Worldwide medical and scientific journal for animal health professionals

Issue number 26.1 Other Scientific

A quick guide to… Intensive care of newborn puppies

Published 25/03/2021

Written by Renata Azevedo de Abreu and Camila Vannucchi

Also available in Français , Deutsch , Italiano and Español

Puppies are less well developed at birth than many other species, and high mortality rates are not uncommon in the first two weeks of life. A newborn puppy is at risk of hypoxia, and can develop hypothermia (due to its poor thermoregulatory function) and infection (due to an immature immune system).

Evaluation of heart and respiratory rate by cardiopulmonary auscultation.

Puppies are less well developed at birth than many other species, and high mortality rates are not uncommon in the first two weeks of life. A newborn puppy is at risk of hypoxia, and can develop hypothermia (due to its poor thermoregulatory function) and infection (due to an immature immune system). Other problems, such as dehydration and hypoglycemia, can also cause morbidity and mortality. Intensive care of the newborn must therefore be aimed at preventing the main trigger factors (Figure 1) and this short paper offers the clinician advice on how to maximize puppy survival. 

Figure 1. Main points of vulnerability in newborn puppies.

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