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SusanPattyPadro Percyaswimmerpuppy

 What is Swimmer Puppy Syndrome?


Swimmer Puppy Syndrome is a condition that occurs in very young puppies within their first two weeks of life. It is characterized by the flattening of the chest and abdomen, which makes it difficult for the puppies to stand, crawl or walk. It occurs most often in dwarf breeds such as the West Highland White Terrier, Cairn Terrier, Tibetan Spaniel and the Pekingese, but can develop in other breeds as well.





Photo provided by Susan Patty Padro, Percy is a swimmer puppy


Symptoms of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome

Before listing the symptoms of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome, it is necessary to note that many people often mistake this condition with pectus excavatum¹. The difference between these two conditions is that most puppies suffering from swimmer syndrome can easily recover. 


Common symptoms of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome are as follows:

 •       Regurgitation of milk that gets worse with time

•       Puppies that lie flat on their bellies

•       Refusal to lay on either side

•       Front legs that splay outwards

•       Extended back legs

•       Flattened chests and bellies that worsen with time

Causes of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome

In some cases, there may be no probable causes of Swimmers Syndrome in puppies. However, some factors that may contribute to its development include obesity, genetic deformities of the chest region, slippery flooring in whelping boxes and excessive heat.

Complications of Swimmer Puppy Syndrome in dogs

When left untreated, puppies can suffer many complications due to swimmer syndrome. These problems involve both developmental issues as well as serious complications involving the joints, lungs and digestive tract. Some of the most common complications that can result from swimmers syndrome in dogs are listed below:

•       Aspiration Pneumonia

•       Constipation

•       Death

•       Difficulty Swallowing

•       Joint Difficulties

•       Patellar Luxation

•       Poor Circulation


 ¹ Pectus excavatum is an unusual deformity of the breast bone, which results in compression of the heart and lungs

NOTE:   BTN will soon publish an article detailing experiences of raising a puppy with Swimmer Puppy Syndrome


Edited by: Jan Mitchell