I was all excited to write today about Early Neurological Stimulation, a series of exercises I started with the puppies yesterday but life is writing a different story, a subplot that hijacked my day. Let me start by introducing to you the cast of characters in this and all subsequent stories, as I really like giving puppies names other than color or number, especially as a personal name reflects how very uniquely individual they already are.
Cast of Characters
- Primo (the first-born boy earned the name by rushing to be first to greet the world)
- Derby (the next in the race and born hours after Kentucky Derby)
- Nugget (this sweetheart was born in the span of 30 seconds when I left the room to refill a warming bottle, I kid you not. He was the smallest and the most perfect nugget)
- Banzo (the biggest boy that was born last; my husband Michael was dying to name the biggest Beanie’s son Garbanzo Bean)
To all prospective owners of Beanie’s babies fear not, you are free to name your dog what you wish. These are their puppyhood nicknames.
Isn’t it fascinating how we hear about something and only vaguely register the information when it has no relevance to our life? I heard of neonatal ophthalmia in puppies before but paid only peripheral attention to it. Blah-blah-blah, something to do with young puppy’s eyes, not sure what, or what to do when it happens. Was it warm compresses? Well, let me tell you, when it happens to your little Derby, you etch this thing in your skull for life.
I noticed Derby’s one eyelid very swollen. It happened all of a sudden and looked scary. Anything abnormal in a 5-day old puppy is scary, anything! In the moment like that there are two things I rely upon to avoid panic. One- I have a great veterinarian whose competence I trust (Dr. Blaicher at Blaicher Veterinary Healthcare in Bedminster, NJ). Two- I dislike hysteria in others, and miraculously I learned to avoid it in my own reactions, no matter how concerned I am. I calmly called the vet, scooped up the little guy and off we were to have a lesson on neonatal ophthalmia.
The condition is actually not serious, if treated immediately. It is a form of conjunctivitis that typically affects puppies whelped naturally, as they contract it during delivery. Because the puppy’s eyes are closed shut at this age, the swelling of the eyelid and accumulated liquid has no way to drain. It can create a serious problem for the developing eye when the pressure is not released. Dr.B pierced through the eyelid with a sterile needle inserted at a wide, almost parallel angle to the eye. The fluid was drained and I was sent home with instructions to apply warm compresses every two hours and to keep draining any accumulating fluid. I know that “every two hours” routine well from tube feeding a puppy from a past litter round the clock.
I am happy to report that as of the last compress at 1 AM tonight Derby’s eye looks completely back to normal. Dare I sleep longer than 2 hours till I check on him next? Nah.