Yes. Usually when the temperature drops down below 100 the whelping is within 24 hours, so I would be on the lookout from here on in.
I don't know whether or not you have whelped any other litters, but assuming you haven't here is a list of things you should have at the ready:
LOTS AND LOTS of clean towels
baby scale with a shoebox affixed to it
lots and lots of newspaper
a book or magazines
notebook and pen or pencil
You will see her start to have contractions. These contractions can go on for a few hours before you actually see a puppy born. When the puppy comes out, take him and the placenta. Clamp off the umbilical cord with the hemostats and then cut through it with the dull scissors. You want to be sure to cut BELOW where you clamped it off because otherwise you defeat the purpose for clamping it in the first place, which is to prevent excess bleeding. The scissors being dull will serve to close off the end of the umbilical cord as you cut. Sharp scissors leave too clean of an edge and the cord won't stop bleeding as easily. Dull scissors more or less mimic the action of the mother chewing the cord.
Put the puppy in a clean towel and RUB. RUB RUB RUB! You aren't going to hurt the puppy and after a couple of seconds of rubbing you'll hear the puppy squeal. This is good! You want the puppy to squeal to get lots of air into its lungs. This also helps to close the patent ductus in the heart. The squealing is important. Hold the puppy's side up to your ear and give a listen. If you hear anything gurgling or squishing you may need to swing him to get the liquid out of his lungs. To swing him, grasp him firmly in both hands, stabilizing his head between your thumbs and forefingers so that his head can't move. Hold him, nose out, raise your arms up over your head and swing them down in a wide arc. When you reach the bottom of the arc, stop abruptly. If there is any water in the puppy's lungs you will actually see the little droplets of water fly out of his nose when you stop the swing. You can also Google "swinging a puppy" to see diagrams on how to correctly hold them to do this.
After everything is done, the umbilical cord is cut, the puppy is toweled and any swinging has taken place, put the puppy with his mother so that he can nurse. Nursing not only feeds the puppy the necessary colostrum but also stimulates contractions to help the mother push out the other puppies. There can be anywhere from 10 minutes up to almost an hour in between puppies, so don't panic if another puppy isn't right on the heels of the first one. When the contractions start again, remove the nursing puppies from the mother and put them in a separate box that has a heating pad on the bottom on a low setting. Cover the heating pad with a towel so that the puppies are not directly on the pad. Have part of the bottom of the box without the heating pad so that if it gets too warm for any of the babies they can move away from the heat onto a cooler part of the box.
The dog's uterus is made up of two "horns". Each horn contains puppies. The first part of the whelping empties out the first horn. The mom then rests for a while, sometimes up to about 2 hours, and then the process begins again so that she can empty out the second horn. Make sure that each puppy has a placenta to go with it. Sometimes they come out of the placenta inside the mother, so if you end up with six puppies, make sure you can account for six placentae, otherwise there may be one left inside her. It would be a good idea to take her to the vet within a couple of hours of the final puppy because the vet can give her a shot of oxytocin to bring on some strong contractions to clean out the uterus, especially if there is a retained placenta.
As far as the mom eating the placentae, you can let her eat one just because that's what nature tells them they should do, but in general she'll probably recover more quickly from the whelping if you simply throw them in the trash after you cut them from the puppies. Oftentimes there is such a glut of nutrients in the placentae that, even though it sounds like it would be real good for her to eat them, dietetically it throws them into a tailspin and they may develop diarrhea for a few days, which is really difficult for the pet owners to keep up with since they can't always get them outside quickly enough with the puppies nursing from them.
Weigh each baby and write down the time of birth, what the puppy weighed and whether it was a male or female. As the days go on, you should weigh each puppy twice a day to make sure they are steadily gaining weight. An ounce a day or more is a good gain. If there are any exceptionally tiny puppies you need to ask your vet to show you how to tube feed them to supplement them. It's VERY easy to do and it's much more accurate than bottle feeding them in terms of the puppies getting the extra nutrients they need. When you bottle feed them you depend on their ability to nurse and if they are too weak to nurse adequately on the mother chances are they will be too weak to nurse much better on the bottle. If you tube feed them, you can give each puppy exactly what he needs and he gets ALL of it because you're putting it directly into his stomach.
The book and magazines are to keep you from going crackers as you wait for the puppies! :D PLEASE post pictures after the babies arrive! I would LOVE to see them!
Well as of yesterday afternoon, she started labor and had clear mucus coming out and her temp. was 98. something. She just been panting and trying to get some sleep hopefully she will have the pups soon. Really dont want to have to take her in for an em c-section. Thank you for your help and giving me great information Ghilly.
I honestly never considered adding this to the health pages, but perhaps I'll tune it up a bit and do just that. Since I wrote it I thought of a couple of other little things I could have added so maybe I'll do that and submit it to the Health Pages. Thanks for the suggestion! :)
I am HOPING that Meg will post back and let us know how everything went! New puppies are SO exciting and just so darn cute, I can't wait to see pics!
You should take your dog to the vet now to have her examined. Two and a half weeks isn't even far enough along to be able to palpate the abdomen and feel fetuses, they are only a little bigger than a garden pea at this point. A dog that spontaneously aborts a litter before about the 45th day of pregnancy usually just resorbs the fetuses into her body, there is no delivering of dead puppies or a need to induce labor to have her pass the litter. What worries me is the blood. When blood is seen at the time a litter is lost it usually signifies that the mother is infected with Brucella canis which causes brucellosis, a canine sexually transmitted disease. A couple of other things that can cause spontaneous abortion in canines is canine herpesvirus ori an infection of e. coli. You can determine which organism is present and responsible for the loss of the litter by culturing the discharge.
