Mandy's 2018 Litter


18, 20 Sep
Mandy ("MACH2 Shaksper Amanda Seyfried") was bred by side-by-side AI (artificial insemination) to Bentley ("GCH Taliesin Double Brass") owned by Annie Bone. Here are some pictures of Bentley: photo1, photo2, photo3, and photo4.

Bentley lives in San Francisco. So I originally thought this breeding would be by shipped semen from California to North Carolina. But it turned out that Bentley's owner had a trip planned to New York City that included bringing Bentley. Mandy must have heard this, as Mandy held off coming into season until right before Bentley was scheduled to fly to New York City. So ... road-trip!

But before we left, we had to estimate (by progesterone testing) the best date for a breeding. Hurricane Michael choose that time to hit North Carolina, shutting down NC State University in Raleigh where I go for repro services. Fortunately I knew of a repro vet in Richmond Virginia (Dr. Kolster) who does same-day progesterone testing. So Mandy and I did a day trip to Richmond as the hurricane hit North Carolina. (I live near the border between North Carolina and Virginia, so I was not affected by the hurricane as much as people further south.)

Once the progesterone results told us the estimated best breeding date, Mandy and I drove and stayed in northern New Jersey. Bentley and Annie came down from Manhattan and we met at the offices of Dr. Stora, a repro vet on Staten Island. Once Bentley caught a wiff of Mandy, he was ready! And Mandy, the little hussy, was equally willing, as you can see in this mp4 video (Mandy is in the blue harness):

I actually had to take Mandy outside shortly afterwards as Bentley was just getting so worked up and frustrated. We tried to let Mandy and Bentley breed naturally (with Dr. Stora's assistance), but Bentley was unable to make a tie. So Dr. Stora did an AI. (Think "turkey baster".)

16 Oct 2018
Ultrasound today showed that Mandy is pregnant. Two healthy puppies were seen and one reabsorption site. (Instead of miscarriages, dogs reabsorbs fetuses.) Because of the reabsorption, we pulled some blood from Mandy to check her progesterone level. For breeding, you want to see the progesterone level rise. But for pregnancy you want to see the progesterone level slowly fall. But too fast a fall is bad.

I was really happy to hear that Mandy is pregnant. This is her last breeding opportunity. (Mandy just turned six years old, which is starting to get up there in years for her biological breeding clock.) Also I have had bad luck recently with three consecutive unsuccessful breedings with different girls of mine.

Estimated due date is around 18 November.

24 Oct
Another ultrasound and progesterone check. Again two healthy puppies, but this time the ultrasound showed two reabsorption sites. Mandy's progesterone level seems fine.
31 Oct
Holding Mandy for another ultrasound. Again two healthy puppies are seen on the ultrasound. You can see one puppy at the top of the screen. The repro vets discussing Mandy's ultrasound. Again we checked Mandy's progesterone level, which seemed fine.
12 Nov
Today was x-ray day. An x-ray gives a more accurate count of the number of puppies than an ultrasound. Plus an x-ray helps in deciding whether to try to let Mandy free whelp or have a c-section.

Unfortunately, the x-ray showed only one puppy. (When they did the ultrasound, they must have seen the same puppy from different angles; not two puppies.) This explains why Mandy has not been plumping up as I expected. I was worried that I might not be feeding her enough. The reality is that she only has one puppy. Since a singleton puppy does not have to share nutrients with siblings, a singleton puppy is almost always too large to free whelp. So Mandy will be having a scheduled c-section. Exactly when this will be scheduled is still to be determined.

15 Nov
Another ultrasound and blood draw (to check Mandy's progesterone level). The repro vets tell me that everything looks good ... but that the puppy has not "cooked" enough yet to come out. Right now, the best guess is that Mandy will have her c-section on Saturday.

With the due date rapidly approaching, I spent today getting Mandy's welping box ready. (It really is the "nursery", as I never have had any puppies born in it. But because of its configuration, it is called a "whelping box".) First I had to move all the piles of books - unread, half-read, and books that I like to re-read - away from my bed, where they somehow seem to migrate. Then I washed down with a bleach solution all surfaces that the puppy will either come into contact with or be near. (This included the whelping box.) Here is Mandy checking out the welping box now next to my bed.

16 Nov
Another ultrasound and blood draw. This is what will happen each day until the repro vets decide Mandy's puppy is ready for a c-section. Again, the ultrasound shows that the puppy is doing well. Now the best guess is that the c-section will be either Saturday or Sunday. I went to the grocery store today to stock up, so that after the puppy comes, then I do not have to go out shopping for several days.
17 Nov
Another ultrasound, another blood draw, and another decision to wait. The ultrasound again shows that the puppy looks good and is doing fine. Besides a picture, the ultrasound machine is able to measure the fetal heart rate ... too low indicates a problem. But the fetal heart rate was fine at around 200 beats per minute.

Tthe repro vets tell me that they will do the c-section tomorrow, no matter what Mandy's progesterone number is. Sometime singleton puppies are so comfortable, that they do not signal to the mother (by a drop in progesterone) that they are ready to come out!