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C-section for Dogs – Alangus Mini Aussies: A Dog Blog
Dec 192013
 

full moonI’m an old country girl, so the axiom “the watched pot never boils” is stuck in my head this morning when looking down at my new litter of six toy and miniature Australian Shepherd puppies (aka Miniature American Shepherds) born December 19, 2013.

I bred my black tri, Fancy, to my blue merle male, Swagger, back in October and the excitement has been building for the puppies to be born.  Even though I breed my girls once a year, having a litter of puppies has not become old hat for me.  I get nervous because I love my dogs and would never intend to jeopardize the health of my female for a litter of puppies.  When I’m nervous, I chatter, so I chatted online with friends the last three days as the time I had calculated for the whelping came.  Luckily, I have three really good friends that share my excitement and in some cases, remind me to breathe and relax a bit!!!

Fancy has a very predictable cycle and has had three litters of puppies in mid December from 2011-2013 within three days on the calendar of each other.  After taking her temperature early yesterday morning and it being 98.2, I knew birthing was eminent within 24 hours. However, when she started the normal shaking and quaking about 10 am and then no signs of puppies, I started to stress “a little” and gave my goto whelping vet a call.  She wasn’t concerned and said call her back if no puppies in 24 hours.  Okay.  Well, about 4 pm, Fancy’s water broke, or in dog terms, one water broke which usually indicates a puppy is in the birth canal and you should be seeing a nose or back end within 10 minutes.  Nothing.  She laid down and decided to take a nap while I paced and texted my friends.

So, what did I do, at 4:30 pm I called my vet again and she assured me that things were fine.  Just take a nap and relax.  My husband was making peanut butter balls for some of his friends for Christmas, so I ate a couple, thinking sugar was the perfect medicine.  Six pm passed and 7 was on the clock and no puppy.  Hmmm, the 10 minutes was long gone and I begin to wonder if a little ground hog baby that might have been in that sac of water was laying crossways in the birth canal holding up the train.  Yes, I called the vet again, after hours, and pleaded with her to meet me at the office just to be sure things were okay.  Dr. Ross at PeWee Valley Vet is awesome and I could see her smile on the other end of the line and she told me to meet her there in 15 minutes.

I packed up Fancy into a crate just in case, loaded my warming box for puppies, just in case, and took off.  After an ultrasound on that cool equipment that Dr. Ross has, she told me not to worry, relax, the water I saw was a bag without a puppy that bitches often have.  She said nature has a way of opening the birth canal for the real puppies with that bogus bag of water sometimes.  She also told me to expect puppies within the hour.

8 pm, 9 pm, 10 pm…..no puppies.  Fancy was panting and doing the weird stuff that girls do when they are trying to birth a baby, but no babies.   By then, I was like….come on Fancy, push those pups outta there.  Oh, and I gave her ice cream which I always do when she is whelping because it gives her some sugar for energy, some calcium to help her contractions and helps cool her down from all the panting.

Just before midnight, I woke Paul up from his slumber (haha) and told him to get downstairs because I was seeing a puppy bubble.  Wooohoooo!!!  A bubble with a puppy inside!!!!   And, headed out into the real world!!!

From that point on, Fancy delivered quite naturally and without any kind of issues, five little mini or toy Aussie puppies.  Three of them (all boys) were merles and one black tri girl and one black tri boy.  I remembered the 2012 surprise puppy, so I started to straighten up the gear but I didn’t totally put things away.  I gave my good girl a smooch to tell her thanks for her hard work and walked over to my couch which has its back to the whelping pen to send a couple of emails to tell my friends that all was well.

Five minutes at the max, I walked back over to the bed and saw blood on the pad.  Ah oh, I thought Fancy had done a number on somebody’s belly button since she is a licker and can get pretty wild with her cleaning duties.  I picked up a little black tri and saw it’s button was a little red so I pressed a Quik Stop pad on it.  It was kind of wet and I thought, oh Fancy, you lick too much so I rubbed the puppy a bit with a cloth and stuck her on a nipple to get some milk.  Remember, it is 3 am.

Then, I looked down and what??????  I’m counting six puppies and before there were only five!!!  Fancy, you tricked me again and gave us a surprise puppy.  How did you get that little girl birthed and cleaned up in the time it took me to type a short paragraph email?

So…the night ended about 3 am on December 19 with six gorgeous little puppy dogs.  Swagger is a daddy!!!  Izzy is a grandmother!!!  And, I’m happy to have another sweet litter on the ground on this Full Moon in December 2013.

Apr 092012
 

This is the first time I’ve had a bitch have puppies by C-section so I thought I’d share my experience, actually a quite good one.

