Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Puppy Selections

Hi Everyone! On Sunday, John, Monica, and their two boys came out to visit the puppies. In addition, my sister-in-law Julie, her husband Kevin, and their little girl Alyssa stopped by to visit puppies as well. I've added the newest pics of everyone with the puppies to my slideshow.

After a lot of back and forth between Green boy and White girl, now wearing a turquoise collar, John, Monica, and the boys have come to a family decision to bring Green boy home. They will be naming Green boy "Narrow" - a name that the boys picked out before the puppies were even born!

The two puppies that remain are Yellow boy (in the red collar) and White girl (in the turquoise collar). I know...I know...lol... I've changed up the collars on everyone! I usually try to keep them the same as they move from their first collars (hospital bands) to their adjustable velcro collars to their final puppy collar. However, this time around, it seems like none of the collar selections that I bought matched up for continuity! Oh well...! So Dave, to identify White girl in the picures, look for the turquoise blue collar, and when I have a bit more time, I'll try to email you with some of her pictures since you can't always see the collars in the pictures. Dan, I'm still waiting to hear back from you and will call you if I don't get an email soon, but I'm thinking that Yellow boy might be a very good fit for you.

So for now, 4 of the 6 puppies have their new names:
Blue boy has been named Louie by John & Sylvia.
Pink girl has been named Rose by me & Dave.
Green boy has been named Narrow by Grant & Jude, John & Monica's boys.
Purple girl has been named Nina (for the common Dog Violet, Viola canina) by me & Dave.

Less than one week left for me and my puppies... :( but :) for all of you!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Puppies' First Vet Visit

Yesterday the puppies came to work at the vet's office and got their first physical. All of the puppies were healthy, met the physical milestones for their age, and passed their first orthopaedic exam. The only findings that the veterinarian noted were an overbite in White girl, which we had already noticed, and a little bump under the eye of Yellow boy (now wearing a Red collar), which he thinks was probably the result of overlyzealous puppy play! With verification that all the puppies were healthy, I went ahead and gave the puppies their first shot yesterday - the standard first vaccine abbreviated DA2PP which offers combined protection against Distemper, Adenovirus/Hepatitis, Parvovirus, & Parainfluenza. This shot will need to be repeated in another 3-4 weeks by your veterinarian, then 1-2 more times to offer full protection.

So FYI, here's a little tutorial on Puppy Immunology 101 to help you understand more about vaccinations:

In case you've ever wondered, there are very good reasons why puppies must get their vaccinations in a series of 3-4 injections. Puppies receive their first line of protection from antibodies made by Mom - antibodies she made, of course, in response to her own past vaccinations and any previous disease exposures. Mom's antibodies, when passed to the puppies, serve a very important function - they protect the puppies from disease while their own immune systems are too immature to make antibodies on their own. So what exactly do the antibodies do? In a simplified manner, you could say that antibodies bind, or "grab onto" viruses and bacteria, quickly labeling them as invaders so that white blood cells can find, attack, and destroy them before they have the chance to cause disease.

Puppies typically acquire these "maternal" antibodies during the first day or two that they nurse from Mom - thus the reason why you always hear about the benefits of "colostrum", or the antibody-rich "first milk". Over time, the levels of protective antibodies from Mom begin to drop off in the puppies' systems, offering them less and less protection. At the same time, their own immune systems begin to mature and grow in their ability to make antibodies on their own.

So what do vaccines do? Vaccines are typically composed of dead virus & bacteria and/or viruses that have been genetically modified so that they can't reproduce (thus, can't cause disease). The immune system still recognizes these harmless microbes as potentially dangerous foreign invaders and will produce antibodies to protect the body in case it ever encounters them again.

Understanding the function of antibodies and vaccines will allow us to understand the time schedule we use to vaccinate puppies.

If vaccines are given too young, two things will happen:
1) If a puppy has received Mom's antibodies from the colostrum, the maternal antibodies will quickly have the harmless bacteria and/or viruses disposed of by the puppy's system, or,
2) If a puppy did not receive colostrum, the vaccine has no effect because the puppy can't yet make its own antibodies.
Either way, the vaccine is wasted and has no effect on improving the puppy's immune system.

