Archive for October, 2020

Alice Walkies Day 52

Saturday, October 31st, 2020

(or should I say “waddlies”). Here she is out for a waddle with grandma Nina.

Her progesterone is holding steady, yesterday it was 5.6 at Alliance and 5 at IDEXX. We retested today just in case and it was 5.8. Retest on Monday! Xray Tuesday! I can’t believe we’re down to just over a week to go!

The rule is under 5 with more than a week to go. I am thinking that my lines (or Vallhunds in general) may just run low. Remember that even though we supplemented Zhora, she never went below 3.6 so she would have held the litter.

She’s starting to carry more in her belly and less out to the sides, and I can feel them moving pretty regularly. She has been eating like a champ and is fairly comfortable although she has to shift around a bit before she finds a position that works.

If you’ve sent me an email and I haven’t replied, please be patient. Give me a nudge if I haven’t replied in a couple of weeks. Things are extremely hectic right now.

All Is Well On Day 49

Wednesday, October 28th, 2020

Alice’s progesterone is 6.6 ng/ml today and she weighs 29.8 pounds! It was 5.6 ng/mL on Monday and she weighed 29.3 pounds then. It’s normal for it to gradually taper off as we get closer to her due date, and going slightly up and down is normal, but the rule is under 5 with more than a week to go means supplement. But we’re good so far! That’s a relief. We will recheck Friday or Saturday. She has gained a lot of puppy weight (we only increased her food last Wednesday and then only by 30%, so that’s puppies and placentas, not Alice). I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more than 6 on board, x-ray next Tuesday for a puppy count!

Today I sent off some of her blood (serum actually) to the University of Wisconsin for nomograph testing. This will help determine the optimal time to vaccinate the puppies to hit the sweet spot between where their maternal antibodies are waning (their own immune systems won’t make antibodies while their maternal antibodies are still at a high level) but before they’re completely unprotected. This is my first time doing this and I’m excited to see the results!

This weekend I will make up and freeze some Myra’s Formula to have on hand just in case. That was one of the things I was most thankful I’d done last time when I ended up having to tube feed Popcorn/Cora for a few days. I will also pull out all my whelping supplies and make sure everything is still working properly.

TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY is her official due date. So a day either side is in the zone!

Day 46

Sunday, October 25th, 2020
Walkies with Grandma Nina

Alice doesn’t remember swallowing a beach ball and yet….here we are.

I can feel little fluttery movements I think, but they won’t really start running around in there for a few more days. She’s eating, sleeping, going for walks. All appears to be as it should be so far. We shall see what the blood tests this week show…

You Have To Laugh

Saturday, October 24th, 2020

So after yesterday’s reassuring call from Dr Gray, I relaxed.

And then this morning I checked Alice’s result from IDEXX, expecting it to be in the same ballpark as the one run at Dr Gray’s and….IDEXX says she’s at 6 ng/mL. Since supplementing is recommended at 5 if there’s more than a week to go (we have 2 1/2 weeks to go), it’s a conundrum.

So Monday we’ll do a fasted draw first thing in the morning and I’ll take half to the repro vet and send half to IDEXX.

And IDEXX is rerunning my sample from yesterday to see what’s up.

Alice? She’s fine. She loves that she gets lunch now, she’s snoozing a lot but also always up for a good romp or walkies even though she is now officially Large.


Friday, October 23rd, 2020

So after a sleepless night after Alice decided to nest a little bit and then be a bit restless (likely because she is getting pretty large and uncomfortable), I drew more blood this morning, I sent half to IDEXX and drove half to my repro vet.

Just off the phone with my repro vet and she’s back up to 10.4 ng/mL on their in-house machine. She talked me down: this is not a high risk pregnancy, Zhora would have held her last litter even though we did decide to supplement, she only needs to stay above 3 to hold the pregnancy and we only need to supplement if she is below 5 with more than a week to go, this is the problem once we know a bit and start testing, it’s normal for progesterone to fluctuate as we get towards the end etc. And Renee the tech there also spoke to me earlier and helped me calm down.

She has a puppy bulge on her left side!

My overall anxiety level is so much higher right now and I’m rarely able to be 100% rational about my own dogs at the best of times.

Svelte mama Zhora in front, podge Alice in back.

