Despite this, the syndrome can be present in more than one litter of the same mother. This can be confused with pectus excavatum, a disease where there is a deformed chest cavity.
Sometimes these two can come hand and hand, but both their symptoms and how the disease progresses are completely different from each other. It is important to distinguish between the two before the puppy advances towards treatment.
Swimmer puppies can happen to just a couple of puppies in the liter to the entire bunch. Those who are not breeders will probably recognize the symptoms around the second or third week of age - around the time they start to walk.
The puppy that is affected will have a hard time walking and will obviously be seen as the odd one out compared to the rest of the pack. During the early stages of birth, it is normal for puppies to lay flat on the their stomach. However after this 2-3 week period, healthy puppies will attempt to lay at their side or walk.
Puppies that have swimmers will still be laying flat on their bellies and will drag themselves to drink from the mother. Puppies that lie on their stomach constantly will begin to show signs of a flat chest.
It is important that during the first couple of days of birth you feel each puppy’s rib cage to see if it is flat. Even for the inexperienced, you can quickly tell from the well shaped round ribs to the utterly flat ones.
The flat ones should be dealt with immediately and cared for. The best way to help them is during these stages. If you do catch it in the 2-3 week mark you will still be able to help them, it will just take longer for them to recover. You must regularly check their ribs for swimmer puppies as it can become more apparent after the first week.
It is fairly easy to cure; it just takes time and patience. If you catch it during the early stages, all you have to do is feed the puppy on his side.
When he starts to drink milk, hold him down on his left or right side and make sure he remains there. He might stop because he is not used to that position, do not worry, just keep on trying. You want to do this a couple of times a day.
Dogs with mild swimmer puppies will be cured within 1-2 days and others that are more severe will take about 2-4 days to become normal again.
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