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Thread: Antibiotics in a nursing bitch?

  1. #1

    Antibiotics in a nursing bitch?

    Hi all,
    I'd appreciate any thoughts or input on the following:
    My parents bitch (little terrier/toy cross) had a litter of 6 pups on Saturday. Bitch and pups were seen by the vet on Sunday, all fine, and the bitch was given antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection, which I believe was something to do with her only expelling 4 placentas...
    Anyway, my parents stayed with her until the early hours of this morning, pups were feeding fine, etc. When they woke up today three of the pups were dead and the bitch had spread them out away from the "nest", a fourth was found outside the box as well and died later despite.l efforts to warm him up and get him to feed. The bitch had been licking them and my parents initially thought that coupled with being away from the mother had made them cold and killed them.
    But, Dad has now found an article about "fading puppy syndrome" which suggests a link between antibiotics in the bitch being passed via her milk and killing the gut bacteria in the pups, leading to health problems and death.
    Now my parents are distraught at the loss of four pups, but they trust their vet and in no way are they looking to place any blame. I'm just curious if anybody has any experience or knowledge of this so-called fading syndrome and wheather it does have any link to antibiotics. Or do you think it's coincidence and the pups have died due to the mother's inexperience (it's her first litter) in taking them away from her warmth and milk?
    See my blog for - My kindly sponsored DSC1 course and chart my progress from deer virgin to stalking veteran
    AND my new puppy progress DIARY

  2. #2
    I have used antibiotics in nursing bitches with no discernible ill effects (not just in the short term but I have seen the pups grow up 100% fine) the data sheet on the medications will say use in pregnancy not recommended but often that is due to there being no verified data on their safety rather than any documented problem) There are several infectious causes of this scenario. Herpes infection and Streptococcal infection to name 2.

    Ideally some testing would be performed on the dead puppies to try to identify if these were implicated. However if the pups are no longer available then serological testing of the bitch could demonstrate recent infection and therefore may indicate a cause.

    You have my sympathies in this situation as it is particularly miserable watching this sort of thing happen.

  3. #3
    I to have used and will used antibiotics where needed in a nursing bitch (by coincidence just back from a meeting on antibiotic resistance). Fading puppy syndrome as stated by hcm1 doesn't have a single cause although sometimes infections are implicated. It won't be the antibiotics upsetting the bacteria in the pups' gut, not least because the gut population hasn't fully established itself. You can reassure you parents it's not the treatment. Sadly I can't give a reason, which is no help in sad situation

  4. #4
    Thank you both, I suspected that probably wasn't the true cause so it's good to hear there aren't any widely known/suspected links.
    See my blog for - My kindly sponsored DSC1 course and chart my progress from deer virgin to stalking veteran
    AND my new puppy progress DIARY

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