She’s gained a bit more weight than I might ideally like (she was 27 pounds last Friday, which is pounds over her fighting weight, and she was 28.6 today), but as long as she doesn’t get swollen feet/legs or a swollen vulva (which could be a sign of maternal hydrops), it’s fine. Doc recommend retest next Friday (unless she starts acting weird) but I will do Wednesday since that’s when we need to draw for her nomograph anyway.

Now all I need is a good night’s sleep, a peaceful rest of her pregnancy, an easy whelping, and the current administration to be voted out.

ALL the foods please!

Sometimes It Seems Like Stress Is My Job

Thursday, October 22nd, 2020

So I decided to spot check Alice’s progesterone last Friday (day 37), and it was 10.7 ng/mL. Super great. I decided to do weekly checks because we ended up supplementing Zhora’s progesterone because it got lower than ideal (as it turned out, she would have held her litter, but much better to be safe than sorry).

And since I know I’ll need to do a blood draw next Wednesday for her nomograph to help determine when the optimal time to vaccinate the puppies will be, I decided to do this week’s blood draw yesterday since then we’ll just do a bigger draw next Wednesday and save having to poke her twice.

My awesome repro vet said to let them know if it drops below 8 ng/mL.

So I woke up this morning and checked the lab results. 7.1 ng/mL.

I about had a heart attack. In general, it’s recommended that you supplement if it drops below 5 ng/mL with more than five days to go. 7.1 seems awfully close to 5. And we have just under three WEEKS to go.

My repro vet was awesome and said “7.1 is perfectly high enough to maintain a pregnancy”. And while I know intellectually that they say that you really only need to be over 3, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t stressed. However, I have an awesome and knowledgeable team on my side.

Alice, meanwhile, is perfectly content. She is loving the fact that she now gets 30% more food since we entered the last three weeks yesterday. I’ve been ordering supplies for whelping and puppies. And she is getting a bit unwieldy on the stairs so we will be moving into the guest room downstairs this weekend (I usually move downstairs two weeks out, so only a few days early). She has lots of energy but sleeps a lot. And she is getting LARGE. She looks like a furry grey eggplant from some angles now!

I’ve seen published data that discusses that many bitches may naturally run low, and that there are several anecdotal cases of bitches dropping to 3 ng/mL for the last couple of weeks and holding their pregnancy just fine. I never tested Nina so for all I know she ran low-ish too. I only tested Zhora last time because we suspected she may have resorbed her first pregnancy (even though we never 100% confirmed she was pregnant that time), and while she did drop low enough to hit the supplementation threshold at day 50, when she hit 5.4 ng/mL, and we started Regumate on day 51 when a repeat test was the same, she actually never went below 3.6 ng/mL until the expected drop to initiate labor. So maybe Vallhunds in general or my lines in particular run low. Maybe they’re just in cahoots with the lab so I have to run a bunch of tests.

Either way, we’re monitoring it. I will test her again tomorrow and take some of the blood to my repro vet for them to test in house by way of comparison with our lab (IDEXX).

Alice yesterday (day 42)
Alice (and Nina) last weekend (day 39)

The Embiggening Already!

Sunday, October 11th, 2020

Today was day 32, a day when many breeders say they can start to see the beginnings of a “bump”. Well wouldn’t you know it, Alice accompanied me into the bathroom (because I might get lost or something) and as she was lying there I realized that her waist is disappearing and she has a little belly pooch starting!

The Embiggening Begins!
Alice & Co gestating in her favorite dog bed

Schrödinger’s Puppies

Tuesday, October 6th, 2020

I’ve spent the last three weeks “is she or isn’t she”-ing. And SHE IS! Today was Alice’s ultrasound and she’s pregnant! My awesome repro vet Dr Claudia Gray thought she saw six and one resorption site (she says that is totally normal and not a concern).

I’d been leaning more towards “she is” over the last week or so after being pretty sure she wasn’t. Just in the last few days she’s been more sucky and cuddly, has seemed a bit nauseated or “urpy” (although she’s eating like a Labrador), her nipples were pinker and larger, and she’s been a bit snarky (for her, which is not very snarky) at the other dogs.

Hurdle one was getting the breeding done (go me! My first AI worked!).

Hurdle two was finding out if she was pregnant!

Now we just have to hope for an uneventful and healthy pregnancy and then an uneventful and easy whelping!

X-ray is booked for November 3 and the official due date is November 11 plus or minus a day.

Now we wait!