Toxic Milk Syndrome in DogsToxic milk syndrome in dogs is caused by a variety of conditions such as a nutritional issue, uterine infection, and the number one cause, mammary infection. No matter what the cause, mom needs to be treated as soon as possible to keep her in milk and her puppies healthy.
Puppies don't nurse well if the milk is off-taste. Some get sick but most will just cry a lot, dehydrate and die. This issue seems to affect large breeds more than small, but any breed can get "toxic milk."
Check Mom for IssuesThe first two weeks puppies should only eat and sleep. Anytime you see discontented puppies, check mom for infection issues. You can check for mammary gland issues by rubbing the glands to make sure they are soft and pain-free. Rubbing glands will also get her to let milk down. Express milk from nipple and see if it is normal "milk" looking. Clear, blood tinged, or chunks are abnormal and need to be treated.
Treating MomGet mom on an antibiotic as soon as possible. Since E.coli is the common cause, veterinarians have typically recommended giving Sulfa-Trimeth once a day. Sulfa-Trimeth is easy to use and usually clears the issue.
These moms usually repeat next whelping with the same issue. For future prevention, give sulfa/trimeth one week before her due date and two weeks after the due date. Use this same prevention plan with mastitis as well.
Caring for NewbornsSupplement babies as they are not eating enough.
- If needed, warm the litter for 30 minutes and then feed a bottle of "Puppy Gatorade". (Make "Puppy Gatorade" by mixing one Re-Sorb® packet in a gallon of water. This will keep for one week when refrigerated.) Puppy Gatorade will boost energy and hydration.
- Continue to warm at 100º F for 30 more minutes and then give milk replacer for dogs.
- Put puppy back on mom to nurse if puppy is again thriving.
- If a puppy is sick, an antibiotic may be needed. Consult your veterinarian for treatment.
Giving mom the nutrition she needs goes a long way to avoid many health issues. You can ensure mom's health by giving a complete daily prenatal vitamin such as Breeders' Edge® Oxy Mate™. Then, seven days before birth through lactation, give mom Breeders' Edge® Oxy Momma™ to support milk production. Healthy moms have healthy babies. But when issues occur, treat mom as soon as possible and keep babies warm and nourished while mom recovers.
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
- Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.