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 'Small Birth Weights'

A Diary of A Litter of Puppies with Small Birth Weights.

Montanna's Birth

11th Jan 03 Tarnisha fine in herself today although a little quiet. Being due tomorrow we are all getting nervous (as usual before the big day - I am expecting her to go tomorrow early hours and already have the whelping box positioned my bed, as her mother always goes to the day).  We have had 6 phone calls from friends to see if the big day has arrived yet.  We are looking so much forward to this litter, and it seems so is everybody else by the interest expressed for Ruby show puppies from this litter (if any).

12th Jan 03 Midnight, Slight panting has started, I don't feel as nervous as I thought I would,

12.30am Contractions start, Tarnisha totally screams with each one which is around every 30-35 minutes, Its amazing someone doesn't call the Police!! She is up on my bed screaming and sitting in my lap with each contraction (they are now 20 minutes apart). Is this normal??? Is because she is my baby and totally spoilt and wants me to do all the work or is something very wrong???

2.00am Quick Phone call to a Fellow Breeder in another state for advice as the screaming is coming with each contraction (now every 15 mins), and no sign of the 'Victorian Plum' or any watery discharge. She advises the screaming at this stage in labour is not right and to ring the vet for advice.

2.10am Phoned the Vet for advice, who suggests (and knows Tarnisha) that she could be screaming because she has been 'babied by me' all her life or there could be problems with the presentation of the first puppy, if there is no puppy delivered in the next 30 minutes to give her a call and then meet her out at the surgery for a possible Caesarean Section.  I arrange to pack the puppy crib (foam box with lid - which keeps the heat in), hot water bottles already filled, towels, blankets to keep the babies warm on the trip back.  A crate for Tarnisha as she will still be slightly druggy if she happens to have a Caesar, 2 hot water bottles for her .  Lead for her, Notes and times for each contraction.  I quickly down 2 paracetamol as I have what I refer to as the 'Whelping Migraine'.

2.45am Still no sign of Puppy, or anything else for that matter, I Wake my Husband as if there is going to be a Caesar the more hands we have to revive the puppies the better, or just incase she delivers when we are on the way to the vet, you cant drive and help deliver puppies at the same time..  I arranged to meet Vet at 3am at the surgery (as it is around a 25 minute trip). We wake up our older kids up to let them know whats happening, and get the younger kids out of their bed to take with us to sleep in the car.

3.00am Arrive at the Vet, and on the way, the watery discharge has started.  Vet still hasn't arrived yet, and we wait patiently but very nervous for 5 minutes.

3.10am On Veterinary Examination Puppy No 1 is breach, facing upwards (supposed to be facing down). Tarnisha has a stricture (even though she mated naturally) which needs to be broken for this puppy to be turned Manually in the right position. With the Vet working trying to turn the puppy around, I'm up holding the front of Tarnisha 2 inches off the ground, hoping this may help turn the puppy down (which is quite tiring). My husband is holding Tarnisha's back legs still as she is screaming in Agony and trying to get away and snapping at us (but I really don't blame her). It has taken a load of Lubricant to try to turn this puppy, but with no success so far. Tarnisha's given up pushing with the contractions and seems worn out. We cant help her with an Oxytocin injection as it would take 20 minutes to work and then the puppy may go back and stay in the same position, and we would need an emergency caesarean which would take time to set up.

3.45am Puppies bag breaks as he starts to turn due to the vet manually helping him, and unfortunately he has defecated in his bag. At least the vet can grip the back feet with each contraction to help pull him. Its not looking good for this little one even though he isn't born yet.

3.50am Baby born, he is breathing but due to Midline Failure (all his intestines are on the outside) he is soon euthanised after birth. He looks to be a small size around 110gms. Even if he didn't have Midline Failure due to defecating in his bag he may have suffered from an infection and died a few days after birth.

3.54am Tarnisha is given an antibiotic injection to help fight any infection due to the manual help of having this puppy.

