Sunday, June 29, 2008

Update on Beagle Puppies

Hi everybody! I finally had a chance to get on the computer and post some more photos for all to see. Sorry it took me a few days, but what a crazy week this has been! I feel like I've been living at the vet's office!

In addition to going for more than 24 hours without sleep and going through a stressful puppy delivery, yesterday I was at the vet's office from 9am until 9pm, working in the morning, then staying afterwards so that I could assist the veterinarian with a long and experimental surgery on on of our male beagles in an attempt to save his leg from amputation About 2 weeks ago, he and two of our other males were running around the yard out at the property when a doe crossed their path. Deer have a very strong smell and the beagles began to excitedly chase her. Apparently she must have had fawns bedded down near by, because when I heard the dogs barking and looked out from the kennels I was cleaning, I could see that she was standing her ground, kicking and chasing them. When I called the dogs off, they came running single file, the first two at full speed, but lagging behind (with the doe still chasing and trying to headbutt him) was our male Blackie, running 3-legged - his left hind leg held up with his foot dangling limply. X-rays showed that he had completely dislocated his ankle and once it was put back into place, it was obvious that the ligaments had all been torn. Our vet said that the kind of injury he had is almost never seen - the doe must have actually stepped directly on his ankle to have caused the kind of damage that was done! My husband and I took Blackie home, his leg splinted, to try to figure out what we wanted to do. After much discussion with the vet, we decided to have him see what he could do surgically. So on Saturday, the vet stayed after hours and he and I did an experimental surgery involving placement of a bone graft and pins in his ankle plus to try to fuse the joint in an attempt to save his leg. Only time will tell if this will work, but in the meantime, after assisting with a difficult labor for Rogue and a very long surgery on Blackie, I'm beat and I haven't done much else other than take care of dogs and sleep!

Ok, so after that tangent about Blackie, I'll get back to Rogue and the puppies, since that's the real reason you're reading this blog!

...At first, after getting mom and the puppies home, we were a little concerned because Rogue was refusing to eat, despite offering about every food the pet store offered. But then, on Friday she resumed eating again. I have since read that this is not uncommon in the first few days after whelping, but we've never had a dog do this before!

Despite our worries, the lack of food didn't seem to hurt Rogue's ability to provide for the puppies and they have been doing great. They continue to grow very quickly, have nice round puppy bellies, and for the most part are quiet. This is a very good sign that mom is doing her job. It's kind of like with babies - if their diaper is clean, their belly is full, and they are comfortable, they usually aren't crying. Well same holds true with puppies - if they're not happy, they whine and cry, sounding similar to the baby Mandrake roots when they get uprooted in the Harry Potter movie! Right now mom still has to lick puppy bottoms to stimulate them to use the bathroom, she has plenty of milk to go around, and Dave and I are keeping the nestbox clean and warm. About the only time the puppies make noise is when mom shifts and lays on them ("Mo-omm! What are you doing! I'm under here!"), when I pick them up to weigh them ("Hey, I was comfortable here!"), when one of them pushes another off of their choice nursing spot, or when they have little puppy dreams (then they will grumble with little bitty growls in their sleep, their legs and ears twitching). They are so cute, and sweet, and just beautiful!

So that I can share more pictures with you all and so that you can see how cute the puppies are, I've figured out how to do a slideshow of my most recent pictures. You can find the slideshow in the panel on the right. I'll continue to update this as I get more pictures and you can let me know if you prefer the slideshow by adding a comment to the blog. As you look through the pictures it may help to know who's who by looking at the puppy collars. So in birth order:

1) Blue = male puppy #1
2) Pink = female puppy #1
3) Green = male puppy #2
4) Orange = female puppy #2
5) Yellow = male puppy #3
6) White = female puppy #3

We will keep the puppies wearing the same color collars as they grow older so that you can identify each puppy in the pictures.

Finally, as you look through the pictues, if you haven't already let me know, I need you to confirm to me that you would like to continue to be on the waiting list for these puppies. I have a family (Dave D.) who is interested in a puppy, but did not get back to me in time to make the cut for this waiting list. They will be alternates in case you decide, either now or later, that one of the puppies in this litter is not meant for you. If you still wish to reserve a puppy from this litter, as previously discussed we will need to receive your deposit of $150. If you are further back on the list and you pay the deposit, you will have the opportunity to defer selection of a puppy from this litter and to be placed at the front of our next waiting list should the remaining puppy/s not be what you are looking for. I will contact each of you within the next few days to confirm your decision and to arrange for payment (John & Sylvia not included, since you're already taken care of.)

***One thing that I would like to let everyone know (and I believe that I've already told everyone), is that Dave & I were planning to keep a puppy from this litter, which will be a female. In addition, Dave has been asking me if we can keep one more female from this litter. We have heard back from the first family on the waiting list that they will be unable to take a puppy at this time. Because of this, and because it does not displace anyone else from their position on the list, I have agreed that we can keep one more puppy, which will also be a female. Therefore, there will only be one female and three males available. Please keep this in mind in making your decision about reserving a puppy if you have a strong sex preference.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Puppy Pics

Here they are - the first pics:

