The five leading causes of sudden unexpected death among 151 dogs were, in order, heart disease, toxicosis, gastrointestinal diseases, trauma and bleeding not associated with trauma. Premature or sudden death in puppies is generally known as fading puppy syndrome. Death is usually preceded by few or very brief signs of illness. This is most common in the first week of life, but can occur up to 3 weeks of life.
Several different conditions can cause fading puppy syndrome. Sometimes solitary puppy deaths are related to a birth defect that didn't immediately become apparent. Sometimes the mother does not care for the weaker or smaller members of the litter. Young puppies have an underdeveloped immune system.
They acquire antibodies from the milk produced by the mother dog directly after birth, called colostrum. Puppies that don't breastfeed properly will not receive these antibodies and are much more likely to get a serious infection. Sometimes, a breast infection (mastitis) or calcium deficiency in the mother can limit her milk supply. Canine herpesvirus is another common cause of fading puppy syndrome.
This virus can be transmitted from the mother in utero or through infected fluids after birth. It is usually not symptomatic in adults, but causes death in puppies up to about 3 weeks of age. If the mother has the virus, puppies may be born weak to begin with, or even be born dead. 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. The results were generally in agreement with the Canadian study.
They found that cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of sudden death, followed by toxicity, gastrointestinal disease, trauma and non-traumatic bleeding with incidences of 21.9, 16.6, 12.6 and 6.6%, respectively. In the absence of passive MCA transfer, newborn puppies can only develop an immune response to antigens at 2 to 3 weeks of age. A review of ADDL records was conducted to determine if there were similar factors involved in the cases of sudden death in dogs that were sent to this laboratory. A total of 35 dogs (31%) had lesions suggesting that cardiovascular disease was the cause of sudden death.
Responsible breeding is important, so make sure to stop raising a dog if it produces several puppies that develop fading puppy syndrome. When dystocia occurs, the dog struggles to expel the 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. Therefore, further studies will be needed to evaluate the possible contributions of these pathogens to cases of sudden and unexpected death in young dogs. On the contrary, although not yet validated in veterinary medicine, the WHO definition provides an important temporal reference range useful for the identification of cases of sudden death in veterinary clinical practice.
However, as is often emphasized in the human literature, the isolation of pathogens in cases of sudden death does not necessarily imply a correlation between these pathogens and death. Under these conditions, viruses or bacteria can replicate and spread rapidly, causing puppies to die, without the development of characteristic symptoms. Puppies can be too cold if the mother doesn't provide them with enough warmth, so it's important to prevent puppies from getting cold. .