The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

Water (Walrus) Puppies (Anasarca puppies)

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A dead black and white English Cocker Spaniel water puppy placed on a white towel

"My pup was a singleton, born to my girl who had had a litter the previous year, a litter of 6 normal healthy English Cocker Spaniel pups. This time we used the son of the boy we used last year. This was only his second litter too. His first a healthy litter of 8 pups."

A dead black and white English Cocker Spaniel water puppy

English Cocker Spaniel water puppy—"In all my nearly 18 years of breeding have never experienced this, and it was soul destroying when my girl had to have a c-section and no pup at the end of it. Sadly the pup was severely affected, as the pictures show."

A dead Labrador Retriever water puppy on top of a blanket placed belly-up

"AKC Labrador Retriever—Water Puppy. First and foremost, I would like to thank you for all of the valuable information I found on your website. As a first-time breeder I was determined to collect and read all the information I could on what to expect throughout the breeding/whelping process. While re-reading your posted information I came across the section on Water Puppies, and after being told that an x-ray showed that my female was carrying one puppy that appeared to be twice as large as the others, and what I thought to be a strange shiny look to her breast and nipple area, I began to worry. I contacted my daughter who will be a Dr. of vet med in May 2010. She explained that the occurrence of "Water Puppies" is rare and that I need not worry as pups of the same litter are often many different sizes. Maybe it was a coincidence that I came upon your site and all of the information you provided on "what to do when things go wrong"... but I am so thankful to you for providing that information. In June my female Labrador delivered three healthy pups followed by a "Water Puppy" which was very large and she was having great difficulty pushing her out. I followed the advice and "feathered" her cervix to see if it would help her labor progress, and it was almost instantly helpful. The fourth puppy (water puppy) was born dead, her skin was so swollen that it was split about her belly and across her face, it also appeared that she may have also had a clef palate. The fifth pup was born healthy with no complications. My own veterinarian had never heard of this before, and neither had my brother-in-law who is also a vet. I have included a picture that I took of the "Water Puppy" four hours after birth so you may share it with your readers. The swelling had decreased considerably and absorbed into the white towel that I had wrapped her in."

A Labrador Retriever water puppy on top of a blanket

AKC Labrador Retriever—Water Puppy

A Labrador Retriever nursing her newborn litter of puppies in a whelp box

The rest of the puppies in the litter were healthy.

A dead newborn French Bulldog water puppy placed on a white towel

This is a French Bulldog male puppy. He was delivered via c-section and lived about 30 minutes. I believe, according to the Dr., he suffocated because of the abnormal swollenness. Never in my long-time practice have I seen anything like this. The mother dog did not have any unusual signs of any kind during pregnancy.

A newborn French Bulldog water puppy laying on a white towel

Male French Bulldog water puppy that lived about 30 minutes after delivery

 Close up head shot - A newborn French Bulldog water puppy laying on a white towel

Male French Bulldog water puppy that lived about 30 minutes after delivery

I bred my French Bulldog two years ago and she too had a water pup. She only had two puppies, one was perfectly fine and the other was a water puppy. Since we were already planning a C-section birth, we already knew there was a water puppy. The vet and his staff worked feverishly to revive this pup. Miraculously, the puppy made it and actually started to nurse. However, we noticed right away he could not keep the milk down. Every time it nursed, milk would come back up out of his nose and mouth. The vet took an X-ray and unfortunately found a really terrible birth defect; the esophagus was not connected to the stomach so the milk had nowhere to go but back out. My heart just sank knowing what a fighter this puppy was to be able to come out of that first ordeal of being a water puppy and now we had to put him down humanely so he would not starve to death. I too was put off from breeding after this as I got so attached to this puppy in such a short amount of time. Thank you again to everyone who shared their stories as I am still so sad from that event but know I'm certainly not alone. However, take heart, the other puppy is doing so well that he's even being shown and has won some ribbons to date!

A big thank-you to the breeders who shared their stories on their experience with water puppies.

If you have additional information/ photos on water puppies you would like to share in order to help others with this issue, Contact Us.

Whelping: Close-to-Textbook Case