Ginger, a very sweet five-year-old Yorkshire terrier, had given birth to her first litter, two beautiful pups named Gino and Bruno. Although Ginger showed good mothering instincts and was trying her best to take care of the babies, her owner noticed that something wasn’t quite right and quickly brought the new family to Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS).

The emergency veterinarians at NVS immediately saw that Gino and Bruno were weak and dehydrated. After examining Ginger, they determined that her mammary glands weren’t producing milk and her teats were completely flat so the puppies weren’t able to latch on to feed. 

Ginger and her puppies were hospitalized for intensive medical treatment. The pups, too weak to drink from a bottle, were fed with a tube every two hours around the clock. Our veterinary specialists prescribed a medication for Ginger that would stimulate milk production. They also gave the new mom physical therapy to encourage a more normal teat shape. As a result of this specialized, advanced medical care, Ginger began producing milk very quickly and after several days the puppies were able to latch on and nurse. 

Mom and babies were able to go home after four days of intensive hospital treatment and round-the-clock monitoring. Ginger’s owners continued bottle feeding the pups at home. Nearly one month later, Ginger, Gino and Bruno are thriving! The boys are starting to play, explore, and eat puppy food on their own!

The vast majority of pets can give birth and care for their young unassisted. Typically, making sure your pet has a safe, warm, comfortable space to give birth and then giving her some privacy is all you need to do. 

However, if you think your pet may be having difficulty giving birth or that there is something wrong with the babies, call NVS right away.  Signs that something may be wrong include active labor (strong abdominal contractions) for over 30-60 minutes with no production of a kitten or puppy, or if a puppy or kitten is trapped in the birth canal. Never attempt to resolve the situation yourself! 

We’re open 24/7/365 and will be able to advise you whether or not your pet needs to be brought to the hospital for evaluation. If you aren’t prepared to care for puppies or kittens, remember that spaying and neutering your pets is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy.