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Found an emaciated puppy on my way home today, vet closed, please advise!

619 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  Canyx
I was driving home this afternoon when I passed a very emaciated little puppy (probably 6-8 weeks old), all ribs showing, legs like little sticks, on the side of the road near a field. Picked her up and brought her home. I foster orphaned puppies and kittens for our humane society, but I've never had an animal that looked this bad. Mainly concerned because my vet is closed today and may be closed tomorrow as well. She's the only vet in my area, I live overseas.

So far I have:
1) Picked off all the ticks I could find on her;
2) Given her a gentle bath and applied a little antiseptic cream (from previous dog) to her ears;
3) Given her oral rehydration fluid twice;
4) Fed her some puppy milk replacer and a little bit of moistened cat food (I know this isn't the best, but I don't have dog/puppy food at the moment, stores are closed);
5) Put her in a crate with a heating pad;
6) Gave her probiotics.

She's had one soft stool, no vomiting, but she's incredibly weak, dehydrated, and flea-infested. She is ravenous, but I know that I have to be careful not to overfeed her, and I'm wondering if it is better to feed her the Milkopup (milk replacer) exclusively or whether to also continue giving her the cat food until I can get to a store tomorrow. I'm also not sure if I should try to do more to her ears or not, they're really caked with mud but when I tried to pull some of it off it seemed like I was pulling off scabs, too. Also, her tail appears to have been docked and it looks sore.

Is there anything else I can/should do for her at home that doesn't require a store to be open? Anyone have experience with an animal in this type of situation? Thoughts on how much/how frequently to feed her? I can't really guesstimate weight, but I'd say she's about the size of a medium-sized six-week-old puppy if it had absolutely no meat on its bones. I've been feeding every 4-6 hours, about a quarter-cup of prepared Milkopup and a quarter-cup of moistened cat food, but I'm not at all confident in those amounts/times.

I'm really hoping she'll pull through, but I just don't have enough experience with an animal in this condition to have a good sense either way. She can stand and when I bring food in she'll get up and come over to get it, but otherwise she just curls up in the corner of the crate. Hoping she can get some rest.

Any advice much appreciated. :)
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Hey there, I'm certainly no vet but it sounds like you are doing your best to help the poor pup! A few suggestions...

-First thing, if you have the time and resources, is check to see if you have an emergency animal clinic nearby. I imagine you've considered that route, but thought I'd say it because a vet really would be the best resource. If the puppy is in bad shape it would probably do best with a professional giving it some subQ fluids and monitor it. Otherwise...
-At 6-8 weeks, the pup can have solid food and does not need milk replacement. Soaking cat food in water is a great way to soften it and have the pup take in more fluids. Milk replacement shouldn't hurt, but might be unnecessary. I think cat food is fine for the immediate future but get puppy food as soon as possible because it is formulated for canines and has the proper balance of nutrients and minerals.
-Because she is flea infested, I would get a topical pesticide like Frontline or K9 Advantix and apply one drop between the shoulder blades. Again, a vet would have better insight. But I have seen this done for very, very young puppies (less than 6 weeks) when they come infested with fleas. In my situation, they were too young to safely be bathed (loss of body heat) with a medicated shampoo, and it was better than letting them continue being ravaged by fleas. I do not know if a medicated shampoo would be a better than one drop of topical for a 6 week old puppy.

Other things to keep in mind...
-When you can, have the puppy tested for diseases like distemper and parvovirus. Depending on your area, and if you are still going to foster for your humane society within the next year or two, I would have this done regardless of whether the puppy makes it or not. Some viruses can live for a LONG time on surfaces. And seeing as most people aren't going to soak their entire room in bleach, this would ensure that you maintain a safe environment for future animals.
-For the reasons listed above, I would recommend keeping the puppy in one, easily sanitized area if possible. I would also wear a different change of clothes when handling the puppy.
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