Thursday 23 October 2014

Ruby's pups the C litter make their arrival but it was far from plain sailing

Taking into account that the average time from mating to whelping is 63 days Ruby was due to have her pups around Wednesday 22nd of October. She was absolutely huge and I suspected a very large litter comparing how much bigger she was this time than she was with her A litter.

On Sunday this week I was down in Plymouth completing the final suitability to be Police dog assessments on the B litter (I will tell you about those later this week) when my Wife told me to get back home as Ruby was shredding her bedding in her whelping box which is one of the signs of whelping being imminent. This can go on for several days but on average lasts for between 6 and 12 hours.

When I got home things had settled down and here she is relaxing in her whelping box on Sunday night.
I slept alongside her for the night on a transit bed to monitor her and those of you who were traumatised by a picture of me doing the same thing on the last litter with no shirt on can relax I have no photo this time.

She was very restless in and out of the garden all night. None of us got any sleep but it was worth it  when she eventually produced her first puppy at 9.10am on Monday morning. She produced a second pup at 10.15am and a third pup at 11.15 am. By 2pm no more pups had arrived and we thought that might be it. Ruby seemed very relaxed and so were her 3 pups.

At 2.15pm she then had a fourth pup and then a fifth pup at 3pm. She really had to work hard to deliver these pups and I was concerned at how tired she was looking. My worry was that if there were further pups she would have trouble delivering them. I discussed it with our vet and the decision was made that if no further pups arrived by 6.30 pm he would come to our house and give Ruby an injection of Oxytocin to ensure the uterus closes down properly and to assist with a quick delivery of any unborn pups.

Ruby then had 2 more pups at 4.50 pm and 5.10 pm and all seemed well with mum and her 7 pups when we went to bed at 11pm. Then disaster struck at 3am when we heard Ruby whining and we could see she had delivered a fully formed dead pup which we could not revive.

I asked the vet to come out to administer an Oxytocin injection. In the time we waited for his arrival Ruby delivered another dead pup which could not be revived. Our vet duly arrived and administered the injection and within 10 minutes poor Ruby delivered a third dead pup.

Ruby then seemed to settle down and seemed much happier now that everything was obviously clear. I was very sad for her but in a strange way I was also relieved that she would not have to go through the extremely hard work of raising 10 pups had they survived. I was extremely proud of how hard she worked and even more proud of the way she allowed the vet to examine her while her pups were crying and she wanted to get back to them.

Thankfully everything then settled down and Ruby was very contented with her 7 pups.

I don’t know if you are aware but when pups are born they completely deaf and blind. They open their eyes between days 7 to 10 days and their ear canals open around 14 days.

The below shows the pups around 24 hours old lying together in a huddle keeping warm while I was taking Ruby outside to spend a penny and to allow her to drain and have a good stretch.

Puppies are born with an immature brain and nervous system and with eyes and ears tightly closed an enormous amount of development has to take place in the first few weeks.

Their body temperature is low compared to adult dogs and they can only keep up their body heat by lying against something warm, either the mammary glands of mum, a heat pad or heat lamp.

New born puppies are never still, they twitch and jerk and stretch their limbs constantly either suckling or sleeping. This reflex action called activated sleep serves to develop and exercise the nerve and muscle system.

Mum is pictured relaxing with her 7 pups who all seem very content 48 hours after being born.

She had 3 boys and 4 girls the same as last time. The first 36 hours are crucial to their survival and I am happy to say three days in the pups are all looking strong and well nourished so fingers crossed. Here are a selection of photo’s of mum and pups taken on Wednesday and Thursday.

I have recorded a short video to show you the pups and although they are not doing a great deal at this stage I will be posting a short video each week so you can see how they are progressing.

See you all next week with  another update.

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