READ THIS to increase PUPPY SURVIVAL
First born in the litter gets a head start, particularly compared with the last in line which may see the light of day a few hours later.
It's an act of chance that gives each foetal puppy its position in the uterus. Those that are first born have less intra-uterine stress and less chance of hypoxia in the birth process. The later born puppies have a much more precarious position and have a real chance of being born dead if whelping is protracted. Larger litter sizes amplify this situation.
First born are already suckling successfully and gaining liver glycogen and body weight when the last born puppy arrives on the scene. The competition thereafter becomes very intense as they fight for their lives to own the best teat possible at the front where there is a better milk/colostrum supply.
Colostrum consists of a very special combination of high fat and high protein with a very high concentration of protective antibodies. It also has growth factors that stimulate gut and immune development in the new born puppies.
Timing is vital. Every puppy needs as much colostrum as possible within the first 12 to 18 hours before protein and so immunoglobulin, levels drop and the puppies ability to absorb the intact immunoglobulin protein molecules disappear.
In practice a proportion of puppies will fall by the wayside very quickly after birth because the supply of the colostrum 'goodies' to the whole litter is very uneven. To help overcome this, bitches can be given a lactation feed for three or four weeks pre whelping.
Once puppies are born, colostrum supplement such as PUPPY SAVER, By Fit and Fertile Ltd, can be given to disadvantaged puppies at birth. This particular supplement provides readily available energy, a source of immunoglobulins and extra vitamins and organic minerals. A very cost effective system, it will get the weaker puppies through the early hours until a normal suckling pattern is established.
A little extra attention to detail to get the weaker end of the litter up and running will improve puppy survival. Puppy Saver, £13.50 available in the shop.
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