Still Five On Board!

Doctor Gray’s count via ultrasound at 28 days was bang on the money! Five on x-ray today (our original x-ray appointment was tomorrow but we were there for ultrasound today so did the x-ray a day early). On ultrasound we saw hearts beating over 200 beats per minute (which is what you want), on at least three of them. I was asked about why only 3, and the answer was that Zhora was being a pill about lying on her back with a big pregnant belly (and also because she has Opinions), so we didn’t want to wrestle with her and stress her out. Because all 5 are quite uniform in size, we were pretty comfortable just spot checking.

One is lined up ready to go! All a nice uniform size at this point (we’re calling the 21st her likely due date).

Here’s the email I sent to Renee and Dr Gray today, and I’ll put Dr Gray’s answers at our appointment today in bold (as best I remember them):

I decided to opt for the ultrasound today just to set my mind at ease, I will bring blood for progesterone too. Zhora is doing well, discharge remains watery-to-egg white consistency and clear to opaque white, and there is not very much of it (there was a tiny speck of green when I wiped this morning but I think it was a bit of grass since she’d just been outside and she’s a low-rider when she urinates). She was a bit restless and uncomfortable for a few minutes last night but the puppies were quite active then (I could feel them moving quite a bit and I would not be surprised for any bitch to be a little uncomfortable at this stage). I didn’t feel anything that felt like a contraction.
She has really done NOTHING so far that would make me think anything other than normal late pregnancy stuff is going on, but I’m paranoid every time she scratches her ears! She is eating well, energetic and bouncy, going for walks, and seems comfortable most of the time. She is perhaps a little more clingy than usual since yesterday and seems to have a little indigestion once in a while (occasional burping and gurgly stomach, it hasn’t affected her appetite at all, but she has always had the appetite of a Lab).
Regumate 0.3 ml SID PO (at 5 pm daily)
Panacur-C 3 g SID
Catalyst Chews (DHA/EPA supplement) 1 SID
FortiFlora 1 packet SID
B-50 vitamin with folic acid BID
Diet: Pro Plan Sport 30/20 1/2 cup am, 1/4 – 1/3 cup lunch, 1/2 cup pm (this is about 40-50% more than her non-breeding amount,and I have gradually increased it as advised)
I did have a few questions that I wanted to ask, so I thought I’d email in advance in case time is short today. I did a bit of reading on VIN (not Dr Google!) and just wanted to clarify a few things for myself about the Regumate:
1) masculinization of female fetuses – is this a concern for us (starting at day 51) or is this issue more related to supplementing too early, too high a dose, or when not needed?
Dr Gray’s answer as I recall it: given how short a time she’s going to be on the Regumate, how small a dose we’re using, and how late in the pregnancy we started it, this should not be a concern.
2) milk production – is there a concern that she will take longer to produce milk and/or not produce adequate milk? Should I be looking into ordering some fresh frozen plasma or spinning down some blood in case she doesn’t produce colostrum? I will have formula ready to go just in case.
Dr Gray’s answer as I recall it: …was to express colostrum from Zhora right then and there…so not likely to be a problem – she has colostrum over a week from her due date, we should be fine. They gave me some suggestions for supplements to use to help with milk production: fenugreek, sunflower lecithin, mother’s porridge (which contains steel cut oats, which help the body produce milk).
3) c-section – I know there is a slight increase in the likelihood of Zhora needing a c-section. I have never scheduled c-sections in the past, but would it be the best choice for this situation? Zhora is my first priority, the puppies are second. If this were your dog, or Dr Gray’s dog, would you be scheduling a c-section or waiting to see if she needs one? I am worried about having to go to an e clinic in the middle of the night where I don’t know the vet’s skill level and where they aren’t breeder friendly, don’t have advanced neonatal care options, and will want to spay everything with a uterus…I would feel far better having you do it if she needed one.
Dr Gray’s answer as I recall it: there’s no reason to think she won’t be able to deliver normally. We’re stopping the Regumate after her dose on the 18th, which gives her plenty of time to let the hormone cascade happen. Also Dr Gray gave me her home and cell phone numbers and will be in touch with me regularly once I let her know we’ve started stage 1 labor. She sent me home with some injectable meds (calcium, to start as soon as we have serious contractions starting, and tiny doses of oxytocin, she will be walking me through when to give those), and a list to be doubly sure I have everything I need. If we do need to intervene, we have a plan in place. I feel MUCH more comfortable and prepared now!
So now we just keep doing what we’re doing, make sure we have everything we need, and get ready to hunker down for whelping next week! She’s 31 pounds today! Just over a pound per puppy of weight gain and in perfect body condition per Dr Gray, not fat, not thin, right where she should be!
Progesterone was 4.1 today so supplementing was the right choice! Recheck Friday and quick heart rate check too just so we’re comfortable going into the weekend.


2 Responses to “Still Five On Board!”

  1. Stephanie Says:

    How exciting! Best of luck to you and Zhora!

  2. Alexandra Bern Says:

    Thank you for all the details and pictures! You’re transparency is admirable.

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