Birth defects or developmental
anonymalies in puppies
PHOTOS IN THESE ARTICLES MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME PEOPLE -- THIS
PAGE IS FOR ADULTS ONLY!!!
Photos and stories
were collected from contributing breeders and will remain anonymous
. Thanks to those
who contribute, so that others can be educated. Although the majority
of breeders who contact me are Labrador breeders, this page will
not be limited to Labradors only. If the breeders of any breed
wish to contribute, they may do so.
These cases are
presented for two purposes:
1. To educate breeders
on the different birth anomalies they may encounter through the
2. To educate those considering breeding their dog on the hard
realities of having a litter.
is an art, and not for the faint of heart!
- (Greek for belly cleft) Can be small, with only a small amount
of intestine exposed, or large, with
most of the abdominal organs,
including intestine, liver, and spleen are present outside the
Click for detailed
| As a fetus is growing, different organ
systems are developing and maturing. Early in development, the
intestines actually project into the umbilical cord as they are
growing. The intestines should return to the abdomen. When the
fetus is growing and developing during pregnancy, there is a
small opening in the abdominal muscles that the umbilical cord
can pass through, connecting the mother to the fetus. As the
fetus matures, the abdominal muscles should meet in the middle
and grow together, closing off this opening. An omphalocele occurs
when the abdominal organs do not return to the abdominal cavity
as they should.
Exposure to toxins or infectious diseases
during the 25th to 28th day of pregnancy may also induce cleft
of cortisone during pregnancy can lead to the development of cleft
palate in the fetus Administration
of the cytotoxic drug hydroxyurea (hydroxycarbamide) is reported
to cause cleft palate.
- Failure of the two sides of the palate
to fuse correctly during the embryonic stage of developement.
It can just be the soft tissue, in which case it is only cosmetic
defect, but if the hard palate is affected, a puppy usually dies.
Affected puppies have difficulty nursing and do poorly.
- Can't suckle properly
- Have a slight quacking sound to their
- Smack while trying to nurse
- Milk comes out of nose while nursing on
- When tested on the finger, the puppy tends
to chew, rather than suck.
- opening in roof of mouth detected. Often
not associated with cleft lip.
- Puppies are often euthanized. They can
be tube fed, and hand raised, until they're old enough to have
surgery, but this is difficult on both the owner and the puppy.
Each breeder must make their own decisions.
- A cleft palate can be corrected surgically,
however the puppy must be old enough to undergo an anesthesia.
- Centronuclear Myopathy
(while not a birth defect in the
sense of a deformity, the actions of this disease can be seen
at an early age in the life of a puppy)
- Fading Puppy Syndrome (click
here for article)
- Leg and foot deformities:
- Tongue Anomalies:
Macroglossia, or large tongue, sometimes
resolves with age and would not be clinically significant. Degrees
of Macroglossa could result in excessive drooling, tongue injury,
or excessively dry tongue.
Accounts from breeders without
I had a puppy born with its umbilicus in
its chest, rather than its abdomen. A very large diaphragmatic
hernia was suspected. The cord was very wide at the base, and
there was a pulsating (heart?) at the base of the cord, as well
as a rise and fall within the cord with respiration. The puppy
was euthanized shortly after birth.
is dedicated to the puppies who taught us so much in the short
time they lived.
Remember about Breeders
litters does a breeder have to have before being considered an
have bred at least one good litter that they can brag on. This
will gain them credibility.
have had at least one litter that looked great on paper but turned
out to be a disaster. This will teach humility.
have held (God forbid!) at least one deformed puppy and wept as
it slipped into the calm, silent quiet of death. This will provide
the heart to be very careful to do everything possible to not
see it again.
have studied the lines and the traits and the greats and the problems
each has produced and read all the books they can bet their hands
on. This will give them knowledge.
all, they should have consulted the greats in the breed and never,
never consider themselves to be experienced breeders. They are
then, possibly, experienced breeders.
Copyright: Blue Knight Labradors