Sunday, July 6, 2014

Our singleton - the first five weeks

As in more recent years it seems we've been checking off the many things that breeders can experience when producing a litter, apparently it was time for our singleton experience. Eta was bred to Apache via AI in early April and though the timing appeared to be good she ended up carrying only one puppy. Based on an x-ray which showed the one pup looking rather large and in a breached position, I opted to work with a reproductive vet in order to ensure the best possible outcome for both Eta and pup. Per a phone consultation with the vet, we showed up at the clinic shortly before 8am on May 31st to begin monitoring and testing. Although progesterone was still high, the fetal monitor revealed a low heart rate on the pup, indicating distress. Because we were fairly certain we were within 1-2 days of Eta's actual due date, but not at all confident she would be able to deliver without assistance, the recommendation was to perform a C-section that day. Both Eta and pup came through beautifully.

We took them home and everything seemed fine but for the first four days the puppy lost weight. She was born weighing 11.9 oz and by the Wednesday following her birth was down to 8.8 oz. While it is not unusual for a newborn puppy to lose up to 10% of their birth weight in the first day or so, the puppy's loss was at least 25%, so 1-2 days in I starting supplementing with formula. On Wednesday she leveled out and began to gain weight again. At just over five weeks, she is now above 4lbs and continues to thrive.

She has four white feet and a white chest and is quite active. It's too early to say if she's a keeper but for now we are enjoying watching Eta bond with her pup and keeping a close eye on them both to ensure they continue to thrive.


Day 22 was the first attempt since supplementing she's been offered anything other than Eta's milk. I poured a little goat's milk into a saucer, then mixed in just a bit of finely ground turkey. I dabbed my index finger into the mixture and offered it to her, then repeated the process twice more before positioning her over the dish. She caught on pretty quickly and lapped up most of what was there. I think she may be fairly easy to wean, which seems odd to me since Lark's small litters have always seemed resistant.

The pup currently resembles a pot bellied pig as we are feeding her 2-3 times a day as we accelerate the weaning process and she still has quite a bit of access to her mother so she can continue to have company and learn from her.