Call your vet now and get her in there tomorrow morning (or even tonight if he can do it) to have her checked out. At this stage of the gestation about the only way to tell if she was even really pregnant would be to do an ultrasound. If you were to look at an ultrasound of a pregnant dog at 18 days gestation you would see what looks like a gas bubble for each placenta. In that bubble would be a pea-sized form which is the puppy fetus. If all you see are empty gas bubbles then it means there are no puppies in there. Your vet needs to check her ASAP however, because if a disease organism caused her to spontaneously abort the puppies, it could also lead to an infection of pyometra which is a life threatening infection of the uterus.
I think that would be a great idea, since she went to the trouble of doing so much typing ;-) to add that to the health info.
The *only* thing I would possibly hesitate adding is the slinging of the puppy. If someone doesn't do that correctly, you can break the neck or cause a hemorrage.
Well finally have time to sit down and write back. She had a hard time so I took her to the vet and took another xrays to see where things were at and to my surprise we had 8 pups total!! The previous xrays only showed 7 so I was shocked to see 8 babies in there. As soon we got home from the vet she started giving birth, as nature takes cause of its own we ended up losing two pups at the begining it was real sad to watch Daisy do everything she could and I tried everything I could but there was no saving them. But after the first two she had an easy time giving birth to the rest of them so I now have 3 beautiful girls and 3 handsome boys, one of the boys look like a dairy cow its too dang cute!! They are 3 days old now so they are chunky off mama milk and have a set of lungs on all of them!! Thank you for the advice Ghilly, it was a huge help!
Oh they are so beautiful! This is wonderful news.
Very often in a large litter, one or two don't make it. It is the way of Nature. There was nothing you could have done about this so don't blame yourself in any way.
They are gorgeous!
Looks like a pretty litter. I miss not having puppies sometimes. :-)
Unfortunately, some are lost but sometimes that may be for the best. I had a Sheltie that whelped a litter of 8 once, which is not that common for a Sheltie litter. We had whelped 7 and she was settled in, pups were nursing and I had finished cleaning up and was off to get some sleep when I heard a *Ummmph", turned around to see the ***** having another cointraction!! Yep, here came one more.
Do you have your dog in a wire crate with the pups? I would like to make one suggestion, if that is where you are going to keep them. You should put something around the bottom as they can get legs stuck and broken in that gap. What works good are the bumper pads they use in baby cribs. You can wrap and tie those around the bottom. Not sure where you are located but a good idea to drape at least a sheet or light blanket at least over the top and three sides.
Would love to see updated pics now and then.
Have fun. :-)
I have taped off the wires on the bottom and the edges cause that was one of my fears but thats a great idea to get the bumper pads, I didnt think about that. I have a light blanket over the crate right now.
One other thing makes me nervous about this setup with the wire pen. There is nowhere for the puppies to go if they get trapped between their mother and the wire. In an actual whelping box there is something called a pig rail. The pig rail runs all the way around the box on all four sides and it's a little wooden ledge that's about six inches off the ground. It sticks out about 3 or 4 inches from the side of the box. This way, if a puppy is trapped between its mom and the side of the box it can get UNDER the pig rail and have a little place to escape being pinned against the side of the pen.
The parts of the wire that aren't next to a wall might not be as dangerous because at least if she pushes against them they'll have a bit of give to them, but the sides that are next to the wall would be just as bad as a puppy getting stuck in a regular whelping box with solid sides.
Pig rails come in handy for about the first 4 weeks of life, so there's actually a way you can build one to put in your pen to protect these puppies until they are large enough not to be laid on. If you're handy or know someone who is, measure the inside dimensions of the pen. Then purchase some wood, 1 X 3s ought to work, and build a square to fit inside the pen. If you build what amounts to four long, skinny benches and attach them to each other with brackets at the corners of the pen that should do the trick. This way, if they are attached to each other with brackets they won't fall over or come away from the sides of the pen and the puppies will have a pig rail to roll under to safety should their mom lay down and not realize they are there.
Most dogs are excellent moms but there is always the chance of something happening no matter how careful we are. I am and always have been a firm believer that you should take every precaution to make as sure as humanly possible that nothing goes wrong. I guess I'm just a natural worrier. lol
Thank you for the advice, I been trying to figure out how to make the wire crate more safe for the pups. Im a natural worrier too, I even refuse to leave my house since she is a first time mom. But she doing real well, they have gotten bigger over the last few days and the pups coats are already starting to turn blue.
Yes he's gorgeous. I thought he was drinking milk in the pic, but he's just sleeping (that's why I left that "guzzling" comment!)
Heelers are lovely dogs. I have a friend who used to have one. She was a very intelligent dog, and a good girl.
I love heelers. I grew up with them and got very spoiled by them. They are so loyal and so smart it amazes me. Daisy is actually my hearing dog, and Im keeping one of her pups so I will also train him/her to be a service dog as well. It just amazed me how far along the pups are now they only 5 days old trying to move out of the cage lol. Ill keep adding more pics as they start getting older and getting more blue.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.