As you can see, Mom is doing a great job taking care of the puppies. I'm amazed at how well she's doing, as it was a very long night for her!
I was on my way to work yesterday when my mother-in-law called and told me that Rogue was making a racket and was all worked up. I turned around, headed for home, changed clothes, then headed over to my in-laws. (We moved her over there when she was about due so that we could keep a closer eye on her since we haven't built our home yet out at the property.) This being Rogue's first pregnancy, I think she wasn't sure what was going on and was a little scared. She had started having her first contractions. I ended up sitting with her all day yesterday because she started barking and crying if I left her side even for a few minutes.
Around 4pm yesterday, she began squatting as though she needed to urinate. Then the first sac began to show. Rogue didn't know quite what to make of this and kept trying to lick it away. At 4:25pm, the sac broke, but no good contractions kicked in and no puppy appeared. I tried a few techniques to try to stimulate her to pick up her contractions, but they didn't work. After waiting an hour, with little-to-no contractions and a puppy I couldn't reach still lined up and waiting to arrive, I packed my whelping supplies up and we headed for the vet's office. Things just weren't normal and I wasn't willing to chance things.
At the office, the veterinarian examined Rogue. She was fully dialated, but he said he couldn't feel the puppy in the birth canal. I started worrying that we were going to lose the first puppy because of the amount of time that had passed - with every minute, the likelihood that the puppy would suffocate or drown increased. We hooked Rogue up to an IV, gave her some calcium to prime her muscles, waited half an hour, then administered Oxytocin to initiate contractions. Then we waited some more. Finally, around 8:30pm, she began to have some solid contractions. But she couldn't pass the first pup on her own - although it cleared her pelvic girdle just fine, she was too tight. Poor Rogue had to have an episiotomy, and the vet pulled out the first puppy to discover that despite the amount of time that had passed, he had made it out alive!
After successfully delivering the first puppy, I went about setting up the office breakroom as Rogue's new whelping area. She managed to deliver the next pup, a little girl, on her own about an hour later. We figured that everything would go smoothly from there on out, so the vet and the office staff headed for home, and I settled in for the night to wait out the rest of the puppies.
Unfortunately for both me and Rogue, things didn't go as smoothly was we had hoped and she didn't have an easy time of it. She was unable to pass any of the rest of the puppies on her own - I think she was just too tired and the pups were rather large for beagle pups. I spent all night and morning sitting up with her making sure that I helped each puppy out when it became clear that she wasn't able to do much on her own - and some of the pups had a very tight squeeze to get out despite the episiotomy! Finally, at 7am this morning, Rogue delivered her very last puppy - a little girl - right before the staff began coming back in for the day. When the vet came in, he stitched her up and Rogue was a champ getting through it. Throughout everything she had been through, she was patient, well-behaved, and didn't hold anything against me or anyone else.
I packed up Rogue and the puppies and headed back over to my in-laws where I proceded to get mom and pups situated and settled in. I got a little bit of laundry started, and then I was on my way home. Rogue was so caught up with her new little ones that she barely noticed when I left. Then a message on this blog for everyone...then...sleep! I crashed on the couch with two beagles laying on top of me and didn't budge until 6:30pm this evening...checked in on puppies again, took some pics...posted this blog...and now its time to sleep again! Until the next post...

Puppies are here!

After a very long afternoon, night, and morning puppies are here safe and healthy! Mom is tired but doing great. I'm exhausted, sore, and think my joints will never feel the same again. Since I've been awake since 7:30am yesterday and its now 11:30am on Tuesday, I'm going to eat some lunch then crash for awhile. Pics on the way soon...3 girls & 3 boys, all beautiful tri-color pups! Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

No puppies yet...

No puppies yet, but Rogue is definitely close! Her belly looks like it is almost touching the ground now! She also seems anxious and overly affectionate. The watch continues...keep watching and I'll let you know when puppies arrive!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Looks like six puppies are on their way!

We took Rogue for x-rays yesterday. It was absolutely amazing to see all the little skeletons stretched out acrosss Rogue's belly! There very clearly were 6 puppies showing up on the x-rays. And not a one of those puppies was curled up all nice and, they really were all stretched out and taking up plenty of space! It was funny to see, especially since I could easily feel little puppies moving around like bumper cars in Rogue's belly and knew those puppies were wide awake when we took the x-rays! Six puppies is a nice, manageable number of puppies and works out perfectly with the number of you that have asked to be placed on the waiting list. Now just cross your fingers and say a little prayer that all goes smoothly! I expect that it will since the x-rays did not show any big noggin puppies that could potentially clog up the works! Still, wish us luck!

Monday, June 16, 2008

In the home stretch!

Well, it's getting awfully close! Rogue is doing great, her belly is very large, and she has already dropped milk! She will be going to the vet on Wednesday so that I can get an approximation of how many puppies to expect and how big they look. I suspect that she will be having the puppies this upcoming weekend, although her official due date is June 25th. I'll keep everyone updated. Enjoy the pics!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Monday, June 2, 2008

A whole lot more than a baby bump!

Wow! What a difference a week makes! I don't think there is any question that Rogue is pregnant now! Unfortunately, I forgot to bring my camera along with me this past weekend, so I don't have any pics to share.

So when I went out to the property on Saturday (my first time all week, since Dave takes care of the kennels on weekdays), I was amazed to see how fat Rogue looked. Then, then on Sunday, she looked even bigger! Dave says she looked bigger yet again today. It's crazy to think she can change that much overnight!

Considering that our experience tell us that pregnant dogs usually gain the most in their last week, I think that Rogue is likely to have quite a large litter. I would imagine that she will have at least 6-8 pups, if not more. We'll just have to see, but I've gotten pretty good at predicting the number of pups based on how soon the dams show, how they carry, and how big they get. Not an exact science... but you start to get good at reading the signs.

As for appetite, Rogue has begun eating well again. She still isn't eating much more than her normal portions, but this may be due in part to the fact that she is eating a high quality food with lots of animal source protein. And of course, she still doesn't pass up a biscuit!

Hopefully I can get a camera out to the property sometime during the week so I can let all of you see what she looks like. It's really entertaining to see!