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What killed these 6 puppies?

634 Views 3 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  DaySleepers
Our neighborhood has a lot of stray dogs and a while ago one of them gave birth to a litter of 8 puppies in a corner of our backyard, I don't know their exact age but they must have been over four weeks old when I found them, still tiny with soft baby ish features. I began watching them, petting them, picking them up and playing with them every day or every other day. When they were a little bigger with more adult-dog like features, I began feeding them crumbled biscuits, mashed sausages and rice with dal (lentil soup). They were always very active, greeted me cheerfully, wrestled and played all day. At night they retreated to a dump of old mattresses which they made their bed. I made a bed for them out of a cardboard box, but they wouldn't sleep in it. The mother lives nearby and would come to feed them every day. Yesterday I went to play with them as usual and found three of them dead, lying on the mattress. Two of them were sitting silently beside their dead siblings. I tried coaxing them out but they wouldn't budge. They weren't interested in food either. Today I found three more of them dead in the same spot, huddled together. There's only one alive as of now and I don't know where the other remaining one is. The alive puppy seems as active as usual, but definitely quieter and more subdued and less interested in food, though he seemed excited to see me. I don't know if it's because of the loss of all his playmates or because of some illness. My heart broke seeing him chew on leaves and twigs sitting silently and I'm worried that this one might die as well. What could have killed them within one or two nights? Did I do something wrong? I feel so bad.

A few things:

* the day before the first three died, they didn't seem interested in the food I gave them, which they usually ate quickly. Two of them also seemed quieter and more lethargic (not moving around much from one spot etc). I thought they were just tired or sleepy. The rest were active, wrestling and playing.

* I didn't touch the dead puppies or turn them over because I was afraid of catching a bug and I didn't have gloves available, but from what I could see there were no obvious external injuries, bite marks or blood, etc.

* I tried to put them up for adoption but no one wanted them. I couldn't take them in because I'm not allowed to by my family.

*I can't take the remaining puppy to a vet because my dad isn't home and my mom can't take him by herself. She can't drive and wouldn't take the hassle of taking a stray puppy to a vet in an Uber. I don't know if the driver would even allow it.

I'm very worried, what can I do?
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Unfortunately there's a lot of illnesses that baby puppies are vulnerable to that can kill, even when the symptoms are caught and they're being actively treated in a veterinary hospital. Parvovirus and distemper are big killers, but even more minor illnesses can turn serious fast with puppies, such as stomach bugs, parasites, or canine flu. On top of that there could be dehydration, exposure to the elements if your local weather's been bad in any way (too hot, too cold, very dry, very rainy, etc.), or even poisoning, intentional or otherwise. Puppies are just very, very fragile little guys.

First things first: is there rabies in your country? If so, you should bring this up to your parents, now. If you've been handling these puppies and there's even a tiny chance they had contracted rabies somehow, you need to be talking to a doctor to see if you should get a rabies shot just in case. Don't mess around with it - rabies kills.

As for the survivor, I think the only thing you can do is contact any animal control or rescue organizations in your area, if there are such things. You might also try calling veterinary clinics to see if they can help, or know someone who might help get the puppy to them. You're in a terrible situation, and you've done a lot for these puppies. I'm so sorry it's turned out like this, but it's a wonderful thing that you care so much and gave them a little love in their short lives. Take comfort in that, even if this is tragic and difficult right now.
Thank you so much for your response. I'll try contacting an organization if he survives.
As for rabies, I'm terrified of this disease and have been paranoid about it since the first day I started handling these puppies. I always had sturdy shoes and long sleeves on when handling them, but I have had contact with their saliva on my hand, no obvious break in skin and I always washed my hands thoroughly. They didn't seem to exhibit any symptom of the virus, they weren't disoriented, they were always interested in food. No drooling or aggressiveness, they were nippy but I attributed that to teething and normal puppy behavior. The mother dog doesn't have rabies either so idk where they would have caught it if they did have it. But then again I don't know the symptoms of rabies in puppies well. I'm really scared now :(
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