Fading puppy syndrome

(8 Posts)
Honeymoonmummy Sun 02-Sep-18 13:42:56

Hi all, we have our names down to have a pedigree puppy from a litter born 2 weeks ago. The litter was 7 in total (previous 2 litters had been 12 and 14 pups I believe, same mum and dad this time). Within 3-4 days, 4 of the puppies were lost through "fading puppy syndrome". Apparently as soon as the 4th died, the mother relaxed and the remaining 3 pups are thriving and gaining weight.

We are due to see the remaining puppies this coming weekend and planning to tell the kids at the same time that we are having one. Before I do that, obviously I want to make sure I'm getting a healthy dog.

I've googled and cant find the answer to this question: is it possible that having this happen to the litter will affect the life expectancy and overall health of the litter that survive? Should I insist on getting the puppy checked by an independent vet?

The breeder seems lovely and very caring of her dogs, the puppies and the people she gives them to, she arranges meet-ups for the dogs from previous litters and has a FB group etc. I'm sure her heart is in the right place. But the puppy is expensive and, more importantly, it would break our hearts to lose it early.


I also need a recommendation for guide books for puppies, will post separate thread!

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fivedogstofeed Sun 02-Sep-18 16:02:35

I don't know the answer to your question, however I would be questioning the motivation of the breeder who is having a third litter from the same pair. How old is the pups' mother and how far apart have her litters been?

Honeymoonmummy Sun 02-Sep-18 16:09:13

I dont know.

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GuntyMcGee Sun 02-Sep-18 16:18:31

If also be interested to know how old the bitch was and how far apart those litters were, especially considering the size of the previous litters too - has her body been given time to heal and return to normal between litters?

While the woman may seem lovely in the outside, it's concerning that she's had two very large litters and one significant sized litter and hasn't managed this litter well this time - that would make me wonder why she didn't cope so well this time.

You're doing the right thing in waiting to see how the remaining pups fare, but I probably would be inclined to at least speak to a vet about your concerns before you go any further.

Honeymoonmummy Sun 02-Sep-18 16:26:23

I may have got it wrong, it may only be one previous litter. I am going to have a word with a vet. In the meantime, would appreciate any advice/experience on fading puppy syndrome thanks.

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Vallahalagonebutnotforgotten Sun 02-Sep-18 16:52:15

I am not a vet. However in my studies I did look at fading puppy syndrome (more from a behavioural point of view to the mother) and came along a lot of research most of which had no definitive reason for fading puppy syndrome.

One research that stuck in my mind was about the puppies immunity. Human babies get passive immunity from the mother from the womb so have some immunity to disease at the point of birth but puppies do not get this immunity from the womb or very little. They get most of the immunity from the colostrum or first milk from the mother.

The issue is that the puppies gut needs to get the colostrum in the first 12 hours of birth to keep their immunoglobulins level high. After 12 hours there was little absorption of the immunoglobulins from the milk.

So the conclusion was that puppies had to be feeding from the colostrum in the first 4 hours of being born.

Some stats I remember are that
95% of the puppies with antibody levels above 230 mg/dl at two days old survived to three weeks old. These were the puppies fed colostrum at 4 hours

- Only 56% of puppies with antibody levels below 230 mg/dl at two days old survived to three weeks old. These were puppies fed after 4 hours.

However fading puppy syndrome is caused by many things it may be congenital abnormalities, constipation, chilling, hypoglycemia, inadequate maternal care and/or lack of competent breeder, the mother not able to fed after a difficult birth but having good immunity will obviously play a big factor in survival.

Breeders should be weighing puppies from day 1 and if there is no weight gain in 2 days there are things that can be done eg use of plasma or buying in frozen colostrum

I would be worried that 4 puppies had died in one litter - I am not sure that this would mean the others would be ill but I would be worried about the breeder. I would want to see her documents on the puppies weights etc from birth a good breeder would be doing this. I would also be questioning her ability to socialise the puppies if she was inexperienced. Also if she has lost 4 puppies how has she chosen which new owners to give the remaining dogs to? - I would like to think that she has a waiting list and has already vetted the new owners.

I would be asking probing questions.

What breed is the puppy?

Book recommendations
Life skills for puppies Daniel Miles and Helen Zulch is a great starting place

Trying93 Sun 02-Sep-18 16:53:38

I don't know enough information to give you a proper answer but iv heard of it as a family member competes in dog obedience.

The puppies can die up until 12 weeks and usually a breeder would give you the puppy at 8-10 weeks which would be very upsetting for an adult nevermind children if the puppy died a few weeks after getting it

I would definitely speak to your vet or go down to your local dog training club. Someone there will know more about it or point you in the right direction

This link gives some info



Honeymoonmummy Sun 02-Sep-18 19:55:07

Thanks both, thats helpful. It's a tibetan terrier. She's been a breeder for some years and has never experienced fading puppy syndrome before, all previous litters (more than one bitch) have resulted in no deaths. She was really cut up about it on the phone.

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