Izzy was scheduled for a C-section on Thursday morning, April 5 but when I took her to the vet, progesterone levels were still in the normal range so the decision was made to wait to see if her temperature would start to come down.  It was still around 100 degrees, slightly lower than normal, but not low enough to indicate that pre-labor had begun.  I continued to watch her during the day and take temps, but everything remained stable.

Since nesting is a huge indicator of puppies making their move for sunshine, I kept Izzy in her crate in our bedroom and filled it with some cloths for her to move around.  In my twilight sleep, I could hear her digging like crazy off and on all night, a good sign that something was starting.  When I called the vet on Friday morning, temps were still around 100 but I told her about the nesting overnight so in she went again for another progesterone check.  Still normal, so back home she went.  I was crazy busy with holiday/spring break pet visits with my pet sitting business during the rest of the day, so I didn’t take her temperature again until around 7 pm.  It had dropped like a rock, down to just above 98 degrees.  That would mean, puppies within 12 or so hours.  Well, of course, that would happen so I get to pay the surcharge for after hours surgery and everyone has to be called back in from their couch in front of the TV.  However, better at 8 pm than 3 am!

Two vets and a vet tech met me at the clinic just as planned around 8:15 pm.  They said they didn’t need my assistance with the puppies, so I made a couple of pet visit runs and was back in about an hour and a half.  All done.  When I went into the surgery area, Izzy was still a tad groggy, but it didn’t take but a few minutes for her to come around and look almost normal.  The anesthesia they used works very quickly, but also leaves the system just as fast. She was given an oxytocin shot and Metacam for pain.

Four of the prettiest little mini Aussies you’ve ever seen were warming and squeaking in the incubator.  Two females and two males, one black tri of each and one blue merle of each.  I use the phrase “puppies in the oven” all the time, but this time…it was quite true. Izzy continued to come to her senses and the tech and I put the puppies with her to let them nurse.  They all latched on and had a drink before we boxed them up to go home.

I talked at length with the tech on duty.  She is actually an AKC judge and known in our area because she breeds standard Aussies.  Since she is a retired labor and delivery nurse for skin babies, she came to the vet world with a more advanced set of skills.  Natural whelping gives a dam time to naturally manufacture the necessary hormones to give her the mothering instinct so sometimes a C-section is confusing to them.  They go to sleep, no babies.  They wake up…a handful of little wiggly creatures.

Since newborn puppies have no thermostats and cannot regulate their own temperature, it is imperative for their caretakers to keep them artificially warm.  The puppies were handed over for travel in a 10″x10″ box taped shut with the neck of a tall bottle of very warm water sticking out the top to keep them nice and toasty.  Izzy rode home in her crate lined with towels.  She did have some blood residue, but nothing like I expected.  They had cleaned her up very well, and she wasn’t leaking hardly at all.  Much less than after natural whelping.

I had very few after surgery instructions for Izzy other than to make sure she eats and drinks and takes a round of antibiotics.  No stairs or romping for a week or so.  All her stitches are internal, so nothing to remove.  Not even a follow up vet visit necessary unless she is symptomatic of being ill.

Sometimes the mama dog is so confused after a section, they can hurt their own babies so the tech gave me a small bag of placenta left from the delivery to rub on the puppies behinds if Izzy started to be “weird” about them.  That smell would help her realize they belonged to her and it wasn’t a bad dream after all.  We got home, and I put Izzy in her whelping area where she has been sleeping for the last couple of weeks to get her ready and put the puppies one by one in with her.  The tech told me to let her sniff their bottoms first before laying them down and then help them find a nipple to nurse.  No problem!  Izzy is such a good mama, her eyes immediately got that warm soft look and she licked them from head to toe as though checking out their every cell.  In fact, she licked so much, I got a little concerned that she would get their umbilicals bleeding.  Placenta wasn’t necessary so it went in the garbage..yuck!

It was midnight by then, and there’s just something about the whole process that is awe-inspiring and there was no way I was going to go to sleep.  I just sat by her box and told her what a good girl she was.  Now that said, letting your bitch have puppies isn’t for the faint of heart and takes a lot of work and is quite expensive if you do it the right way.   I’m not advocating that everyone go out and breed their dogs because it’s more than puppies, and we want to be sure we are good stewards of our breed of choice.

I continued to sleep a bit and watch for problems, but the night went well.  By the next morning, Izzy was out of her box for potty and to the casual observer, nothing seemed to have happened.  The puppies nursed non-stop for two days and by Sunday were plumped up like the little sponge seahorses  you soak in water.  Izzy continues to do well, is eating well and I’m encouraging her to drink lots, necessary for milk production.

Pictures and videos will be coming soon.  I cannot find my good camera and in the confusion of the evening, I think I left it in the surgery area.  Sure do hope so 🙁

 Posted by at 12:33 am