Puppies, puppies!

Good afternoon, everyone! It’s time for an update on all the babies that have been showing up around here!

Many of you saw on social media that Mia had a litter of seven puppies on May 7th. They are now a week and a half old, and they are all doing so well! I’ve been having some trouble getting pictures on my website, but I hope to have a new computer set up by this weekend. So hang in there, and you’ll get to see the puppies soon!

Mia has a litter of six girls and one boy, and there is a beautiful variety of colors. There are several dark red puppies, a couple medium red/golden, and one or two apricot. The male puppy is the lightest and curliest of the litter, and for the first few days he struggled a bit. In the first hours after birth, he was dehydrated and sluggish.

After puppies are born and are cleaned off, they should do a fair bit of squirming and squeaking. They are constantly seeking the warmth and comfort of their mom. If she moves away, they start squeaking and moving around, searching for her. However, the male puppy did not do this. While all his siblings were moving about and making noise, he lay on his side and was quiet. If I helped him latch on, he would nurse. Then he would soon get pushed away by another puppy, and he was too weak to push his way back in. For the first few days, I supplemented him with 2-3 bottle feeds a day of fresh goat’s milk. This helped him stay hydrated, and he quickly got stronger and more vigorous. Now, his weight has passed up some of his sisters’ weights, and he is fully back to nursing from mom. Success!

Mia has been taking excellent care of her babies. I have been checking her temperature daily to watch for any signs of infection, and I’m on the lookout for other things like mastitis, etc. Mia is my oldest girl (she just turned seven in April), and with age, comes a higher chance of complications. Also, I’ve definitely been feeling more anxious just because what happened to Jade is on my mind. So I feel like I’m on double vigilance right now! But Mia has been easy on me, and she is doing very well.

I am really trying to soak in the joy of these puppies, since this is Mia’s last litter. She will be entering into a well-deserved retirement after this. If anyone is hoping to get one of my Mini Goldendoodles, definitely get in touch with me soon! There are some available puppies from her litter, and it will be a few years before we have any more Mini Goldendoodles.

While Mia is doing her best to go easy on me, Duchess is keeping me on my toes! I am beginning to think she enjoys doing that. 🙂 I had guessed that she would have a litter at the end of the summer, but she surprised me by coming into heat a week after Mia did. We knew this would mean having two litters at the same time, but we did it once before, so we decided we could do it again.

So here we are! I’d like to introduce you to our Summer 2021 Irish Setters!

Not only was Duchess ready to have puppies several months earlier than I expected, her delivery brought some challenges, as well. Her labor started Thursday morning, and she very quickly had three puppies born. Then there was a fourth puppy born that didn’t breathe and was unable to be revived. (This is always sad and unfortunate, but it’s simply something that happens at times. Nature isn’t always kind!)

At this point, when I felt Duchess’s belly, I could still feel some puppies. So I waited, fully expecting them to be born within an hour or so. But several hours passed with no more puppies being born. During this time, I was giving Duchess oral calcium paste, which is something that gives energy and helps the uterus to have strong, efficient contractions. Sometimes, low calcium levels can lead to slow, difficult labors because the uterus muscle is tired and weak. After four hours of waiting, what appeared to be a retained placenta was passed. (Usually a placenta is born with or right after a puppy. On occasion, it can be retained in the uterus, which is not a good scenario.)

I thought perhaps the retained placenta had been the reason for the stalled labor. At first I was encouraged, because I began to see more contractions. I was very hopeful that this meant the remaining puppies were finally on the way. I don’t usually get too worried about my dogs during labor. I’m always watchful, but the vast majority of the time, dogs can deliver puppies naturally on their own. They are truly amazing creatures. Even when complications arise, some quick intervention at home can often avoid the need for emergency veterinary care. Often, but not always.

Two more hours passed, and there were still no more puppies. I was able to feel at least two more puppies, and I decided I had tried everything I could and I had given nature as much time as I could. Now it was time to get to the vet and get those babies out. I was still hoping that Duchess simply needed a shot of oxytocin (a drug that starts contractions- very similar to pitocin that’s sometimes given to women in labor). When labor is stalled due to the uterus tiring out, oxytocin can help finish labor naturally.

Once at the vet, they did an x-ray to assess how many puppies were left and where they were positioned. The thing with oxytocin is, you can NOT give it if there is a stuck puppy. The x-ray showed three puppies. There were the two that I had felt at home, and there was a third one, hopelessly stuck (the vet describe it as “folded in half”) at the top of the birth canal. This meant the only option was a c-section. There was no way that this puppy could be born naturally. I made the guess that this puppy was likely already dead, but I hoped that the c-section would save the other two puppies.

I left Duchess at the vet and went home to wait. After a few hours, the vet called. Duchess had done great through surgery, and they were able to save two of the puppies. The stuck puppy was indeed dead already. I’m not sure if the puppy was dead because it got stuck or if it got stuck because it was dead. Sometimes, for unknown reasons, a puppy dies in utero. Those dead puppies are notorious for causing problems in labor, and they often get stuck. I don’t know if this was the case, but it’s very possible. It’s also possible that the puppy somehow entered the birth canal sideways and died as a result of being stuck for several hours.

Whatever the case, I was very grateful to be able to bring home a tired, but otherwise healthy mom and five sweet puppies. Losing two puppies is sad, and c-sections are no fun. But, like I said, nature isn’t always kind. All things considered, everything turned out as well as it could have.

On a rather funny note, Duchess’s puppies are all girls! So I have a litter of 6 girls and 1 boy from Mia, and 5 girls from Duchess. I’m not sure what’s in our water, but we are bursting at the seams with girls!

Thank you all for hanging in there and reading all of that! It has certainly been a busy and unpredictable week over here, but a week full of many of God’s blessings. I’m hoping my next week is a lot less eventful than this one, but we shall see!

Also there are puppies available from both litters. If you are interested, please get in touch with me!

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