Puppy and Kitten Incubators - The truth about when and why!
I'm often asked this question by many of our customers. The answer may not always be as clear as we would like it to be.
As a former dog lover and breeder of English Bulldogs, I often found myself in circumstances where I lost a puppy and wondered the "What if" question.
What could I have done differently to save that puppy?
It is a question that most all breeders or animal rehabbers will come to at some point in their time raising animals. We often wonder what if I would have or could have done something different.
Like most, I often did not honestly know the reason I would lose a puppy and found myself just stating like most do "It was fading puppy syndrome"
However, I struggled with that statement as in all honesty I truly just didn't know exactly why or at least the medical reason I lost that puppy. After struggling with this question I began to do necropsies on the puppies to try an find the true cause of death so that I could try to do better and prevent it from happening again.
Often times we found that the animal suffered from organ failure but why did their body shut down? This is where my journey of finding out began.
Of course there are many reasons why a puppy or kitten for that matter can pass away. Sometimes they have an internal issue going on we cannot see such as a birth defect, a heart murmor, or other issue. But most of the time I believe it is a failure to provide the necessary environment for the animal to thrive. By providing the optimum environment for a puppy or kitten to thrive we give it the best chance possible at life!
In a natural environment the mother dog will create what most call a nest. This is an area where she can keep her puppies close together and provide her body warmth and a safe place for the puppies to be if she need to leave the nesting area. Puppies will come to the mother for warmth that is given off by her body heat.
There are times however where the mother may push a puppy away as she believes it may be sick and could potentially make the rest of the litter sick as well. These puppies would often die from this as they are not provided the warmth and nutrition they need to thrive. Sometimes puppies are too small to latch onto mom properly and they begin to become lethargic from lack of nutrition. Eventually, they become weak to a point that their organs begin to shut down.
Over the years, I found myself in situations where puppies could potentially be layed on by the mom, or they were pushed away. There were instances where they could not latch and became weak and lethargic then they would seize and often times go stiff. Most of the time they would bleed from the nose and have seizures. Those puppies would generally pass and I was devastated trying to figure out what went wrong.
I began using incubators about the last 5 years of my career as a breeder of English Bulldogs. I found great success in them for a variety of reasons. The first being I was providing an environment for the animal to thrive. Puppies and kittens are not able regulate their own body temperature for the first few weeks of their lives. So by providing a temperature controlled environment I eliminated that possibility of the animal becoming chilled which I personally believe is the number one killer of puppies and kittens.
I was also able to provide a humidity regulated environment which is extremely important in puppies and kittens so they don't become dehydrated. Dehydration is simply a loss of water from the body. Since fluids are essential to life for a puppy or kitten we certainly don't want to deprive them of that. An incubator heats the environment therefore drying out the moisture in the air during the heating process. Therefore, we must replace that moisture by using an external humidity source such as the Digital Humidity System for our Lifeline Pet Supplies Puppy Kitten and Pet Incubators by providing a regulated humidity source we help reduce that possibility of dehydrating the animals inside.
An incubator also can be used to warm a puppy or kitten after birth allowing the mother to concentrate on delivering the next puppy or kitten. That puppy or kitten that is placed inside the incubator can warm slowly within that optimum environment. Another use for our puppy and kitten incubators is to provide supplemental oxygen. Often times puppies or kittens can be born with premature lungs that may cause them to gasp. That lack of oxygen can lead to seizures and lung failure if it goes on for too long. The puppy and kitten incubators we offer provide the capability to enrich the environment by using an oxygen concentrator to the unit or it can also be attached for direct to face applications within the incubator by using one of our oxygen cones. This allows direct to face applications in situations where the animal is in respiratory distress.
So when asked the question "Do I need an incubator" the answer is not always clear. You may not have any issues with your litter and may not need the incubator. But when you do you will certainly wish you had access to one at 3am in the morning when you calling your veterinarian for an emergency call trying to save a puppy. If unfortunately you lose that puppy or kitten you will find yourself asking "What if" I finally decided that I was going to have the proper equipment on hand so that I could sleep sound at night knowing I had done everything possible to save that animal. Being able to provide that puppy or kitten an environment to thrive in my opinion was my duty and obligation to those animals and part of being a responsible breeder.
Over time, I often found myself wishing I had access to an incubator for all of those puppies I had lost over the years. After purchasing my first incubator and oxygen concentrator (which was unbelievably expensive at the time). I began to find things I liked and did not like about the incubator. I began to develop my own incubators testing them and developing new technology and features that were important to me and raising my puppies to be healthy happy family members. Using my background as an engineer I continually develop and design new features as technology advances to make the product better and more efficient. Modern conveniences are now implemented into the units making them a true puppy or kitten intensive care unit. Making the units portable and affordable was my goal in the design of our Lifeline incubators and I believe we have achieved that very well.