The swimmer syndrome in the puppy is a not very frequent and singular pathology in its manifestations. Let’s look at the causes, symptoms and treatment.
Puppy swimmer syndrome is a neonatal disease which appears in puppies of many breeds, often in chondro-dystrophic dogs. The puppy, apparently normal at birth, has a tendency to lie down and is unable to stand on its side when it is resting.
The result is an inability for the affected puppy to stand upright, keep his head straight and straight or crawl. It moves with a swimming-like movement, hence the name of the puppy swimmer syndrome. Symptoms of this syndrome appear during the period during which the puppy starts walking, around the 2nd-3rd week of life.
The breeds most affected by puppy swimmer syndrome are the Golden Retriever, the Siberian Husky, the Labrador Retriever and dogs with highly developed thorax and short legs, such as: ithe English Bulldog, the French Bulldog and the Pekinese. basically, puppies of medium-sized breeds are more affected, but puppy swimmer syndrome also affects other breeds, including cats.
Cause of puppy swimmer syndrome
The causes of this anomaly are still poorly understood. First of all, the syndrome is more widespread in litters of few elements, as puppies are born larger, consume more milk and tend to be lazier.
Another cause is too smooth ground which does not allow puppies to rest on their legs, as well as too high a temperature that does not make them easier and encourages them to evolve and search for walking. Other situations are still under study, such as that of the diet of a breastfeeding mother who is too rich in protein, a delay in maturity in the nervous system or a deficit in taurine.
Currently a hypothesis that is making its way is that the cause of this swimmer syndrome in the puppy is an internal ear defect, for which the “straightening reflex” of some puppies it is excessive, such as not to allow a lateral position during rest.
Symptoms of puppy swimmer syndrome
Although the cause of dog swimmer syndrome is still not fully understood, the symptoms will be visible in the first weeks of life but only in the fourth and fifth week, they will be or more evident, that is when the puppies learn to walk. The main symptoms we will notice are: muscle weakness and inability to move.
In addition, this position of the legs causes joint pain and through the use of X-rays, it will be observed that the bones do not adapt well to each other and acquire strange positions. Based on the seriousness of the situation, they may also have a flat chest, which has been deformed by the weight of the dog which is left in constant contact with the ground, causing respiratory problems.
Other symptoms are the presence of hairless areas), in the areas of the skin friction with the soil, difficulty in feeding. The puppy swimmer syndrome does not allow the animal to stand up even with the help of lifting it and holding it in a normal position, it would fall as soon as it would come. Similarly, if we put it in a dorsal lying position (face up), it cannot turn around and would remain in that position simulating an upside down turtle.
Treatment of puppy swimmer syndrome
Puppy swimmer syndrome carries real risks and can be fatal due to breathing difficulties that can cause choking in dogs and aspiration pneumonia. To intervene on this pathology, several effective techniques are used to remedy these symptoms and treat affected puppies.
We need to act quickly to make recovery chances as favorable as possible. In fact, it is recommended to intervene on the symptoms before 2 months. To help our four-legged friend with puppy swimmer syndrome, it is essential to have patience and make life easier for the dog.
Make sure to leave it on a more adherent floor surface, for this reason a specific mat is ideal because its structure is solid enough to help puppies progress. Furthermore, intervening with rehabilitation is possible and consists of massages and muscle manipulations.
Hydrotherapy also allows visible progress. Let’s see what the advice of the specialists:
- Massage for dogs, to activate blood circulation and nourish the muscles.
- A rehabilitation and physiotherapy program. The important thing is to diagnose in time and perform the necessary surgical interventions, in order to establish a physiotherapy plan as soon as possible:
- Hydrotherapy. It would be ideal if the puppy could move his legs in the water. When they float, the joints suffer less and it is easier to carry weight, while the resistance to movement of the water body makes the muscles stronger.
- We can design hammocks or other gadgets to keep the puppy upright and promote joint and muscle weight gain in dogs. The egg trays can be used as a surface to help the puppy move.
- Surgery may be needed. In the event that the positioning of the bones in the joints is incorrect, as this can cause a lot of pain to the animal and the inability to support the limbs.
- As it gets better and start supporting the weight and articulating his legs, we can create circuits to encourage body coordination by teaching it to walk.