Paige's 2015 Litter

Pregnancy

2-6 July 2015
Paige (Shaksper Paige Morgan) bred to Brody (Abbedale Ring O'Brodgar) owned by Nancy Wise. Estimated due date is 1 September.
30 July
Ultrasound shows that Paige is pregnant, possibly with four puppies.
21 Aug
Because Paige's previous pregnancy resulted in premature puppies, we have been treating this pregnancy as a "high-risk" pregnancy. We have been going to the theriogenology (reproduction) department at NC State's vet school for regular blood draws to measure Paige's progesterone level and to ultrasound the puppies to measure their heartbeats. Today Paige's progesterone level was sufficiently low that she was put on a daily dose of Regumate (a progesterone supplement).
27 Aug
A very pregnant Paige next to her mother, Olivia. I always think Olivia is on the chunky side, but pregnant Paige is the plump one now.
28 Aug
Sad news. Four days ago during Paige's ultrasound, she had four puppies with good heartbeats. Today, the ultrasound could not detect any heartbeat on one of the four puppies. There is no way to tell why it died until after Paige has her c-section and we can autopsy the dead puppy. Today I was told to stop the Regumate.
29 Aug
We started with weekly ultrasound and progesterone testing. Then it was twice a week. Now it is daily. Unfortunately on the weekends we can not get a progesterone test run.

However the good news is that today, the ultrasound showed four puppy heartbeats. So either there are five puppies in there (with one dead), or yesterday the puppy was turned in such a way that the heart could not be seen.

I finished setting up Paige's whelping box - the home for Paige and the puppies for the next couple of weeks. I left the room for a few moments, and came back and found Paige in the whelping box staring at me.

30 Aug
Again only three puppy heartbeats are showing via the ultrasound. What is going on? Well, we will know for certain soon ...
31 Aug
After our morning ultrasound and progesterone draw, we headed home. Halfway home, we got the phone call saying "It is time". So we turned aound and headed back to NC State for Paige's c-section.

Waiting outside. Notice how wide Paige is. Waiting to be taken into surgery.

Week 1

31 Aug
Six puppies! Sadly only three alive - two girls, and a boy. Two of the dead puppies were obviously dead, one puppy could not be revived. So that explains the mystery of why ultrasound was showing a puppy with no heartbeat. And why Paige was so big!

My first view of the puppies. From left to right, the big girl (170 grams), the little girl (100 grams), the big boy (170 grams). Usually I put colored yarn around the puppys' necks in order to tell the puppies apart ... but with this litter I suspect that may not be necessary.

Another view. The red tint is from the heat lamp.

I recently watched on DVD the HBO series "Rome". So this litter with be my "Julius Caesar" litter. So names either have to come from that Shakespeare play or from the HBO series "Rome". Actors names are also allowed. Feel free to make suggestions.

Before we left NC State, the puppies were put on Paige to nurse. Paige was still pretty groggy at this point.

1 Sep
The puppies have survived their first 24 hours. No dramas, no excitment ... just normal development. Mostly I do not see the puppies, as Paige keeps them tucked underneath her. This is both to keep the puppies warm - as they can not regulate their body temperature yet - and so that the puppies can nurse.

Of course, what I really like to see is when Paige lays on her side and I can see everyone nursing. Puppies normally lose up to 10 percent of their body weight in the first twelve hours, but after that we want them to gain weight. I am weighing the puppies twice a day. A loss in weight is usually the first indication that something is wrong. But after a drop this morning, everyone's weight is up by this evening. (The big boy even gained more than his birth weight.) The little girl looks a lot better than when I brought her home. But she is still small compared to her siblings.

Paige's maternal instincts have really kicked in. She will not leave her puppies even to eat and drink. So that she does eat and drink, I have been periodically putting her food and drink bowl right in front of her. Paige finally left her puppies this afternoon to go outside and do her business. All the puppies were asleep and have nice round (full) bellies.

2 Sep
All day long I checked to make sure that the little sister was on a nipple. Almost always I found her on a nipple. Yet she only gained one gram in the last 24 hours. If you look closely, you can see the little sister nursing on Paige's right side, while the other two puppies sleep under the heat lamp. All the puppies have fat round bellies.
3 Sep
I had to leave for a judging assignment today. So I took all my dogs, including Paige and her puppies, to my petsitter. We had a long drive (1.5 hours), so I kept the puppies with Paige. Paige carefully laid on the puppies to keep them safe as the car moved. Mostly the puppies seemed to sleep during the trip.

