special needs puppy vent

Owlet

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
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135
Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel)
So, a little under 3 weeks ago at my work we had a litter of 7 born. Very quickly we noticed that Blue, the first born, had one ear about half the size of the other. We weren't too concerned at first and just hoped it would grow with the rest of him. We checked him over for anymore visual defects and found nothing. He was a strong nurser so we weren't too worried and juet made sure to keep an eye on him going forward. Then we ran into some more problems, he has a pretty severe head tilt to the side his bad ear is on. it makes him very wobbly and he tends to roll in circles a bunch. (Hes gotten better with this though and is better at crawling around the whelping box without rolling) Ontop of that he seems to be knocked off the nipple a lot and/or struggles to get the nipple on his own so he is significantly smaller than his siblings (he is 1.1lbs and the rest are in the 3 pound range) and even if we are persistent with getting him in the nipple he just seems to grow a lot slower than the others, but he IS growing and gaining weight so that's a good thing.
Now they're 3 weeks old and learning to walk. His siblings can sit up and wobble around fairly well and he just, can't. It looks like hes TRYING but isnt getting anywhere. Now, if he cant learn to walk theres a very real possibility we will have to put him down which is the LAST thing I want. I'm hoping hes just behind because hes small and that he will catch up and be able to walk just fine but I also have to be honest with myself, it's not looking good. I try to help him by holding him up so he can walk with some support but then he just wants to roll instead of be on his feet. It breaks my heart, I want what's best for him but I dont know how to help. The vets cant do anything either, if we took him they would just recommend we put him down. all we can really do is hope and pray hes able to walk. Now we've never had issues with this mother in the past, but the sire of this litter is new, this was his first litter. So I dont know if its genetic or just a fluke... I just hope he can walk.

Here are pictures if him;

Just born:
Screenshot_20210911-134155_Gallery.jpg

Day 2:
Screenshot_20210911-134019_Drive.jpg


Week 1:
Screenshot_20210911-134044_Drive.jpg

Week 2:
Screenshot_20210911-134104_Drive.jpg
 

chris-md

Well-known member
Feb 6, 2010
3,932
65
Maryland - USA
Parrots
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Has he been to a vet?

armchair diagnosis - worth every penny you’ve paid for it but I thoroughly enjoy playing these games: perhaps it is genetic, an underdevelopment of the inner ear, likely even deaf. best case scenario he’ll be ok, but needs extra time to learn to adapt to using just the one good ear for balance and hearing.

Edit: I just came across a condition called Closed Ear Canal, seems common in hairless breeds most particularly. Does this resemble what you might be experiencing?
 

Kitekeeper

Active member
Jun 19, 2021
187
249
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Parrots
Budgerigar (Bud), Pacific Parrotlet (Sam), Roseicollis lovebird (BJ and Turq), Linneolated parakeet (Charlie and Emma)
I am sorry Owlet, it is a beautiful puppy!

Yes it is quite possible that a closed ear channel, or the lack of some little ear bones deep inside the ear as result of a embryonic malformation can cause unbalance. At this point in its life the brain is still developing and may need stimulus to fully develop.

Some child may experience problems to develop many functions as the brain need to trigger all its early phases to move on to the next ones. Those kids can gain substantial life quality after some sessions of Equine-assisted psychotherapy. My daughter was able to crawl and later to walk, only after such sessions. It was explained to me that putting her on the back of a horse imitated the human walk which was necessary to develop several parts of the brain at that stage of her life. It worked incredibly well for her.

I know it sounds a little crazy, but dogs are not that different than us and maybe putting the puppy strapped on the back of a very calm and gentle dog that could take smooth walks like this, could help. I would give it a try. It might be just the stimulus its brain need to make him stand on its feet.
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
2,098
135
Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel)
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Has he been to a vet?

armchair diagnosis - worth every penny you’ve paid for it but I thoroughly enjoy playing these games: perhaps it is genetic, an underdevelopment of the inner ear, likely even deaf. best case scenario he’ll be ok, but needs extra time to learn to adapt to using just the one good ear for balance and hearing.

Edit: I just came across a condition called Closed Ear Canal, seems common in hairless breeds most particularly. Does this resemble what you might be experiencing?
He hasnt been to the vet physically as we aren't very comfortable with bringing such young puppies to the vet where there can be all sorts of germs. We talked with a vet and another breeder who experienced something similar and both said just to wait until ears/eyes are fully open and hes walking. So we have been waiting for that before we take him to the vet. Right now hes had a couple rounds of deworming that we normally do with our pups at 2-3 weeks, he wont get his first vaccine until 4 weeks though and that's a neopar so we are hesitant to bring to the vet since he has no immunity other than antibodies hes gotten from his mom.

I'm not familiar with that condition and would have to look into it but anything is possible at this point. To me that ear (and canal) just look very underdeveloped compared to what a normal ear looks like. Hes at that age where his ears are just starting to open (their eyes opened earlier this week) so it's hard to tell if it's closed canal or not but I will definitely be keeping an eye on it.

I've also seen cases of dogs with balance issues and head tilts mature to still have those conditions but be able to work around them so I'm hopeful but I also dont wanna get my hopes up in the case he doesnt get as good of an ending.

I am sorry Owlet, it is a beautiful puppy!

Yes it is quite possible that a closed ear channel, or the lack of some little ear bones deep inside the ear as result of a embryonic malformation can cause unbalance. At this point in its life the brain is still developing and may need stimulus to fully develop.

Some child may experience problems to develop many functions as the brain need to trigger all its early phases to move on to the next ones. Those kids can gain substantial life quality after some sessions of Equine-assisted psychotherapy. My daughter was able to crawl and later to walk, only after such sessions. It was explained to me that putting her on the back of a horse imitated the human walk which was necessary to develop several parts of the brain at that stage of her life. It worked incredibly well for her.

I know it sounds a little crazy, but dogs are not that different than us and maybe putting the puppy strapped on the back of a very calm and gentle dog that could take smooth walks like this, could help. I would give it a try. It might be just the stimulus its brain need to make him stand on its feet.
I dont think we have a dog we could try that with, we work with poodle types and they tend to be very... bouncy. I was hoping I could stimulate him to try walking more by giving him support and I think I'll continue trying that, help build his muscles more because he is still really small and physically behind is siblings. The only other situation I can relate this too though is when we had a prematurely born litter and while 2 of the pups grew up to be just fine one was severely stunted. He started walking BEFORE his siblings though. So it makes me nervous that this guy hasnt had as much luck even though he has a different condition making balance difficult.
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

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Oct 27, 2016
2,098
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Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel)
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Here's some other pictures:
Cuddling with siblings:
20210914_134138.jpg

Their new set up since they've outgrown the whelping box: They're still a little too young for the swing and slide but we like to offer it so they can at least try.
20210914_131714.jpg
And his 3 weeks old photo:
unknown.png
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

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Oct 27, 2016
2,098
135
Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel)
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Was his ear ever diagnosed? Thank you for giving him a chance
no hes only 3 weeks old and doesnt have a strong enough immune system for a vet visit. We talked to a vet and were essentially just told to wait and see what happens
 
OP
Owlet

Owlet

Well-known member
Oct 27, 2016
2,098
135
Colorado
Parrots
Lincoln (Eclectus), Apollo (Cockatiel)
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Yesterday we started giving him 2-3 meals on top of what he gets from mom. We use freeze dried raw meat and weaning formula to make a goop for him. Its messy as heck and I have to hold him up so he can eat without attempting to roll in it but he seems to really like it and i hope it helps him pack on weight.
 

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