PITUITARY DWARFISM: This is caused by hormone deficiency. An affected puppy looks quite normal at birth but as it gets older you will notice a big difference between the size of it and its litter mates. At eight weeks, a dwarf will be about half the size, or even less, and will often appear to have a short muzzle. As dwarfs get older, they usually never change their puppy coats or teeth, and so by twelve months of age their baby teeth are beginning to wear down and they look more like a Mexican Hairless than a Shepherd. They do not usually live long, although some have been reared successfully.
OESOPHAGUS, AORDTIC ARCH, PYLORIC STENOSIS: These three conditions are usually not apparent until the puppies are eating solid food. If you notice a puppy, who is promptly sick as soon as it eats a solid meal, then eats it again with the same result, suspect one of the above conditions.
The oesophagus is a bag in front of the stomach, which because of lake of muscle, fails to push solid food into the stomach. The aortic arch is a foetal artery which should automatically close after birth. In some cases it fails to close, but presses on the oesophagus with the result described above. Pyloric stenosis has similar symptoms, but in this case the food is unable to pass from the stomach into intestines. All of these conditions can only be correctly diagnosed by your vet after certain tests have been made. In all cases euthanasia is the only answer.
INTUSSUSCEPTION: This is a condition in which the bowl telescopes in upon itself. It can occur after an attack of gastroeteritis if there has been excessive sickness and diarrhoea. Unless immediate veternary attention is sought, which means an operation, the puppy’s condition will deteriorate rapidly. The operation is not always successful, and it can occur again.
HERNIA: If your bitch is over-enthusiastic in severing the cord, a lump will sometimes remain which is part of the intestine. Keep an eye on it and if the lump gets larger, take the puppy to the vet, who will push the intestine back and insert a stitch to stop it coming out again. An umbilical hernia can be hereditary.
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