Good news! My petsitter reports that little sister gained 10 grams during the day. The other puppies also gained weight.

4 Sep
Two pictures that my petsitter sent me, pic1 and pic2. Little sister has gained 18 grams in the last 24 hours. Yeah!
5 Sep
Another picture from my petsitter. All the puppies are gaining weight. Little sister has gained 27 grams in the last 24 hours.
6 Sep
No picture today, just a report that everyone has gained weight.

Week 2

7 Sep
I picked up everyone from my petsitter, and took this picture of Paige and her puppies while at a stop sign. I was prepared for the fact that the puppies would be bigger, but what surprised me was that Paige has regained her girlish figure. When I left, Paige still looked pregnant.

The puppies are now quite good at crawling ... and hiding underneath the pig-rails of my welping box. Needless to say, this always make my heart skip a beat when I walk into the bedroom, count puppies, and come up short ... until I remember to look under the pig-rails.

Of course, often the puppies just sleep where they are like little sister here. (I thought about titling this picture as "I can't believe I ate the whole thing!")

At one week of age, the puppies now weigh as follows: little sister - 188 grams), the boy (410 grams), and big sister (324 grams). So the boy had doubled his birth weight, with both sisters almost doing the same. Little sister now looks like her big sister did when she was born.

8 Sep
Puppies need to be stimulated to pee and poop. Paige will nose a puppy over and then vigorously lick its abdomen. To keep her "den" clean, Paige drinks all the pee and eats the poop. This is what Paige was doing right before I got this picture. Note the white spot on little sister's chest. As she grows up the spot will slowly get smaller until you can hardly see it.

Of course, it is nice to sleep next to mommy ... until big brother comes over to get a drink.

Today both little sister and big sister doubled their birth weight.

9 Sep
Big brother. Puppies do not open their eyes till around day 10. I wonder which puppy will be the first?

Little sister: "Big brother makes a nice pillow."

Big sister: "Talk to my right rear paw."

10 Sep
What I like to see, all the puppies nursing. From left to right - little sister, big sister, and brother. If it looks like brother is moving, you are correct. Puppies push on Mommy's stomach - like a person kneading bread - in order to increase milk flow.
11 Sep
I was a little worried about the discharge that Paige was having. It is normal for a bitch to have a discharge after a c-section; I was concerned about the smell which seemed off to me (which could indicate a problem). So back we went back to NC State. The puppies came along and are good travellers.

A blood chemistry was normal, and the vet does not think there is a problem. But I feel better after having Paige checked out. I would rather err on the side of caution - especially since Paige had this exact problem with her previous litter.

All the junior vets and students wanted to hold the puppies. As the price to hold the puppies, I made them cut the puppies tiny nails. The puppies' nails had begun to scratch Paige's tummy when the puppies nursed.

The boy broke the half a kilogram weight mark today. Little sister broke the quater of a kilogram mark. Big sister is between the two.

12 Sep
No picture today. I had to be away most of the day. I left Paige with plenty of food and water, and of course she could go outside to my little fenced yard to do her business. I worried about the puppies all day long. But Paige is a good mom, and I came home to everyone having gained weight.
13 Sep
I noticed while weighing the puppies in the morning that big sister was starting to open her eyes ... and then I saw that the boy was also opening his eyes. At the evening weighing, little sister had just barely started to open her eyes ... just slits (and I could not get a good picture). Of course, it will take them some time until they can actually focus.

And it will be several more days until their ear canals open and they can hear.

Week 3

14 Sep
At two weeks, the puppies now weigh as follows: little sister (328 grams), the boy (636 grams), and big sister (502 grams). Little sister broke the 300 gram mark today, the boy broke the 600 gram mark, and big sister joined her brother in the "over half-a-kilogram club".

Even though all have their eyes open, the puppies still just eat and sleep (left to right - big sister, little sister, boy). Paige clearly has the puppies on some sort of feeding schedule, as she often wants to come out of my bedroom to be with my other dogs ... or to explore the yard around my house. My job seems to be "doorman" - opening and closing the gate so that she can come out of my bedroom. Then a few minutes later opening and closing the gate so that she can check on her puppies. Then a few minutes later, letting her back out again ...