 3.55am Examination shows next puppy coming Head First (Yeah). We stay at the vet to make sure there is no complications and once this one arrives are planning on driving home to deliver the remaining puppies.  The vet with heaps of experiences in whelping problems pushes the next baby down further so the birth will be imminent.

4.00am Next Puppy Arrives. Little Ruby Girl weighing 70gms (just over 2 oz). I am quite surprised as Indianna (Tarnisha's mother) has puppies around the 220-250gm mark. We are hoping she will be the runt of the litter, but with this size we realise she is in for an uphill battle. We now hope the others are of normal size.

4.40am Arrived home 20 minutes ago, Tarnisha is no longer screaming with Contractions just with the actual puppy making its way down the birth canal. Little Ruby Boy Born, Tarnisha has showed no sign whatsoever of breaking the sac or even eating the placenta. This little one took a long time to get going and was not breathing properly for 15 minutes only having occasional gasps (they gasp like fish). We shake the mucous out of his lungs, shake him and flick his feet. After the 15 minutes, we place him in a 'humidicrib' type of set up with a very warm water bottle. We give this little one a dose of medication to help open and drain his lungs, but things don't look good. This puppy is also small and he weighs in at 90gms. After 20 minutes I can hear him screaming and moving around the box, things are slowly starting to look up.

 5.15am Next puppy arrives, I manually do the bag and cord. Its a 120gm little girl - Tarnisha screams like she was more like a 400gm puppy. I am now feeling very guilty I even mated her, having to put her through this. This puppy seems fighting fit and breathes normally with a great set of lungs. Lets hope if anymore they are larger than this size.

5.30am Tarnisha snoozes for a sleep, I keep checking behind her in case she has one in her sleep (which I know of Cavaliers doing) and as they are so small its hard to see (especially when you are so tired)

6.00am Another puppy, sadly a 50gm little girl which couldn't be revived - if she was breathing she would have been in for a huge battle at this size.

7.30am No more, and I can only feel an enlarged uterus due to whelping. Take Tarnisha outside to the toilet. She goes to the toilet and as we get to the backdoor to come back inside, Tarnisha lets out a almighty scream. All our other dogs gather around to see what all the commotion is about. I quickly catch the puppy (no placenta attached), the cord is very short and I take off my shirt (thank god only one neighbour was outside - He probably thought I was taking my shirt off to be an exhibitionist) and rub the puppy and to my delight it squeals. Not sure if there was a placenta as I didn't see one, but wouldn't be surprised if one of the others ate it. Puppy is another girl and weighs in at 110gms.

13th Jan 03. Vet checkup confirms things don't look good, we have 10 per cent chance of pulling this whole litter through. Tarnisha has had experienced Placenta dysfunction (the placentas and the uterus didn't perform their job) and puppies were not getting enough nutrients and are small and 3 don't look normal. She feels we may save them, but I am up hill battle. The little boy already is starting to become dehydrated. All puppies are on medication, and I have to top them up every 2 hours. By the end of this day, I haven't sleep properly for 3 days and feel like my eyes are hanging out of my head. Now its my turn to help support Tarnisha and the' little mice' as they have become affectionately known. I have explained to my 5 children not to get too attached to this litter, just in case.

Today we have had quite a bit of support from fellow breeders offering advice, but its still early days and I'm currently praying for them hour by hour..

14th Jan 03. Both little puppies have put some weight on today, its looking quite good and I am hopeful.  I'm very sleep deprived and snapping at my husband with everything he says.  I don't like myself being like this, but I'm stressed and I cant control it.  Tarnisha is such a good mum, and I couldn't wish for anything more from her.

6.00pm Tarnisha's teats are all hard, warm and lumpy.  From advice from a few breeders we rush her off to the local vet as dogs can Die of Mastitis.  Tarnisha has been diagnosed in the early stages of Mastitis with me to watch and monitor her hour by hour for a change in milk colour/consistency.  If this occurs I am to solely wean these little babies all by myself.  Tarnisha is off-colour at this stage and is refusing to eat.  We have offered her all her favourite foods with her not even attempting to eat or seem interested.

