Module 2: The Case of the Sick Puppies

More Investigation…

Review of the puppies’ medical records did not reveal any clues as to why one of them died so suddenly.

The shelter veterinarian examined the remaining littermates. All 4 puppies are BAR (bright, alert and responsive), have a BCS (body condition score) of 5/9 (normal) on the Purina Scale, weight gain of 4 to 5 lbs in 3 weeks, and normal body temperatures ranging from 100.9 to 101.9oF. There were no abnormal findings other than one pup acted painful on abdominal palpation.



The techs drew blood for a PCV/TP test (packed red cell volume/total protein) and WBC (white blood cell) count estimated by microscopic exam of a blood smear. They also collected feces for a fecal flotation exam for parasite eggs. One of the pups had soft stool – this was the same one that seemed painful on abdominal palpation.


Diagnostic Test Results for the Puppies

  • PCV = 26 to 28% (normal range for pups: 25 to 34%)
  • TP = 6.0 to 6.2 g/dL (normal range: 5.5 to 7.5 g/dL)
  • WBC count (blood smear) = 14 to 25 WBC per 10X field (normal range: 18 to 50 WBC per 10X field)
  • The pup with the painful abdomen and soft stool had a WBC count = 14 per 10X field
  • Fecal flotation = no parasite eggs seen for any of the pups


The shelter veterinarian’s exam and diagnostic test results did not find any evidence of anemia, infection, or parasite infestation, but she is worried about the pup with a painful abdomen, soft stool, and lowest WBC count. She asks the techs to monitor the puppies twice daily for any signs of disease, including not eating, vomiting, diarrhea, nasal discharge, or coughing.


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