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208 Breeds, 422 Health Conditions  |  Find a Vet

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Puppy Septicemia




Condition Overview

Blood-borne infections in young puppies are caused by bacteria that gain entrance via the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts. They occur in puppies 5 - 12 weeks of age.


Signs of respiratory involvement include fever, cough, nasal discharge, and rapid, noisy breathing. When the gastrointestinal tract is involved, signs include loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, dehydration, and weight loss.


Very important contributing factors include overcrowding, chilling, poor nutrition, unsanitary whelping quarters, a heavy burden of intestinal parasites, and coexistent viral infections. In a healthy environment, bacterial exposure usually produces only a mild, self-limiting illness. When environmental stresses are added, the death rate is high.


Diagnosis is made by veterinary examination.


Notify your veterinarian if a puppy shows any of these symptoms. Shock and dehydration are treated with antibiotics and intravenous fluids. Respiratory and GI tract infections are treated as described for Pneumonia and Acute Infectious Enteritis.


Always place puppies in clean quarters.


Please contact your veterinarian for more information regarding this condition.

Show Sources & Contributors +


Dog Owners Home Veterinary Handbook

Publisher: Wiley Publishing, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Authors: Debra M. Eldredge, Liisa D. Carlson, Delbert G. Carlson, James M. Giffen MD

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