Remember, as a puppy gets older, the antibodies from Mom begin to drop off in number, offering less and less protection. However, at this time, the puppy's immune system is beginning to ramp up. How quickly Mom's antibodies go away and the puppy's immune system gets going varies from puppy to puppy. But by starting vaccines at 6 weeks old, we try to expose the puppies to their first vaccination at a time when we expect Mom's antibody levels, or "titers", to be dropping off in the puppy's bloodstream, while at the same time, the puppy is beginning to be able to make antibodies on its own. When receiving this first vaccination, any remaining antibodies left over from Mom may neutralize some of the effects of the vaccination, but with limited amounts of antibody left, not all of the bacteria & viruses can be found and flagged by the maternal antibodies. Therefore, there is still be some bacteria and/or viruses left for the puppy's immune system to find and make antibodies against - but it won't be a lot, and the puppy's immune system may still not be all that great at making antibody. So we wait and vaccinate the puppy again about 3-4 weeks later. By this point, there should be even less maternal antibody remaining and at the same time, the puppy's immune system can make antibody more efficiently. We continue vaccinating the puppy until the time when all maternal antibody should be gone and the puppy's immune system has nearly reached its peak performance, typically around 16 weeks of age. At this point, we can feel confident that a puppy is fully protected against the disease we have vaccinated against.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

FINALLY! A New Blog Post!

Pink Girl - Westside Roses are Red, aka "Rose"

Hi everyone, and sorry for not getting any new posts up lately. The past 2 weeks have been hectic, especially since I traveled most of last week for work. San Antonio the first half of the week, a day back at home, then off to Ft. Lauderdale for two days. The trips went well, but I was anxious to get back and visit with the puppies... I went straight to my in-laws from the airport when I got back last Friday so that I could pay my puppies a visit! We were able to move the puppies to the outdoor set-up at Larry & Joyce's 2 weeks ago today, since Cincinnati finally had a break in the weather - we had several days in a row where the temperature was in the low to mid 80's after having maxed out in the 90s the entire week before. It worked out great for acclimating the puppies to outdoor weather. While I miss having the puppies in the house to watch and mush on, I was finally able to start going to bed earlier than 1:30am or later every night. That last week when they were going on 5 weeks, I felt like all I did was mop the floor, make puppy gruel, and clean up little piles and puddles of puppy mess! See, there's a reason why beagle puppies are just so darn cute!!!

When I made it over to Joyce & Larry's after Ft. Lauderdale, I couldn't believe how much the puppies had changed in the several days since I had last seen them! I opened the door to their kennel, and was rushed by little puppies and when I sat down on the ground, they all just had to clamor into my lap at the same time! Once they had a little lovin', then it was off to the yard to run around in the grass and in the flower beds, chewing on sticks and destroying Joyce's hastas. After a good round of boisterous play, then suddenly, as though a timer had gone off, all of the puppies crashed. The grass was littered with the bodies of little puppies who slept as though they'd been drugged! Well, all except for Yellow boy (now wearing a red collar), who would struggle as though he just couldn't get comfortable, then snake through the grass, still laying on his side, eyes closed, pushing off with his hind feet as he tried to find just the right spot! Those little puppies are so enjoyable right now that it makes me sad to think that I have just another week and a half with all of them!

One of the last tasks for me to do for the puppies is to take them for their first vet's visit. They'll be going to get their checkup this Saturday and when everything checks out, they will get their first puppy shot. As for other preventive health details, everyone has now received 3 wormings. At their 9-10 week vet appointment, you will want to have the vet check their stool to verify that everyone is worm-free.

So moving on to some of the details for puppy homecomings...

Dave & I selected Pink girl and Purple (formerly Orange) girl.
John & Sylvia came out to visit the other night and have selected Blue boy (after some tough back and forth over him & Green boy).
John & Monica have just recently returned from vacation and will most likely come out to visit again before they make their decision. After their last visit, they were leaning towards Green boy, but John was also in love with White girl.
Dan will be up after John & Monica select, then Dave & his family will have the final pick. Dan & Dave, let me know if you would like to come down to visit...

Well everybody, its going on 11:40pm and I'd like to try to make it to bed before midnight for once! Please enjoy the update slide show and keep in touch.

Oh, and if anyone would like to order a new puppy kit, let me know and tell me what you'd like to see included. Once I know what you'd like, I can get back with you about pricing information and you can tell me if you'd like me to go ahead with the order. As an FYI, all puppies will go home with their collars, a matching lead, paperwork, vaccination & health care records, a weeks worth of puppy chow (Purina ONE) and, of course, a plush chew toy.