Sunday, August 24, 2014
A Bit Of A Scare
Everything seems to be back to normal today, but Fern gave us a bit of a scare yesterday! She's producing plenty of milk and the pups are gaining weigh quickly, but Fern hasn't been eating very well. A little deli chicken, some ground turkey, but no regular meals. She just wasn't interested. Some bitches have upset stomachs after whelping, and allowing them to eat the placentas is often blamed. Eating placentas is natural behavior and I try to intervene as little as possible during whelping, leaving the bitch to rip open the sack, clean up the pup, and cut the cord. Most Dal girls have good instincts, and Fern was no exception. She did most of the work while I tried very hard to keep my hands out (as much as possible).
Late yesterday afternoon I heard a pup screaming and raced down to see Fern standing in the box, wild-eyed and panting, with a pup in her mouth. She leaped from the box and tried to get out of the pen with the pup - trying to move it to another (in her mind, safer) location. We've encountered this occasionally in the past, where the bitch gets restless and wants to move the pups somewhere/anywhere. It makes me nervous when bitches carry pups in their mouths, and Fern made me very nervous as she was determined to move the pups. We started her on oral calcium (I have it on hand for whelping), Tums (calcium carbonate) and spoon fed her vanilla ice cream. Her temperature was normal but her ears felt hot and she was panting heavily, so I wiped her face and ears down with a wet towel. The next two hours were stressful for all of us as Fern was restless, Kept trying to dig up her rug, and whenever we were not watching carefully, she'd pick up pups and move them around - interestingly, she picked up the black-collared pup about 90% of the time. Her favorite?
We gave Fern additional calcium, and more ice cream, and things finally settled down. We also added some small towels to her box so she could do some "nesting" without digging up the rug and run the risk of burying her pups and accidentally laying on them. She ate her first regular meal later in the evening, and had an uneventful night. Ron and I took turns keeping an eye on things, but Fern seemed to be back to normal. No more wild-eyed looks, or frantic behavior. She's fine this morning, and the pups look wonderful. Hopefully it will stay that way, but we'll keep a close eye on things today!