I picked up a stray puppy from the side of the road 3 days back. She is an Indian breed. She was crawling on her belly into shade when I found her.

I picked her (brown) up along with 2 other (black) puppies. The other two black ones are healthy and eating well.

This brown one is not eating or drinking on her own, I need to feed her with a syringe. When she gets up she starts crying and pacing in circles.

I am feeding her glucose and water every other day or so. If I put a few pellets of dog food in her mouth, she is chewing and swallowing. Otherwise she is unresponsive to other sounds or movements, she keeps on pacing and sometimes she keeps blankly staring at something.

The other two pups are responding well, they recognize me and are playful. What could be wrong with the brown one?

PS: All 3 look to be around one month old.

I already took her to a vet, and all she told me was to hydrate her every hour with glucose and water until she becomes healthy and then bring in for diagnosis. The vet didn't even touch the puppy.

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  • 13
    Welcome to pets.SE! If in doupt for the health of your pet, please do not wait for the guesses of strangers from the internet. Instead visit a vet or a shelter to get help foe this puppy! Sadly I am not expert in dogs and have no idea how to help you. Mar 9, 2021 at 12:46
  • 2
    Sure, will do. By hydrate her, I meant feed her glucose and water with a syringe into her mouth. Mar 9, 2021 at 13:14
  • 3
    How sure you are with the age? I read, that puppies around 2-3 weeks starts to defecating by themself, before the mum will lick their lower abdomen to start the process. To gentle massage this area may help. I assume you searched yourself for sources about orphan puppies, and which help is required for which age? Mar 9, 2021 at 13:36
  • 11
    I know you've said Indian breed. Could you confirm that you're in India? It's relevant because of the relatively high prevalence of rabies in India
    – innisfree
    Mar 10, 2021 at 7:00
  • 5
    @innisfree If you look at OP's profile, you'll see he lives in Aluva, Kerala, India.
    – forest
    Mar 10, 2021 at 7:09

2 Answers 2


I took her to a good vet today. She checked her, found that she was blind, but she was responding to sounds well. She was pacing in circles when she got stressed. Today with this new knowledge, I brought her home, started training her with sounds. She started responding well, she would circle a bit and then once she recognizes where the sound came from, she would walk in that direction. She even started drinking and eating on her own after she got comfortable with me. I have to hold the food and water up to her mouth, and she would eat/drink it, technically not by herself, but it's a big improvement compared to feeding her with syringe. Thanks for your help guys.

UPDATE- 15-Mar-2021

She is now eating well. No need to hold the container near her mouth anymore. She identifies objects and people, and has become better tuned to focus on sounds and smells. She has become familiar with her surroundings now, and knows where things are at. She is eating more compared to the other two pups now, also she has started play fighting with the other pups. Before she was always confused and unable to fight back. I feel she is on a path to a healthy normal dog life.

  • 32
    Wow, I cannot tell you how happy I am that it's not rabies, as I feared. My own dog has become blind (he's an old man now) and I can tell you that even blind, dogs can still have a happy life. You should train "stop" with her so you can warn her before she walks into objects.
    – Elmy
    Mar 10, 2021 at 20:19
  • 8
    Vision is important for dogs, but not as important as it is for us. The sense of smell is the most important for dogs; she is still able to perceive all the stimuli that dogs are the most interested in. I hope this information helps you to stay optimistic about your dog if you get worried about her blindness and its negative impact on her quality of life. I wish all the best for you and your dog.
    – lila
    Mar 10, 2021 at 22:30
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    Wow that was a roller-coster of a post. Glad everything is fine, you should mark your question as solved ;) (it will give people less anxious, like me :|, when reading).
    – Snifkes
    Mar 10, 2021 at 23:20
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    So... is the first vet completely incompetent? Is there a way to report that? I'm not a vet, but I would expect blindness to be... uh, pretty severe and something that a licensed vet should be able to diagnose.
    – Nelson
    Mar 11, 2021 at 3:42
  • 7
    @Nelson I had taken her to a big government run hospital because my usual vet was not available, dont know why the vet didnt diagnose, they were telling I should bring her up to health and then they will be able to diagnose. As soon as my regular vet was available, I took the puppy to her and she helped me out with the diagnosis. Mar 11, 2021 at 9:35


The symptoms you describe, the lack of motor control, the unawareness, staring into nothing, not being able to drink and eat on her own, could all be symptoms of rabies.