7.00pm The little male puppy is starting to dehydrate again, not a good sign.  I give him 2 mls of Lectade to rehydrate him.  He seems to pick up slightly.

8.00pm The little boy is crawling away from Tarnisha which worries me.  The girl seems stable and looking filled out so hopefully we are jumping forward with her.

10.00pm The little boy is now crying quite a bit, he only stops when I pick him up.  I keep him for a few hours just in my top for body warmth.  He sleeps for all this time and is quiet.  After the 12.00am feed I place him back with Tarnisha for  a little while..

15th Jan 03 Its 4.30am and I have done 2 feeds since the last entry, I am feeling like a zombie due to lack of sleep - I have only managed 1.5 hours in the past 24 hours, running a business from home and having 5 kids with this happening is not good at all.  Tarnisha seems a little better in herself.  The little boy is having trouble breathing so after giving him to Tarnisha for a 30 minutes, I place him in a box besides the whelping box on top of a slightly warm water bottle.  I place him slightly downwards to drain anything that may be in his lungs

7.00am I have just had 2 hours sleep and am feeling a little better but very sick from lack of sleep - I keep imagining hearing the sound of babies crying but when I check its quiet..  I just checked the little boy but sadly he has departed for Rainbow Bridge sometime in the last 2 hours.

10.00am Tarnisha is looking for her little man.  Spoke to the stud owner who gives me suggestions on how to get Tarnisha tempted in food again. I have just prepared the formula so I go to get the little girl from the box and sadly she too has departed to Rainbow Bridge to join her brother in the past hour. 

12.00pm Tarnisha is checking all around my room for her two puppies ~ I feel so much for her, and cant imagine how much she actually understands.  We have 30 minutes of constant cuddles and licking of my face, sitting next to the whelping box while we both watch the last little two left from the six she carried.

2.00pm Tarnisha now seems interested in food if I hand feed her, it is a little time consuming - but worth it.  One of  the girls have gained  a little weight (10gms) but she has  not fallen back or stayed the same which is a bonus.  I bury the two little ones, and say a little prayer for each of them.  Its amazing how close you become with each 2 hourly feed.

15th Jan 03 The biggest little girl now weighs in at 200gms (Its now Our Normal Sized Newborn), The other however has stayed the same weight of 150gms for 2 days.  I will start Supplement feeding her again this morning.  Tarnisha's currently having a break from the box sitting in a bookcase keeping an eye over her 2 remaining babies.  I have Caught up on a little sleep over night, but am still waking up all the time during to night to check on them.  They now have names, We have called the littlest one Jordan and the bigger one Montana.

    

16th Jan 03. At weigh- in this morning, things are starting to look pleasing with Montana now at 220gms and Jordan now at 180gms.  Jordan has gained 30gms in 24 hours, with the supplement feeding.  Hopefully now we are on the right track. Hopefully with the weight gain we have had since birth, we have passed the vets 10% chance of survival ratio. Still we have a long way to go and anything can still set us back. The other thing I will worry about when the time comes - will be,  Have these 2 puppies had any Major Health Problems due to their undercooked status at birth such as Open Fontanelles ect.  My younger children cant understand what has happened to the two other pups, and keep asking where they are.

29th Jan 03. Puppies eyes are open today, both are going fine moving about the box.  Weight gain over the past few weeks is steady with both weighing in at over 500gms each, we are so happy that things are looking up.

Update: We placed Jordan in the loveliest pet home at the age of 9 months due to her small size. 

The Girls at 15 Months

Jordan (Braydnvale Tarnished Gold) &
Montanna (Braydnvale Etched InGold)

Music:
Tears In Heaven Eric Clapton



© Braydnvale Cavaliers 2004