Symptoms and TypesWeakness, Low birth weight, Weight loss, Lack of weight gain, Decreased activity, Lack of appetite, Constant vocalizations and restlessness in the early phase, but the puppy may become inactive and calm in later stages, deviating from the prey and the rest of the litter. Fading puppy syndrome is a condition that causes puppies to die suddenly and unexpectedly. Puppies that die from this syndrome are healthy and normal at birth, but they wither and die within one to three weeks. Because puppies are healthy when they die from fading puppy syndrome, there is no exact cause of death.
However, several factors can contribute to this syndrome. Signs of hypoglycemia in puppies include loss of appetite, lethargy, tremors, weakness, and seizures. Your puppy may also have discolored gums and skin. Responsible breeders should proactively look for any signs of hypoglycemia in their litters.
Death can occur within a few hours if hypoglycemia is severe. Puppies may be too cold if the mother doesn't provide them with enough warmth, so it's important to prevent puppies from getting cold. When dystocia occurs, the dog struggles to expel puppies due to the oversize of the fetus, which can prolong the birth process and lead to stillbirth or an increased chance of the puppy syndrome fading away. Provide a clean, properly sized birthing box so puppies have enough room for warmth, ventilation, and a low risk of being crushed.
Puppies only truly stabilize within their bodies around 8 weeks of age, and are at increased risk until this point. This is one of the reasons why small puppies need to be close to their mother and littermates; they are a source of heat. While a litter of puppies will generally look the same while they are born, within a few days you will likely notice larger and smaller puppies. Normal pre-weaning losses in dogs, including stillborn puppies, can be as high as thirty percent (30%), and approximately half of these deaths occur within the first week of life.
The particularly higher mortality rate occurs among puppies from birth to 3 months of age, since they are born completely defenseless, blind, deaf and with altered temperature regulation. During the first two weeks of life, puppies are very vulnerable to disease and environmental stress, as they cannot regulate their body temperature independently. However, puppies are still at high risk for the first three weeks, which is when fading puppy syndrome is most likely to develop. Nutrients in breast milk help build puppies' immune systems, but abnormal discharge from the teats or infection of the mammary glands in the mother can prevent puppies from developing immunity.
The best thing to do is to keep a close eye on puppies for the first few weeks of life so that you can quickly detect problems and symptoms. There are few things more exciting than raising a newborn puppy, but there are few things more distressing than losing that puppy in the first few weeks of life. For the first four days of life, the ambient temperature where puppies are kept should be maintained at 85-90°F (29.5-32°C).