Sorry we have not given any puppy updates sooner. We wanted to to have more to update everybody on and we currently still have many questions, but here is what we have so far:
This will be an extremely long post, but it has been an extremely long week as well.
This past week has been a devastatingly heartbreaking week to say the very least. We lost a puppy on 2/20 to what we thought may have been injuries from mom. We sadly discovered soon after that was not the case as we lost another pup only a few short hours after. My gut feeling told me this was something I had just recently heard about happening in the area in the last two weeks and we immediately sent the deceased puppy off for a necropsy at the state lab to determine cause of death. In the meantime we started treating for what we thought we were dealing with, CHV, or canine herpesvirus. This isn’t a commonly known virus but it is actually a very common one for dogs to have. About 80% of dogs have this, but it does not show any symptoms or harm adult dogs so it is a silent virus. Most dogs have been exposed to it sometime in their life and sadly our Neela had not been until sometime while she was pregnant. If exposed earlier in her life she would have built antibodies that passed along to her babies protecting them from this 100% fatal virus in newborns. Since she was recently exposed unbeknownst to us these babies contracted the virus from mom. The virus takes 6-10 days to start showing which is why we had perfectly healthy pups for a week. Then it works it’s way through the susceptible bodies of these babies due to their lack of temperature control. To defend against this virus being able to silently jump from puppy to puppy the room must be heated to 95 degrees to eliminate the environment the virus needs to grow. Puppies also had to be taken off of mom to prevent further potential shedding of the virus. We sadly lost 4 babies in the first 24 hours before we could develop the perfect virus defeating environment. Then, we bottle fed every 3 hours and hoped nobody else had picked up this virus in the early stages. Sadly, two more puppies began to show symptoms and they too passed. We heard back from the lab and they did conclude the findings were CHV as suspected and any puppies still living had a chance that they were never infected. We still have these last 4 babies in a hot box and are hoping and praying they have managed to avoid this incredibly horrible virus.
As of now these four are happy, healthy, growing, and even opening their eyes. Momma is also doing better after being placed on antibiotics due to mastitis, even though she is still depressed about losing her babies.
Now for the good news, it’s very easy to get wrapped up in how horrible all of this is but we have realized we are still very blessed. We are blessed to have Neela still with us and are hoping and praying to have 4 healthy little ones for her to continue to raise. Having this virus now is also a blessing to know we will never have to deal with this on any of her future litters. Now that Neela has had this virus she possesses the antibodies to it and will have those to pass onto her next babies in her colostrum. We will keep everyone updated as we are not out of the woods yet, but say a little prayer for these last four puppies that they may have somehow avoided this deadly virus and continue to grow and thrive.