Unfortunately, it became clear rather quickly that momma was suffering from mastitis and the pups were started on a bottle feeding regime. For the next four weeks they were bottle fed. The pups never nursed.
Eleven days after their birth, their owner came home and found the first born puppy in respiratory distress. She rushed him back to the HAH where he saw Dr. Lukens and immediately received oxygen therapy and was given a blood transfusion. Sadly, he rejected the blood and his condition quickly worsened. Because of the pup's symptoms and his rapid decline his doctor suspected an aggressive infection knows as babesia.
Babesia is an infection spread by ticks but can also be transmitted to dogs through blood transfusions, bite wounds and from mother's before birth. It is rare to see babesia in South Florida and difficult to diagnose in puppies. In this case all of the pups and their mother, were tested to rule out this possibility and prepare for any other symptoms seen in the pups at home.Treatment continued for the first pup but he was not thriving. His owners made the difficult decision to euthanize.
"Dr. Lukens was an absolute blessing. She was so understanding, informative and consoling. We thought the worst was over."When the pups were about 5-6 weeks old, mom found Walter having trouble breathing as well.
“I thought it was happening all over again.” said mom.She rushed him to hospital and his PCV (packed cell volume) was 7. Dr Lukens prepared the family for all the possibilities and immediately performed a blood transfusion. Walter stayed over night with 24 hour hospitalized care.
By this point, Dr. Lukens had received the earlier babesia tests back and while the momma pup and the first born pup were identified as positive for the disease the remaining four were not. This is unusual. Walter was suffering similar symptoms associated to babesia and the concern was that he had converted from a negative to a positive for the disease. Thankfully that was not the case and his diagnosis was determined to be hook worm anemia. Hookworm anemia is serious but treatable and after a blood transfusion and plenty of TLC, Walter was on the mend.
Today, all of the pups are thriving and the momma is being successfully treated as a babesia carrier. Walter and his brothers are regulars at the HAH; stopping in for their scheduled wellness checks.
The first few weeks were a bit harrowing for these little guys but today they are healthy and very happy dogs. We are pleased to share their story as our Patient(s) of the Month!
”I cannot thank Dr. Lukens and the staff enough for their expertise and amazing care of my baby boy. All four boys are happy and healthy. They're mother is a champion in the show ring and I can't wait to see Walter White follow in her footsteps."