What is Swimmer Puppy Syndrome? What is the cause of it, and how can you tell if the puppy has it?
What can be done to treat swimmer puppy syndrome, if any, and what is the prognosis? The good news is that there is a natural treatment.
What is Swimmer Puppy Syndrome?
Swimmer Puppy Syndrome (SPS), Also known as a flat puppy or turtle puppy syndrome is an uncommon disorder characterized by hyperextension of the knee and tarsal joints and with the bilateral hyperextension of the hip joint.
Puppies that are physically unable to stand and walk are called “swimmers” because their legs spin like paddles when sea turtles are trapped at high altitudes.
The swimmer puppy is usually flat on its chest and belly, with its hind legs extended backward and its forelegs extended to the front and/or sides.
The inability to stand and walk for long periods of time flattens the swimmer’s thorax, causing breathing problems and preventing the puppy from eating properly. In newborns with swimmer puppy syndrome, milk is often restored.
Swimmer puppies often face difficulty with the digestive process; Many puppies have difficulty eliminating constipation and developing constipation as a result.
Without treatment, a swimming puppy is at risk of traumatic joint deformities caused by holding its legs at unusual angles for long periods of time.
Symptoms of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome
In addition to paddling their legs like little turtles or pulling on their stomachs like snakes, how can you say a puppy is a “swimmer”? Here are some things to look for:
- The puppy’s chest looks flat rather than round.
- You may notice that the puppy has some difficulty breathing.
- Swimming puppies are often lethargic.
- By one week of age, no matter how the puppy is caught, the puppy’s legs will usually appear to bulge permanently to the sides.
- By three weeks of age, the puppy does not develop the ability to stand and walk alike his littermates.
If you notice any of these syndromes or even have the slightest suspicion that the puppy is a “swimmer”, call your veterinarian immediately. The sooner treatment is started, the better the puppy’s outlook will be.
What Causes Swimmer Puppy Syndrome?
Small breeds and dogs with dwarfism are more prone to swimmer puppy syndrome. Since this condition is not common, little research has been done to determine the cause.
Some veterinarians believe the problem is hereditary, while others point to environments where puppies do not move enough to develop their muscles properly.
The cause of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome could be anything, but the good news is that this condition is often treatable.
How is Swimmer Puppy Syndrome Treated at Home?
Once upon a time, the only “cure” for swimmer puppy syndrome was humane relief. Today, these puppies are not desperate cases.
- Use a swimmer puppy syndrome harness which is specially designed for this purpose or sling to engage the puppy four times a day, for up to 20 minutes at a time. This treatment is intended to strengthen the muscles while putting pressure on the chest and abdomen.
- Your veterinarian will show you how to keep or tape the puppy’s legs in the correct position. Each case is different;
- Avoid slippery surfaces that prevent the puppy from getting traction. Puppies should never be on a flat surface. Wrap towels and blankets and confine the puppy to a small area.
- Make sure the bedding is soft so that the puppy’s thorax does not shrink as tightly as it should on a hard surface. You can also create a soft shirt for the puppy to wear by cutting leg holes in the old sock and filling the sock with fluffy material to keep the chest high.
- Encourage the puppy to lie on his side without resting on his stomach. Help change its position when you are with the puppy, nursing and sleeping.
- Use a soft toothbrush to tickle the puppy’s paw pads at least a few times a day. This gentle stimulation helps in nerve development and encourages the puppy to move his legs more, as well as show more energy with each movement.
- Massage the puppy frequently, especially after feeding. Massage helps to stimulate muscles and nerves while helping the digestive process.
- Gently encourage the puppy to stand and “walk” movements with the legs using your fingers. You can also promote these movements when the puppy is suspended in the sling.
- Make sure you are giving a just adequate feed to your puppy, but not too much food. Being overweight makes it even harder to recover.
- Keep the puppy clean. Because swimmer puppies cannot live properly on their own, they are more likely to sleep in their own waste. This can lead to traumatic injuries and problems with treatment. If approved by your veterinarian, prescribe a moisturizing cream or unscented baby powder to prevent irritation.
What happens if we ignore Swimmer Puppy Syndrome?
If the swimmer puppy syndrome is not completely treated, the puppy is likely to die.
Also, if treatment is not started immediately, the dog may have health problems throughout his life, including breathing problems and eating problems.
Therefore, it is important for swimming puppies to begin treatments as soon as possible.
With time, patience, and a commitment to consistent treatment, dogs with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome can be cured.
DIY, Solving Puppy Swimmer Syndrome With Tape (Video)
Treating a puppy with Puppy Swimmer Syndrome takes time and dedication, but a positive outcome is often possible.