16 Days Old Already!

Thank you for all the kind comments you’ve been making here, they matter! If you’ve been expecting a reply to an email you’ve sent, please send me a quick reminder, since I’m a bit distracted and haven’t been keeping up as well as I could.

I will try to add some pictures here later, so check back for edits if you like.

As you can see from this video, now that they have eyes, they are quite interested in their first (but definitely not last) games of bitey face. Zhora is also paying noticeably more attention to their faces now, licking and nudging them, instead of just dutifully pottying them. They actually sit up and look around, and look at Zhora and us in a Mr Magoo sort of nearsighted way.

In addition to yesterday’s early morning drama with barfy Popcorn (she’s fine now to all appearances), in the afternoon I noticed that Zhora wasn’t letting the puppies nurse on her right inguinal teat (the inguinal ones are the ones furthest back), and was licking at it. I checked it and it was quite hard, red, hot and sore.

Great. Mastitis starting? Just what we needed.

So I put ANOTHER call into the vet, just to give them a heads up, since we were heading into the weekend and mastitis can get really bad, really fast, and in rare occasions can even be fatal. I didn’t think she HAD mastitis, but that teat wasn’t looking happy and I was worried it could be a risk.

I quickly reviewed the awesome information in my awesome Facebook repro group about it (since I’ve never had to deal with it before, luckily), sent Jim to the store, and went to work trying to head things off.

Here’s what I did:

  • Zhora has already been getting 1 large capsule of sunflower lecithin twice daily, this can help prevent mastitis. She’s been getting this all along, but I think it’s very likely been helpful in making sure this DIDN’T progress to mastitis
  • I soaked hand towels in hot water (not too hot to touch, don’t want burns too, but as warm as is tolerable), wrung them out, and laid them on the affected teat. I did this for 10-15 minutes at a time, changing and resoaking the towels as they cooled.
  • I massaged the affected teat (I’m telling you, this dog breeding thing is all glamour) during the warm compresses.
  • I expressed some milk to make sure it wasn’t bloody or purulent (it wasn’t, it was just milk)
  • I put puppies one by one on it on their own so they could really work at it and drain it after the warm compresses, and massaged it while they nursed. I did all this with Zhora up on the bed on a waterproof pad.
  • Cabbage leaves – washed and then placed in the freezer for 10-15 minutes until they were very cold, then crushed with a rolling pin, then applied to the affected teat and held in place with an ace bandage (what we call a tensor bandage in Canada). Left that on for 15-20 minutes. Zhora herself and the other dogs kept trying to pull the cabbage out and eat it…
  • I alternated the hot compresses/massage/nursing puppies/cabbage leaves/rest throughout the evening last night and this morning that teat is back to normal and just like the others! Hooray for being proactive!
  • I think she likely had a clogged milk duct that started this, and this helped unclog it. I will keep a close eye on things as I have been all along, but she seems fine this morning!

I also got some canned tripe and added that to Zhora’s meals, I don’t know why I didn’t remember that before, tripe can be great for helping with digestion, and I usually also feed it to puppies when they first start eating. It’s disgusting, which is why dogs love it, but it is really good for them. I’m also going to go back to the dogs’ usual one raw meal a day routine starting today (they usually get one kibble and one raw meal per day, I stopped the raw while Zhora was pregnant, since it can be difficult to keep the calcium low enough and properly balanced with the phosphorus, and that is vitally important in the later stages of pregnancy, since too much calcium can predispose the dog to eclampsia and uterine inertia). I am sure they will be excited to have raw again (they eat Doggone Raw, which is a local company and sourced and made locally)!

Weight checks:

  • Ruffles – 946 grams (4.76% gain)
  • Orson – 1044 grams (HE’S OVER A KILO! 6.42% gain)
  • Chex – 960 grams (4% gain)
  • Frito – 875 grams (6% gain)
  • Popcorn – 614 grams (SHE’S OVER 600 GRAMS! 11.84% gain, she sure made up for the vomiting!)

The Fab Five today. Clockwise from top: Ruffles (on her back), Frito, Chex, Orson, Popcorn.

One Response to “16 Days Old Already!”

  1. Alexandra Bern Says:

    They look like they’re really starting to play with each other and establish relationships!

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