Monday, June 8, 2009

Seven Stars and "L" stands for Lucky

This is a post full of drama and changes of direction. From a smooth, perfect delivery, to hard labour, hardship and battle for life.

You guessed it right - Star´s pupipes have been finally born! Sorry for keeping those of you, who wait patiently (or less patiently :)) for any updates, so long, but we just needed time to get things settled down at least a little bit, and turn our house from a hospital-nursery and squat (with sleeping begs in the middle of our kitchen floor, etc.), into a more-less cosy home again.

On Saturday, June 6th, Star gave the most easy birth imaginable to 6 wonderful puppies. First 4 boys, followed by 2 girls. She started at 3:20 pm and the last puppy was born at 5:27.
Although I felt Star has one or two puppies left, she went into the totally relaxed after birth mode, obediently went for a walk to relief herself and ate her evening food without any fuss. The babies nursed nicely and Star was a happy mama.
I turned on the washmachine full of towels, used during the delivery, and we went to watch a movie, before feeding the dogs. What a good girl, Star. She will actually let us go to bed in normal time, the same way she let us sleep well, take care of dogs and garden, before she started labouring during the day.

With still somewhat strange feeling inside, I hardly focussed on the movie and kept checking the new family. We took some photos and I went on to start cleaning around the whelping box, changed the bedding, etc., while I noticed a sign of labour. Star had a series of slight contractions. I thought she might be passing out a placenta after the last puppy, but I was quite sure I saw it comming out together with the puppy. She went into deeper and deeper labour and convinced me she was giving birth to another pupp.

As we set in the kitchen, waiting for Star, not wanting to make sudden moves, as she worked hard, the time went by and the bad feeling in my stomach grew. Star moved around a lot, changed possitions, and whined softly couple times. She pushed hard, but except for a few drops of blood, nothing came out. She was clearly in trouble and this puppy was stuck. An hour of hard labour with no result was an impulse to start calling veterinary clinics that can perform a c-section and equally importantly - are open during weekend night. After three unsuccessful calls, finding out that the vet on duty could actually do it, but has no staff to asist him/her (what sense does it actually make to have emergency opening hours, but the vets are yet unable to operate??), we reached Vännäs, 300km (190 miles) far from us. As I had the vet on the line and explained situation, Star managed to give birth to the seventh puppy! It was a boy and unfortunately he was already dead. Despite our efforts to resuscitate him, suck water out of his nose and swinging him to get the water out of the lungs, it was too late. I weighed him carefully and noticed Star pushing hard again. Another puppy!

It was a girl. I saw her moving as she came out of the mother, and I saw her moving as I helped Star to break the sack around her, getting the puppy´s nose out of the water. But the puppy was not breathing suddenly. With only one thought in my mind "this one WILL make it!! I started to work hard on it´s resuscitaion. I rubbed the girl hard with the towel, sucked water out of her nose and swung her, wrapped in towl, in the air. She leaped couple times, but was still not the lively puppy I would like to see. After reapating the process of rubbing, swinging and sucking water out, she started to move, gasped for air and cried out the first puppy cry. Was the battle won? Not quite.

Although I made the girl breathe, for the next hour, she panted heavily, her mouth open and her heart beating hard, fighting for life. Her breathing calmed down after a while, but she cried and whined and wouldn´t drink from her mom. She was slipping away.
And so the sleepless night and morning continued. We wrapped the puppy in electrically heated blanket, and I made her supplemental puppy nursing forumla and fed her from a syrange. I gave her REIKI and placed her to her mom´s nipple to try to get her drink. She had problems to suck, as her breathing rythm wasn´t in order.

In the morning I made a call to one of the clinics to seek help what kind of antibiotics I should try to administer to the puppy, as it survived the night, and I feared pneumonia could start, after she had water on her lungs. I was told antibiotics would have to be aplied through Star, thus contaminating the other puppies, and it would be better to lose just one puppy, then putting to risk the others.
I was told, that if I really care for the puppy, I should keep feeding it and wrapped in wormth, and let nature decide. If I "really cared"?! What does that mean? I do care about all the puppies and if there are options to try to save anyone of them, I will try them all, before giving up. I can´t let the puppy lay around in a corner and watch it fade away, thinking: "well, that´s nature".

So after consulting with our veterinary team in Strömsund (thanks guys for taking those calls even when you´re off duty) and two great friends and experienced breeders Misa Purnochova and Karen Ramstead, I did what my inner sense told me and put the little girl on a mild dosage of antibiotics in paste, used for puppies.

We gave he more love and REIKI, and kept her warm and fed with the puppy milk supplement, witih probiotics and colostrum based imunoglobuline powder called Trasfer Factor. Throughout the day, from mostly sleeping and gaining energy, the girl went into trying to suck the mother milk, into actually sucking it with effort, by 6:00 pm. During the evening, she sucked all by herslef, and at night, she wouldn´t let any of her siblings push her from the nipple. She started to move around and join the puppy pile. Although we are on gurad the whole time and do not take anything for granted, we dare to believe that the girl is on a great track. Mabye it is because of the white spot in form of "L", on the back of her neck. We believe that "L" stands for LUCKY.

The whole litter is generally doing great and although I have already mentioned at least a dozen times how much I adore my dogs, I have to say it loud in here about Star. I totally admire her streght and atitude. The toughness, drive and determination she has been performing on the trail, was the same when she had hard times with this complicated delivery. And she managed to whelp all the puppies without a professional assistance. While many females would likely lose power to push, she was determined as a bull. If this attitude is carried onto the little fighter, she will recover fast, and if it is spred onto the whole litter, we might be blessed with seven little Stars.

We would like to express our huge thank you to all of you who had sent emails of good wishes, who sent positive vibes and prayers. And for all your concern, suggestions, ideas and advice! We apreashiate it greatly.

We will of course keep you all posted about all the latest news from the whelping box, and mainly about the brave little girl.

And now, enjoy some of the presious moments of the first couple days in the life of this new family. Canuck is a proud papa and we are proud breeders! :)

Star taking care of her first born son,
just a few minutes after he joined the world

Proud and dedicated mama

Star with all her seven babies, united
So little, and already performing one of those
"it´s a hard life" shows :)


yukonmusher said...

YAY! Congrats! Glad you were able to pull your little Lucky through, best wishes on her future! Give your self a big hug for the ability to stick it through and save her!
Having a vet(s)that are there when you really need them are priceless. We have one who I love. He has always been there and goes out of his way to help those that need it, he is simply an amazing vet.
Best of the fututre to your new team members! :)

yukonmusher said...

I ment to include having friends and breeders to call is so nice to...:)

Unknown said...

Congratulations to Star and Canuck and your whole household! L is for Lucky to have such caring owner/breeders and mother Star! And of course daddy Canuck, but he was probably blissfully unaware of much of the drama unfolding!

Unknown said...

Hello hello!

Amazing and thrill filled night you had! I admire your ability to see things the way they are and hope really much the best for "Lucky" and the rest of the litter!

Ingela also send her greetings and congratulations!

Unknown said...
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