Neonatal and Pediatric Services:
Evaluation of the bitch post-whelp is sometimes recommended in order to confirm that all puppies have been whelped. Retained puppies may not survive if left unnoticed, and often cause the dam to become ill. Please bring her and her litter in for an appointment if you are concerned about this possibility. The bitch post-whelping will often be stressed without her new litter with her, and in case she needs to stay in the hospital for treatment, they will need to be nursing regularly.
Evaluation of the litter immediately post-whelping is available, though for many patients isn’t necessary. Most puppies will be seen after a few days for dewclaw removal or tail docking, and a full exam is performed at that time. If your puppies aren’t behaving normally or aren’t gaining weight, please contact us, as this may be an indication for a visit.
We prefer to perform neonatal dewclaw removal at 3-5 days on most litters. Please check with your local or national breed club if you are not sure if this applies to your breed. You are welcome to be present for the procedure, but please make arrangements for someone to look after the dam in the car, or keep her at home.
We prefer to perform neonatal tail docking at 3-5 days on most litters, varying by breed and relative size of puppies at birth. If you have not been present for this procedure on puppies of your breed, please bring a knowledgeable person who can designate appropriate tail length on each puppy. We are happy to suggest what we think is an appropriate length, but you and your fellow breed enthusiasts are much more the expert than we are at the ideal tail length in adults of your breed.
In breeds that it is appropriate for, we provide ear cropping as well as follow up care to encourage ears to stand properly. This procedure should never be taken lightly. It is a surgery requiring full anesthesia of the puppy and takes a great deal of owner commitment after the procedure has been completed to achieve a beautifully standing ear. Several months of posting the ears is often required post surgically, especially in breeds with longer ear styles.
The ideal age for this procedure is at around 8 weeks. An ear trim consult will be scheduled before the surgery in order to discuss the desired aesthetic. At the consult appointment, you are welcome to bring pictures of adult dogs of your breed for reference if you have certain preferences.
After surgery, your puppy will stay overnight for initial bandage changes and to establish a good regimen of pain control. Follow up care includes weekly appointments for incision care and posting for 3 weeks. After sutures are removed, we are happy to continue to assist you in re-posting at the clinic, or teaching you to clean and post the ears yourself at home until the ears are standing properly.
Some breeders will choose to have their ears trimmed prior to going to their new homes. Even if we did not perform the procedure, we are happy to help to post and shape the ears as they begin to stand. Taping ears is a simple science, but professional help with the process can help things go more smoothly and achieve the desired result.