i litter Domus Corona
I litter first day

Lost litter Diona

Our I litter was born on 26th of March, 4 days early (57 days after 1st mating).
All puppies died of Herpes between day 2-6

Here a summery:

1 day prior to the whelping Diona’s temp was rising , the beginning of mastitis, so she was given antibiotics .These past few days have been a hell for us.

The next day Diona’s panting seemed to increase and she went to lie down in the whelping box and sure enough 1 puppy was born, alive but died after a minute, umbilical cord seemed to be ripped off at the belly. (The placenta and amniotic sac arrived 90 minutes later)

Diona didn’t seem to have contractions anymore but did keep loosing blood, so off to the vet and a Caesarian was indicated.

What struck us as odd was that besides the panting no other foreboding signs had occurred , no leaking of milk, nipples were still leathery and no digging in the yard like with her first 2 litters (she started digging on Sunday AFTER birth!),.

Result no milk , thus no colostrums, so no antibodies for the pups to take in.

The vet noticed that the placentas were detaching from the womb indicating that indeed the delivery had started and was the cause of the initial bleeding and that it was most likely because there was no more room left in the womb, It was so tight in there that it was a struggle to get out the first pup out.

All had very good weights between 520 to 610 grams (18.34 – 21.51 ounces) and lungs were fine! So we all sighed from relief and happy with our 10 beautiful pups from Cooper and Diona!

The pups couldn’t drink from the huge hard nipples that hardly had milk so we started tube feeding. In the next few days we started noticing that the puppies remained quite damp after mom cleaned them regardless of the warm puppy pad they lay on and mom’s own body warmth. The temp in the whelping box was 27 ◦ + Celsius (80.6 ◦+Fahrenheit) so we rubbed dried them off regularly to prevent cooling down.

They didn’t gain in weight either so we were really getting worried.

Symptoms starting with puppy black collar on Saturday night: hard belly and tummy ache, early morning to the vet who thought he was constipated, so laxatives were given to take home with us , but those had no effect and a few hours later the puppy died a horrible death, screaming and bleeding out. I can assure you I will never NEVER forget the sound.

In the mean time puppies orange & purple collar were becoming lethargic and in respiratory distress , also yellowish/green stools. They died fairly quickly. It’s was Sunday evening and we phoned several vets for advise, they contradicted each other enormously, one said you have to up the temperature to 32◦, pups all got heavy diarrhea as a reaction, the next clinic said “ you are now cooking them, lower it back to 27◦ and keep mom with them at ALL times , no breaks except for a pee and a poop, even though its hot for her, she can cope.

By this time we knew we were dealing with the CHV1 virus aka Herpes..

We asked the vet if we could administer some kind of drug the moment we noticed a pup was showing symptoms, to avoid unnecessary suffering, only diazepam was allowed, even chloroform or ether is forbidden.

It turned out that because the organs are already shutting down , diazepam doesn’t have effect, so again screaming puppies. It would take the vet 25 minutes to arrive , so the only humane thing left was to do it ourselves. H-O-R-R-I-F-I-C.

Which ever way, we ARE going to get some chloroform in stock!

What we have learned the hard way:

  1. mastitis caused reduced resistance causing the virus to become active
  2. premature whelping due to large litter and heavy weights of pups(in comparison)
  3. more than usual these pups had difficulty regulating there body temperature
  4. no colostrums intake by the pups therefore no antibodies
  5. conflicting advice from vets
  6. conflicting information about Herpes on websites
  7. In future to be prepared and have some kind of narcotic you can administer in crisis situations like this, to avoid excruciating pains and inhumane measures
  8. later we heard the advice from a well known Dutch clinic to ALWAYS put all puppies immediately on anti biotics as soon as 1 puppy gets ill. No matter if you know the causeor not. Symptoms of several illnesses can be the same in these young pups, for example E-Coli is pretty much the same as symptoms of herpes. So don’t wait for the lab results, that might take a few days and meanwhile your puppies are getting sicker!

We are devastated instead of 10 happy puppies emptiness……

But we decided to share this experience to perhaps prevent the same disaster happen to another breeder!