This is a sad morning and I am very tired.
The puppies were supposed to go home on Sunday evening, but timing ended up not quite working out, so we postponed until Monday. Sunday night I went to check on the pups one last time (around 11:00) and noticed the runt was acting odd. Upon closer inspection I noticed she had a good deal of mucus around her eyes and nose. After some brief deliberation, Hans and I decided it would be best to take her to the emergency vet. The diagnosis? A nasal infection...no big dea, but keep an eye on it and give her antibiotics.
Monday morning I noticed she was still having quite a bit of trouble, so I separated her from the litter, wrapped her in a towel, and held her. She seemed to improve with that, so I felt semi-comfortable leaving her alone for a couple of hours while I went to court (a post to come soon). When I came home, not much about her condition had changed, so back to the towel and snuggling.
When I left to meet Hans for lunch she hadn't nursed all morning. I figured she was having trouble suckling due to the congestion, so I decided bottle (syringe) feeding might be easier for her. She wasn't having any trouble taking her medication, so I knew that wouldn't be a problem. After lunch I went and got some formula.
She was having trouble eating, which was disheartening, but she was still getting food, and that was my biggest concern. Christine from HHS came by yesterday evening to drop off another dog, and she was supposed to take the puppies back. We'd already decided to keep the runt with us (the sick one) and bottle feed, and after discussing it Hans and I decided to foster the whole litter as well as the mom. Their original foster was greatful. Chritine gave me a few more tips, most of which I'd started but it helped to have the back up. I also talked to the vet some more and got the same opinion.
As the evening wore on, though, little runtlet took a turn for the worse. She started refusing food entirely, and while I could get it down her, she was fighting against it...big concern. Around 11:00 she vomited and it wasn't a pretty sight. Shortly after that I sent Hans to bed, but I wasn't going to leave her alone in that condition. She needed lots of fluid and a little extra care. She did decently for the most part, but you could tell that things had taken a turn for the worse. Her breathing was worse, and she was having a lot more trouble moving around.
Around 5:00 am Runtlet vomited again...and again. I'd already decided to take her to the vet, but at that point I figured there wouldn't be much they could do other than end her suffering. I woke Hans up at 5:30 to ask for his help, because I was so tired and at my breaking point. As Hans held her, I took care of the other dogs (well the adult dogs) and then I went to shower. Hans put her in a warm box and went to take care / clean up the other puppies. I was just getting out of the shower when Hans came upstairs to tell me she'd vomited again and that was it. She wasn't suffering anymore. Of course, I was sad, and the lack of sleep made everything more emotional. However, I was also somewhat relieved. She was in such bad shape. I knew the vet wouldn't really be able to help her, and she just seemed so miserable. I'm grateful I stayed with her through the majority of it, and I wish I'd been with her until the very end. She was quite a trooper.
So, today hasn't started off great. Like a dog, however, I cannot dwell on the loss of a very sweet puppy. I have to keep an eye out for any similar signs for the other pups. I refuse to let this happen again. I also need some sleep. Maybe tonight.