Rabies is 100% lethal to all infected humans and animals that are not vaccinated. If you're not vaccinated, please get the vaccine for you and your family as soon as possible. The rabies vaccine is the only effective treatment and it's still effective after you were infected and before the first symptoms set in. Even if you were vaccinated in the past, let your doctor check that the old vaccine is still effective and refresh it just in case. If this puppy indeed has rabies and infects you, there is no way to save your life as soon as you feel the first symptoms. That will be a fever and/or tingling at the site of infection (usually a bite or other wound).

(In the recent 10 years there have been several accounts of people surviving rabies. All of them have been only partially vaccinated and all of them retained very severe brain damage or died a few months later. There is no report of someone without any antibodies ever surviving. So even if you "survive" rabies, you won't ever be healthy again.)

Rabies is spread when an infected animal bites or scratches a human or other animal. Saliva from an infected animal can also transmit rabies if the saliva comes into contact with the eyes, mouth, or nose. Globally, dogs are the most common animal involved. In countries where dogs commonly have the disease, more than 99% of rabies cases are the direct result of dog bites.

You must separate the puppy from all other dogs and especially humans and children to avoid even more infections. Protect yourself from sudden, unforeseeable bites. The virus replicates in the nervous tisseus, including the brain and spinal cord and is eventually shed in the saliva of infected animals. Rabies is NOT found in the urine or blood of infected animals. You must always wash your hands and all objects that came into contact with the puppy with lots of soap, or better a 70% ethanol or phenol solution (many hand sanitizers are based on ethanol; read the list of ingredients to make sure). Be aware that the disinfectant must be applied for a prolonged time (most often several minutes) to be effective and you must apply more sanitizer to your hands until the required time (read the package leaflet) is over.

Rabies has many non-specific signs in animals that may be hard to detect in the beginning or can be confused with other signs. If the puppy becomes aggressive or has foam or thick saliva on its mouth, it could indicate that it has rabies, however, this can only be confirmed after a post-mortem laboratory test has confirmed the presence of the virus. Unfortunately, if the animal is in fact rabid and clinical signs have manifested, the mortality rate is near 100% and the animal will die from the disease.

Also keep a watchful eye on the other 2 puppies. They may be infected as well, but may not show any symptoms yet. If they are infected, they start shedding viruses (read: they could infect humans and other animals) before they show the first symptoms. If you can afford the treatment, get them vaccinated against rabies ASAP.

I hope very much that I am wrong with my assumption, but in case this puppy does have rabies, please be extremely careful and don't endanger your own life for the life of an animal you won't be able to save anyways.

There is a global charity (Global Alliance for Rabies Control) that specializes in rabies elimination in all rabies-endemic countries. It offers free online courses to teach you more about the disease and to raise awareness about the disease. You can learn more about rabies and help prevent eliminate the disease globally. Check out there website here: https://rabiesalliance.org

Further reading:

  • 12
    "Rabies is 100% lethal to all infected humans and animals that are not vaccinated." There's a reason why Old Yeller got shot at the end of the movie, after all. I'd definitely say to take the dog back to the vet for a second opinion if you suspect it might be rabid.
    – nick012000
    Mar 10, 2021 at 3:00
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    I would be concerned about possible rabies infections in all 3 puppies, if they were part of the same litter or found together.
    – innisfree
    Mar 10, 2021 at 6:55
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    Put all objects into bright sunlight to kill any remaining viruses – If you believe an object has come into contact with a virus, do not expect sunlight to completely sterilize it!
    – forest
    Mar 10, 2021 at 7:11
  • 11
    @Arthur In the recent 10 years there have been several accounts of people surviving rabies. All of them have been only partially vaccinated (there is no report of someone without any antibodies ever surviving) and all of them retained very severe brain damage or died a few months later. So even if you "survive" rabies, you won't ever be healthy again.
    – Elmy
    Mar 10, 2021 at 10:11
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    @CarlWitthoft Yes, there is a possibility that the puppy doesn't have rabies, but OP wrote that the vet didn't even touch it, so I won't trust any of their diagnoses. And considering the possibility of infecting humans I found it extremely important to err on the side of caution.
    – Elmy
    Mar 10, 2021 at 13:46

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