... because IT HAS BEEN a few days I would rather not repeat in many ways!
I'll start with the fun stuff!
*** I am confident all 4 puppies can hear!
*** All eyes are wide open and they are all BROWN!
*** Everybody is up and motoring about pretty well even though they are slightly like drunken sailors!
*** ENS is finished.
*** Puppies have been out of the box on the floor of my office/dog room and also got to visit the living room upstairs today.
*** Now that they can see and hear in addition to smell, they are beginning to play with each other.
*** Three puppies weigh over 3 lbs and Albert is less than 3 oz away from that!
*** I introduced the artificial grass mat to the whelping box to begin training them where to do their business, but that effort has taken a step back due to other issues that you can read about later.
We've had three sets of visitors since I last posted. Dave and Margot from next door stopped by Thursday morning. (I have got to remember to take a photo the next time Dave and Margot visit!) Myrna and Nancy from Rolla came to visit on Thursday afternoon. Meg and Mike (Liam's owners) came by on their "way home" from Lawrence, KS today. All our visitors were great puppy socializers. Every puppy got equal time with all!
So I put Rhani on the other side of the pen in the same room and began only letting her in with the puppies to feed them. I looked up how often puppies this age should eat, and it said every 6-8 hours. So I was going down to let her feed them every 4-5 hours. Rhani was not happy about this. She really wants to be with her puppies. During the day, I noticed that she was very content while the puppies were nursing, but when they finished and started wandering around the whelping box, she tensed up. At one point Yadi wandered up to her face and she curled her lip at him. It was suggested to me that perhaps she had a calcium imbalance. So I got some Tums (rich in calcium) and gave them to her. After the first one, she refused them. She also was turning her nose up at the cottage cheese I've put on her breakfast for the past 6 weeks. A calcium deficiency is not uncommon close to birth and can cause the moms to reject the babies or be mean to them. I didn't really think this was the problem though because these puppies were well over 2 weeks old.
She began some other very odd behavior: She would refuse to eat until she fed the puppies. Then if I waited more than 4 hours to go down to let her feed them, she would throw up everything she had eaten. I started feeding her brown rice and chicken broth thinking that would be easy on her stomach. That did not change the behavior. She was hungry, but she WOULD NOT eat until the puppies did. And she continued to throw up everything she ate if I waited too long to go down. By Friday, I was getting very concerned. On top of this, I noticed that no puppies had pooped since Thursday afternoon. So I called the vet who wasn't able to get back to me till late on Friday. Rhani had now not kept any food down for about 48 hours and was drinking less water than she had been before this started. Also, the puppies had not had a BM for more than 24 hours. Dr. Owen gave me some ideas to try to help the puppies go - none of which worked - and told me to come in to the office this AM at 8:30 if things were not better by then. I sat with her and the puppies for about 4-5 hours on Friday evening. She was very content in the box with them and they nursed literally non-stop for the entire time. (Not everyone at once but someone was on her the whole time I was down there.)
I noticed on Friday AM that everyone had slowed in weight gain since I stopped letting her be in with them all the time. On Saturday AM, two puppies had lost weight, only one had had a BM, and Rhani had thrown up the food she ate the night before. So we went to the vet!
The puppies all got an enema to get them going. Rhani had an ultrasound to make sure there was no fluid in the uterus and a complete blood panel to rule out low calcium. Calcium was normal as was almost everything else. However, her creatinine and BUN (both kidney function values) were through the roof. BUN was 112.4 vs a normal high end value of 29 and Creatinine was 4.7 vs a normal high end value of 1.4. On top of that, her total protein levels were low. There could be many things at work here, so next we did a urinalysis that showed both red and white cells and bacteria in her urine suggesting a UTI. We discussed options to deal with the dangerous kidney function readings. I could take her to the emergency specialty service and hospitalize her for the weekend where she would be on IV fluids to flush the kidneys or we could try subcutaneous fluids and recheck her values Monday AM. I am pretty sure/hopeful that she is just severely dehydrated from vomiting all her food for two days and that the protein is low for the same reason plus she's still trying to make milk to feed the puppies (which clearly she was not or they would have continued to gain weight). She is on an anti-nausea med and clavamox (pending results of the urine culture which will dictate which antibiotic she should have). However, none of this explains why she snapped at Goldy or why she is vomiting. My theory on the vomiting is that she is doing what animals in the wild do - regurgitate food to feed it to their young. The timing of it is what makes me think that. But what do I know? Not much! That still doesn't explain her snarky behavior.
Now for my second "educational" blurb/rant: This is not for anyone who has bred responsibly because you know. My vet bill this morning as $930.23. That brings the total I have spent SO FAR on this litter of 4 puppies to $6,043.73. There will be another bill on Monday for the additional blood work to check her kidney function levels, and who knows how many other unexpected expenses will pop up. Expected expenses yet to come include BAER tests at Univ of MO at $107 per puppy, Veterinary wellness checks including the first set of shots and DNA Blood Draw, Microchipping, and AKC registrations. I will spend AT LEAST $7500 on this litter before they leave my home. I get so tired of people who think responsible breeders make a bunch of money from breeding. I will be upside down on this one. In fact, I recently added up my expenses from previous breedings vs. the income from puppies sold and was upside down overall. Breeding is not for the faint of heart and not for profit. We do it because we love our breed and want to improve it or at least preserve it! And, as an add-on... it sickens me that people pay upwards of $3,000 for mixed breed oodlewhatever puppies bred by jerks who don't know anything about breeding or do any kind of health testing. If you are offended by that last statement, I hope you at least think about it!
Ok - enough! I feel better! So does Rhani!
I will close with just some cute pictures taken since the last blog entry.
Until next time....
I like to keep a diary of the puppies as much for myself as for prospective puppy buyers and interested friends. Sadly my blogs for Lucy's and Baili's litters are no longer available due to legacy systems, but I recently reviewed the Imagine Litter blog. It was a good refresher on all kinds of things and brought back lots of good memories. Looking forward to Cardinal memories too!