Follow along as I share my experience of pursuing a lifelong dream. I will be posting a series of posts about my experience of breeding my first litter of shelties. The reality was quite different than expected, and combined with the challenges of running a business, I learned a bit about myself.
The little bundles of joys arrived the beginning of August. Blair had a easy time delivering the puppies.
3 boys and 3 girls. A little large for our first litter! We were expecting 5 based on the x-rays but a sixth one popped out, screaming and half the size of her littermates. Based on her noisy introduction to the world, she was promptly named Baby Blair.
Baby Blair required to be bottle fed to help her catch up to her siblings. Feeding a puppy from a bottle was the first unexpected challenge. Just getting the nipple opening to be the right size was a team effort with the vet fixing us up. Made it thru day 2!
Day 3. Escape to work for a few hours. A welcome change of pace.
Day 5. Evening. Baby Blair is not looking so good. Too curled up in the fetal position. Too quiet. Email breeder to see what to do. Pack up Baby Blair and take to breeders for their help. Panic has set in. After fluids, good feeding from the bottle and warmed on a heating blanket, she is released back to my care. I have a new bottle and instructions on how to give fluids. All is good!
Day 6. Morning. After fluids, Baby Blair is back to being too quiet and not looking good. Worse than the night before. Barely moves and cannot hold her head up. Call to breeders. Bring over right away! Wondering if she will make it. After 3 hours of fluids, caro syrup, bottle and heating pad she is back and squirming. With her small size, she is having a hard time maintaining her body temperature and getting dehydrated. Back to breeders as late night for more fluids to help keep her on track. I am now having to set a alarm for bottle feedings every two hours and fluids every 4 hours and put on heating pad after fluids to warm her up. I am not enjoying giving her fluids at all. In just a couple of injections, she has learned what it means when her little neck skin is lifted and she screams.
The first unsupervised fluid treatment seems to go well. She is moving about and nursing with her littermates. After the second fluid treatment I begin to wonder if I am helping or making it worse. She is not bottle feeding with her normal intenseness. I give her caro syrup to get a quick burst of energy in her. Not much of an impact now. There seems to be a pattern that after giving her the fluids she crashes. Keeping her on the heating pad is helping but how long can a week old puppy live with ups and downs?
Google and my favorite sheltie book, Sheltie Talk, are also providing great information. From youtube how to bottle feed a puppy to fading puppy syndrom. I call the vet again and they recommend bringing her in since we are doing everything we should and she is not responding. They find a way to fit me in and I pack her up in a little box.
On the way there she gets quite toasty and crawling all over the box. I am thrilled! She is going to make it? The vet examines her and finds no reason for her condition. She recommends pedialyte instead of the fluids as that may have been stressing her out and I may not have been warming it up enough. Such a relief as the entire week has been spent keeping her alive. And she loved the pedialyte! Plus Blair got some too to keep her fluids up.
The first week is over. Made it. So far.