Problems at the navel site

(1)  Bleeding

When a puppy is in the womb, it is connected to its mother by the umbilical cord which contains tubes (one vein and two arteries) which bring in nutrients and take out impure blood.  When the pup is born the mother instinctively removes the membranes surrounding the pup, and severs the umbilical cord by biting through it.  If the cord is cut too cleanly, instead of the mother shredding it with her teeth, or if it is cut too close to the puppy’s abdomen, the cord might continue to bleed.  You must then be prepared to clamp or pinch off the cord and tie a thread around the stump.  The stump and the thread will fall off in due course.  Because blood is such a good medium in which germs can grow, it would be advisable to disinfect the stump with strong iodine (soak a Q-tip with Iodine forte and wipe the stump with it).

(2)  Infection

As described above, when the mother severs the umbilical cord, her teeth might introduce germs to the navel site, especially if the mother is suffering from some disease in the mouth (eg, dental caries or gingivitis, etc).  Similarly, the stump of the umbilical cord can become infected by contamination from stool in the whelping box.

pet cornerSometimes the pup is born weak and relatively unable to fight off infection.  Indeed, any factor (general ailment), which reduces the strength of the pup’s constitution, would make the pup more susceptible to invasion by germs.

An infected navel looks red and swollen; you may even detect some pus oozing from the site.  Since the umbilical cord has a connection with the liver, even a low-grade infection of the stump is potentially lethal.  The germs will then enter the blood circulation and a full blown septicaemia can develop.

My old favourite, Iodine forte, can be used to kill the germs at the site.  In fact, we should paint the stump of every newborn pup with iodine – as a preventative measure.  Some practitioners recommend cleansing the navel with a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide, followed by a Dettol/Savlon (gentle antiseptic) wash.  I myself do not like to use hydrogen peroxide on any fresh wound (severing the cord is the creation of a wound) since it tends to reactivate bleeding by removing the blood clots.  Also, I find the ‘gentle antiseptics’ too weak to destroy the more obstinate germs.  Subsequent to the cleansing of the infected site, one can rub an antibiotic ointment onto the stump.  Don’t go rushing to your vet demanding antibiotic injections or oral antibiotic suspensions.  If, on the other hand, there is no clearing up of the infection at the navel site (pus production, redness and swelling still continuing), the pup must be taken to the vet.

Finally, if you notice that one pup has a navel infection, check the other puppies.  In all likelihood, others will have a navel infection as well.

Another aside

A pair of beguiling puppy-dog eyes is hard to resist.  But next time you think about sharing food with your pet, fight the temptation.

In England, some 85 per cent of pet owners feed their cat or dog human food, a study of 3,000 people by retailer ‘Pets at Home’ found.

Nearly two-thirds gave them cheese, which both dogs and cats struggle to process, while a third fed pets fruit.  Grapes and raisins can cause kidney failure in pets, and in some cases small dogs have died after as few as four grapes.

One in 20 owners said they feed chocolate to their four-legged friends.  The treat contains theobromine, a chemical like caffeine, which can kill pets even in small doses.

Ten per cent admitted giving pets tea or coffee – but the caffeine can lead to heart palpitations and fits.

The message therefore is: Don’t share your dinner with the dog/cat.

Enough for today.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.



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