Septicemia, also called neonatal sepsis, is system-wide infection with one or
more bacterial organisms. Entry occurs most commonly via the umbilicus.
Other possible points of entry include the gastrointestinal tract, peritoneal cav-
ity, respiratory tract, skin lacerations, and urinary tract. Causative organisms
usually can be cultured from the dam’s vaginal secretions. The animal may be
predisposed to septicemia by inadequate ingestion of colostrum or concurrent
disease of the neonate or dam. Escherichia coli is the most common bacterium
isolated from puppies with septicemia.
Clinical signs vary with the organ(s) affected. Reported syndromes include
gastroenteritis with foamy vomitus, liquid diarrhea, reddening of the anus,