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Adventures on the Ranch
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When it doesn't go ok!
when a female whelps, 90 % of the time everything goes perfectly smooth
with mom and babies all doing excellent. But, it is the 10% of the time
things don't go as planned - that I am there..... spending all night up
most of the time watching and helping the mom. Every female whelps in my
room - I am there when every pup is born.
one case the female started whelping and had 4 pups that were very healthy!
She started late afternoon, she was having the pups very slowly but this
was her pattern so we weren't too concerned. But after she got the 4th
pup out she was having trouble getting the 5th one out, it was only a few
hours but she seemed to be getting weak and tired. So I called our vet
up and we of course decided to take her in for him to check her out. It
was almost 20 below 0 F - 4:00 AM on a Sunday morning, oh - and it was
snowing. Snow or not, cold or not - mom was going in! So, we loaded her
and the 4 pups into the vehicle and headed down 2 miles of private - windy
- snow packed and icy mountain road. We have two gates and when I stopped
to get the bottom gate I looked back and checked on "mom". She
was just lying there - honestly she looked bad. She has deteriorated drastically
in the past 30 minutes - but there was no point in stopping - the faster
she got to the vet the better chance she had. Now, there was 8 miles of
backcountry dirt road - that hadn't been plowed from the recent snow much
less sanded. Not a problem though because we have a very good vehicle -
however once I got to the interstate I didn't need any more coffee - despite
being up all night. As I pulled on to the interstate I couldn't see the
edge of the road - I couldn't see any lines --- there was so much snow
and with the darkness I couldn't even see the dip in the road that separated
the two sides of the interstate! SHOOT!
-----Once I got
accustomed to using the little road markers along the side I didn't have
to much trouble - except when 5 semi trucks passed me on the other interstate
(they were going the opposite direction) and blew so much snow up I couldn't
see for awhile - even the semi's were driving slowly! You can tell it's
bad road when they drive slow.
I got to the exit and only a few more miles to go - and got to the vets.
Keep in mind it's still about 20 below.
"mom" and the babies into the office. Our vet examined her and
of course agreed she looked very bad, but there was no choice but to do
a c-section. She obviously had a lot of pups still in there and they weren't
coming out any other way. He warned me that it looked bad - and she may
not make it through the surgery.
-----But we have
one of the best vets - anywhere, so I knew if she had any chance at all
he would save her. While things were getting set up for her I gave her
a pep talk - and told her she WOULD BE OK! I am sure she was reassured
by me talking to her and it at least made me feel a bit better.
as the operation started our vet said she had a ruptured uterus and that
I really wasn't making his day here! That he didn't want to do this for
a dead mom and pups. Hum.....me neither! No one there thought he was probably
making my day either. (all in good spirit here of course!)
come babies - first two out and they were alive!! Yes ALIVE!!! One pup
given to me (my vet knows me very well and always lets me help out) and
one to an assistant - we rubbed them and worked with them a bit. They were
groggy but not to bad actually - I mean they were alive!! OK - here come
MORE! Somewhere here I lost count of them and just kept taking them and
rubbing them as did everyone else there. A few were pretty slow to start
but we managed to bring all of them around. While working with the pups
I kept popping my head around the door to make sure "mom" was
breathing well and she seemed to be pretty good. Finally the vet asked
how many pups did we have - it didn't occur to me to count till then so
I added them all up - 11 !! The puppy that got stuck was dead - but the
rest were looking excellent.
vet was left with the long task of putting mom back together and hoping
she would wake up. Towards the end he said she did well during the surgery
and he thought she would wake up ok. But was still very sick, very weak,
very pale and there was no telling if she would recover.
-----I kept eye
on the pups and we waited for her to wake up. It didn't take long and there
was a little blink ! I went away for a little while to start the vehicle
so it WOULD start when I had to leave - since it was so cold. When I came
back and looked in on "mom" she looked at me - she didn't lift
her head but just moved her eyes and looked at me! YES!!!
said I needed to take the puppies' home and feed them, and he would call
me later to let me know if I could come back and take mom home. That she
needed to stay here on an IV and she needed to be close in case of any
trouble. NO PROBLEM!
-----So I headed
back home with 10 hungry babies. Once home I mixed up some milk in a bottle
and tried to feed them. It didn't go to well, they didn't want to suck
from the bottle at all. Well, one way or the other these babies were going
to eat! So I put the milk in a syringe and dropped a drop at a time on
their tongues. Drop by drop - each puppy received ½ tsp., enough
to get them started. I fed them again 2 hours later the same way. AH -
mom better get better soon !
----- 2 hours
later I fed them again - this time they wouldn't suck on the bottle but
would suck on my finger so I dripped the milk down my finger as they sucked
it off. Hey, it actually worked pretty well!
later I fed them the same way and a couple were trying the bottle out.
Then I received a call from the vet - he said she could go home, that she
was still pale and weak but it would be ok to take her home. He said that
if we didn't get her home with the babies she might not accept them tomorrow.
I guess that happens sometimes after a c-section where the mom won't take
the babies. Hum! You learn something new all the time.
-----So it was
the middle of the afternoon and we took off to go get her - it was almost
a heat wave! Yes, it had warmed up to 5 below - but at least it wasn't
I didn't think "mom" looked toooo bad - she was happy to see
me and happy to get in the vehicle (NO she couldn't jump in - I picked
her up). The vet said she needs LOTS OF TLC and to keep an eye on her gums
to be sure her color was coming back or at least not getting paler. She
mostly slept on the way home and once home she was VERY happy to see her
babies and immediately started cleaning them. That was very good - if they
have interest in the pups and want to care for them they aren't doing to
her gums had a slight pink color to them and she was eating and drinking
some. The pups were nursing and all seemed well - as good as it could be
the first night.
----I woke up
every few hours - just kept waking up to check on her. She seemed good.
But in the middle of the night the babies were crying up a storm. I finally
figured out they were hungry and fed them. A few were drinking from the
bottle - most weren't yet. But at least they were getting food in their
everyone looked good but the babies still needed to be fed every 3 hours.
The vet said it wasn't abnormal for the mom not to have much (or any) milk
after getting so sick. She did have a little milk though - and he said
as long as she keeps eating - her milk will increase to some extent.
I figured even if I have to feed or supplement them the whole time at least
mom is alive and doing well and
.. cleaning up after them!!! And
giving the babies moral support.
----So day and
night - every 3 hours I feed them. Pretty soon they were all eating from
the bottle. And filling up and looking good. Mom was eating well, and looking
happy with her "brood".
-- When the pups
were 7 days old mom had enough milk to take them through the night - which
was a much needed break for me. I fed them through the day - every 4 hours
or so. Spreading the time out to about 5 hours after 2 weeks because mom
was getting quite a bit of milk and most of them didn't seem to need to
much supplement. Except a few of the smaller ones that were getting pushed
off too much by the big ones. The smallest female weighed ½ pound
and the biggest male weighed 11/4 pounds!! But most of them were in the
middle somewhere. The little one got lots of attention - and extra TLC
by me. Her baby nick name at first was suction cup because she would "attach"
herself to anything that resembled food - then butter cup (this was not
a name that could stick - I mean imagine a full grown German Shepherd named
. Butter Cup)! She was the first to be born, the first to nurse from
the bottle - and awfully cute !
as the beginning was, the end was very happy! Mom and all the babies thrived
- thanks to timing, getting her to the vet, an incredible vet (the best),
and just tons of good old TLC.
Everyone at Omega Shepherds
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