Heeler pregnant.
by meggie405, Dec 12, 2011
My blue heeler is almost three and she is pregnant. She going on 60 days and I been taking her tepemter for the last 2 days today it was 99.7 so does that mean she will give birth soon?
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Member Comments (19)
by GhillyBlank, Dec 12, 2011
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
heating pad
heat lamp
dull scissors
suction bulb
baby scale with a shoebox affixed to it
lots and lots of newspaper
trash bag
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!

by meggie405, Dec 14, 2011
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.

by marksme, Dec 14, 2011
Ghilly is just amazing! That is the best information for burthing pups I have ever read. Hope everything went well for your dog and her puppies.
by Margot49, Dec 14, 2011
Wow, Ghilly gave you just about everything you need to know and I hope you read it and follow the advice.
by ginger899Blank, Dec 14, 2011
Ghilly, have you thought of adding this as a "Health Page"? (scroll right down and on the right there's a link)
It would be wonderful info. for people to refer to as an article.
by GhillyBlank, Dec 15, 2011
Thanks, everyone for the nice words!  :)

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!

by lizzie20, Dec 16, 2011
hi my dog is 2 and a hlaf weeks pregnant and has lost a blood clott does this mean she is loosing the litter.
by GhillyBlank, Dec 16, 2011
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.  

Please let us know how she is.

by Margot49, Dec 17, 2011
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.