology that may still be absent. Infected young females often have miscarriages and stillbirths. Even if puppies are born alive, they are completely unsustainable and die without even living 2 days.

What to do to avoid the death of puppies?

The owner after the birth of puppies should carefully monitor their development. The first signal announcing an impending catastrophe will be the refusal of babies from mother's milk. After a short period of time, puppies clearly show problems with the respiratory organs. Next, the puppies begin to rapidly die one after the other. In less than a week, all litter dies.

It should be understood that with the expanded clinical picture of the pathology, it is already meaningless to treat puppies. The only thing you can try to do is isolate healthy babies, transferring them to artificial feeding. In parallel, it is necessary to improve the conditions of animals.

According to veterinary specialists, the most effective method of dealing with the sudden death of puppies is to form the mother’s immunity. Even short-term contact with dogs that have had herpes virus will allow the bitch to develop a natural immunity. However, such activities should not be carried out before delivery and soon after.

Infectious hepatitis, although it is much rarer than herpes virus infection, but its consequences are no less terrible. The death of the litter occurs so rapidly that the owner does not even have time to invite a veterinarian. From the moment of infection to death, it takes less than 1 hour.

The clinical picture of infectious hepatitis, represented by vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and copious secretions from the eyes and nose, confuses even experienced dog breeders because they diagnose poisoning in their pets. Even a recovered animal will carry the virus for a year.

The pathogen of pathology is released into the environment along with the urine and dog excrement. Thus, the owner should forbid his pet to sniff dog tags while walking in the fresh air, since in this case the risk of infectious hepatitis penetration through the mucous membranes of the nose and mouth is extremely high.

The life cycle of a virus in a dog's body begins with a lesion of the lymph nodes, where it multiplies rapidly. Further, having left the affected lymph node cells, viral particles accumulate in the liver parenchyma, causing its destruction.

At this stage of the pathology, the animal has a clear picture of hepatitis and vasculitis, which is fraught with the death of the animal. To date, the only effective method of protection against viral hepatitis is timely vaccination.

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