Kitten and Puppy Umbilical Cord Care
(some content taken from Dr.Marty Greer Revival Animal Health)
Most of us do well with managing moms at birth, but we neglect to manage puppies and kittens after birth. One commonly missed and very important management tool is umbilical cord care. If the kitten or puppy’s umbilical cord is not cared for properly, it can lead to navel infection. Navel infection can lead to joint issues, hernias, sick or dead puppies and kittens from sepsis.
Kitten and Puppy Umbilical Cord Infection
The umbilical cord is a straight shot to the bloodstream. Infection of the navel or umbilicus leads to circulating bacteria in the blood. These bacteria get filtered out by the fine vessels of the body mainly in the joint cartilage, tail and toes. When this happens, the tip of the tail or a toe often loses circulation, the hair falls off, and the tip of the tail or toe falls off. All of these issues can be prevented if we take steps to avoid navel infection after birth.
What Do You Put On a Puppy’s Umbilical Cord?
Once the baby is on the ground and nursing, treat the umbilicus with a strong iodine such as Breeder’s Edge® Clean Cut™ Iodine.This Iodine bottle is designed for quick and easy care for each litter.
This will cause the umbilicus to dry up quickly, preventing infection and the formation of small umbilical hernias in breeds that are prone to them. If we dry up the umbilical effectively, we scar down the umbilicus, blocking infection from entering the body. This scar tissue strengthens the weak area around the umbilical and a hernia is prevented. In hernia-prone breeds, it is wise to retreat the umbilical once a day until day three or the cord falls off to make sure it scars down effectively.
Over-Cleaning By Mom
Over-cleaning of the umbilical cord by mom happens in both kittens and puppies. Over-cleaning can lead to mom chewing into the skin and the intestine coming out. By treating the umbilical, we get mom to leave the umbilical alone because she doesn’t like the taste. This will usually prevent belly wall damage and the intestine from coming out.
On moms prone to over-cleaning, using a umbilical clamp after birth prevents her from chewing into the skin. The clamp falls off with the umbilical cord by day three to five and the problem is prevented. These clamps also work well with C-section puppies to be sure we don’t have any issues.
Puppy Umbilical Cord Infection Treatment
If mom over-cleans and the intestine starts showing it is time for a vet visit, suturing the belly wall closed is the only treatment and the sooner, the better. The key is to get it closed before the intestine dries out and secondary damage occurs.
Getting babies on the ground is great, but do not stop there. Managing the open umbilical cord by cutting it using an umbilical scissors to ½ inch, soaking it with Iodine, and then clamping it will ensure that the umbilical cord drops off when it should. We have put all of theses products together for you in our Cord Care Bundle.
If you have any further questions please call The Breeders Cupboard Team @ 587-988-2406