15 Sep
The "head to butt" sleeping configuration. Notice that the boy has his tongue out. Now that the puppies have some sight, they will try to taste whatever they see ... including each other. I think the boy just fell asleep in the middle of trying to taste his sister!

Today was "weigh day" at my house ... where every dog gets weighed. Paige now weighs 5.765 kg, down from 7.0 kg right before she had the puppies.

16 Sep
Paige and the puppies.

I had a visitor today. The first visitor to my new place. Unfortunately Paige took great exception to this person being in the house. She evidently thought this person was going to steal her puppies. She barked and barked, so much so that she made herself slight hoarse. I had not realized how strong her maternal instincts really are.

17 Sep
No picture today. I kept trying to get a picture of one of the puppies sleeping on their back. But by the time I grabbed my camera, either the puppy had rolled over or Paige ... who knows what it means when I grab my camera ... had jumped into the whelping box waking up the puppies.

Today I noticed "puppy breath" - the slightly yeasty and wonderful small of a puppy's exhaled breath. If we could only bottle it!

18 Sep
The puppies now are able to get up on their front feet ... which caused them to scoot backwards since they have not yet figured out how to coordinate their front and their rear feet. But they quickly get tired and fall back asleep.

At the slightest noise outside, Paige leads the charge to scare off any (wildlife) intruder. I do not mind, unless and until she gets out of sight. Then I call everyone back (for which they get a treat for coming back). At night of course, I close my doggy fence so that no one can go far ... just enough to go outside to potty.

19 Sep
I was able to get a photo of the puppies up on their front legs. But a few minutes later, they are asleep again.

Today is Paige's birthday. She is five years old. It seems like only yesterday that she was one of the puppies crawling around the welping box.

20 Sep
Big sister sleeping on her back and underneath a pig rail (compare with the picture of 7 Sep). Note that big sister does not have a white patch on her chest, while little sister and the boy do.

The puppies are starting to respond to sounds, which means that their ear canals are starting to open.

Week 4

21 Sep
The puppies are now three weeks old. Now I can start to relax. Puppies who make it to three weeks of age tend to survive. Now I really need to think of names for them.

The puppies now weigh: little sister (515 g), boy (858 g), and big sister (704 g). Today little sister joined her siblings in the "over half-a-kilogram club".

Here is the boy sleeping. A moment later, he did a long stretch as if waking from a nice nap.

22 Sep
The puppies are starting to spend sufficient time awake to start exploring the whelping box. I caught this photo of big sister with her tongue out.
23 Sep
Strange things have begun to appear in the whelping box. Sometimes it is best to approach them from behind mom.
24 Sep
The puppies nursing. (Compare with a similar photo on 1 Sep.) A closer view.

An invader in the whelping box! Wrestling the invader. And now that the invader is vanquished, it is time for a nap.

25 Sep
No photo today. I spent most of the day helping out at my club's agility trial. Today, the boy broke the one kilogram weight mark.
26 Sep
Paige has allowed her one-year old daughter, Tami, to get close to the puppies. Today, while Paige was outside, I saw Tami jump into the whelping box and check out the puppies. Tami quickly jumped out when she noticed me watching.
27 Sep
The puppies now weigh: little sister (674 g), boy (1082 g), and big sister (848 g).

Today the puppies had their first long car ride ... from North Carolina to Maryland. The reason for the trip was so that some of my dogs (which included Paige and her puppies) could stay with a friend in Maryland, while I (and some of my other dogs) could travel to the Montgomery Terrier Agility Cluster in Pennsylvania. The puppies were good travellers in their crate.

Week 5

2 Sep
We had a good time at the four-day Montgomery Terrier Agility Cluster, and after attending the Norwich health seminar (a good talk by Dr. Bryden Stanley) we returned to Maryland. Today we had a "puppy party" for the puppies. I had not seen the puppies since Sunday. They have grown! Now they are walking, they have teeth, and they are starting to eat (baby) food. Sadly, I then had to leave them in order to attend the rest of the activities of "Montgomery Week".

Contact: shakspernorwich@gmail.com