Watercubs & Kivisilmän
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Puppyblog for V - litter (17.4.2014)
The puppies sure have grown and have started to show their personalities! At the moment they are going through all the different behavioural models; so one day one might seem like the underdog and another the topdog. Even though I'm using these terms for this comparison, everything really is much more subtle. Despite monitoring the pups pretty much 24h during the time they are with us, we haven't noticed any very strickingly different temperaments (or conformations). This is a very positive thing though, as it only confirms that the puppies are from a very homogenous litter; we've succed well (at least basing our opinions on what we've seen up until now). Their weights haven been within 500g's of each other, so there really has not been a "fatso" or a "runt" of the litter (as one might perhaps think especially with such a large litter).
During the last week we've had about 2-3 families visit the puppies every day. It's great fun for the families, and it's great socialization for the puppies. Morgan's family has also been visiting us weekly and have gotten to experience first-hand on how quickly the pups grow! During their last week's visit we trimmed Merita's ears and paws (for them to practice as Merita won't be showing for a while), and also cut cut Morgan's nails. Next weekend Morgan will be going home for a day, and then the weekend after that he'll already be moving home, as will sisters Maia and Aqua! Kelvin, Thelma and Haka will leave a week later, and Brook, Jona, Silver, Kimber and Finny the week after that. Time really does go by quickly!
Both Ruuti and Baron have met the puppies - they don't really mind them, and the puppies give them their space without being too nosey. Merita absolutely loves spending time with the puppies though, and the puppies really know how to respect her too; they won't bother Merita or try to suckle, bite or nip when she's just spending time with them. She will get up to let them suckle properly every now and then, but the pups don't really even try unless it's right after their proper meals.
The pups are now eating four times a day; veggies in the morning, then fish, tripe or hearts, and chicken. They eat about 1.5-2kg's per meal!
At 5.5 weeks our vet came for a home visit to microchip the pups & give them their first parvo vaccination. The all received an "all clear" with a general physical exam & auscultation. They've been dewormed twice and their nails have been clipped four times already. They've also been introduced to a brush, but we haven't had any proper grooming sessions yet. We won't give them a bath until just before they leave us.
Merita is doing well - she's still kept her coat and hasn't lost any weight. She just seems to be enjying "motherhood".
A little something about everyone. Though I do need to say that each and everyone of the pups is MUCH more than just these one or two sentences, and quite a few do have a lot of the same in their temperaments. It was difficult trying come up with something DIFFERENT for everyone. They do so much and so many little silly things that I could talk about them all day, but here's an "essence" of them ;-) :
Thelma - she looooves to bite. She will walk from one thing to the other and just "taste" it a little. If she likes it, she'll continue chewing on it, if she doesn't she'll find something else.
Haka - he loves to dig and try to find himself a cool place to lay in. Usually we see him either trying to dig his way under the carpet, or behind the puppykennel (that no-one uses!)
Jona - he likes to do his own thing, but joins in play whenever there's anything going on between two other pups.
Morgan - he's very social. If we have any visitors, he's the one who stays there to be petted and fussed over for the longest
Maïa - she's very playful. We always find her play-wrestling with the other pups. She's not though the one that's on top, but more of the one that's under the other pup, but biting and growling and chewing the other pup's ear!
Aqua - she takes eye contact really well. When I kneel down to take photos of the pups, she's the one who'll come close and look up and just seek for any attention she can get.
- (silver boy) - he likes his food for sure, though he does keep his figure! When we fed them their first chicken wings, he was the one to eat his up first, he's the one who will notice when food's about to be served!
Kimber (black girl) - she loooves to carry things. Whenever there's a brown carrying something, we know it's Kimber!
Brook (brown boy) - he's a pretty active boy, but whenever he's on our lap, he's like made of quicksand. He is just so utterly relaxed.
Phineas (blue boy) - he follows and chases after toys very eagerly - does then take it and move it to wherever he things the toy should be kept
Kelvn (pink boy) - He's a very active boy, would decribe him with the word "tomera"; he carries himself proud even during play.
The puppies invaded our living room at about 2.5 weeks of age - they have since developed their motor skills by not only running around the pen, but also through starting play. Their play behaviours are not yet fine-tuned to what they will become, or what they will be in a week's time, but they have started pawing each other and sucking/biting each other playfully. They've also started to test each other by pawing, grawing and even slightly growling or barking. They've also started to play with whatever they have in the puppy pen by taking a hold of for example a rug corner and dragging it around the pen. Their movements are steadier and they've started taking some trotting steps also.
The puppies are on raw solid food three times a day. They will get their veggies together with salmon oil in the morning. And they'll get a sold raw feed (fish, tripe etc) around midday and again in the evening. Merita still lets them drink after every meal - four at a time - so that they won't need to compete for the food.
We always love it when they move to the living room, because it means that we can resume our everyday routines and we can just sit on the sofa, watch TV and hold a calm, relxed puppy on our lap for the evening. The puppies are used t TV sounds and just think it's normal to hear gun shots and police sirens ;-). They can hear accurately already and do head to the puppy pen gate whenever we are heading into the pen.
The pups haven't been outside yet only beause of the terrible weather we've been having. Hopefully that'll change soon and they can start their outdoor exploration trips. The puppies would be ready, but we're just waiting for the next sunny day!
The puppies have already reached their 3kg mark and have started feeling heaver when we carry them around. It is a great feeling though having a completely relaxed puppy in your arms even when you're moving.
The puppies are all now two weeks (17 days). They've all opened their eyes and ears, and seem to be growing and developing at the same rate as all the puppies from our previous smaller litters. Merita has plenty of milk, which has been a relief, since we have not had to supplement at all. They will be weaned onto raw food at about 3 weeks of age (in about a week). They know how to find Merita's teats really well - you can just hear them sniffing their way back to them if they get lost, or a little further away. They all know how to keep their places when it's feeding time! The ones who eat last always get the first feedings the next time; that's how we keep peace at the Salmelin puppy family ;-)!
Merita takes care of the puppies very meticulously. Even though the puppies have been able to defecate on their own (sometimes with a little help though) since about day 7-8, Merita still insists on helping :-). The puppies are walking on all four as long as they get a good grip from the surface (as they do in their puppy area). They started getting up around day 7-8, and by now they are actually pretty steady on their feet. It does help that they can see now where they are going ;-)! We've heard a couple of barks already and have also seen some play behavours developing.
Merita is doing really well - she was taken off all medication on day 8, and has been thriving. She really, really loves her puppies. A couple of days ago we took Thelma upstairs into the living room for a little one-on-one time; Thelma was laying on her back on our lap, with both Merita and Ruuti licking her all over.
All the puppies will be moving upstairs into our livingroom within the next couple of days :-).
The puppies' nails have been clipped twice (days 7 & 16), and they've been all dewormed today as per routine. The biggest pup has already crossed the 2kg mark, but overall it has been a very steady-sized litter.
As other definitely puppy blog worthy news: Daddy Elboy was Best of Breed at the Courseulles sur Mer speciality show (56 entries). At the same even he also successfully passed the 2nd waterwork degree (placing Excellent 4th in the class)! Huge congratulations and we hope the puppies will follow in his footsteps :-)!
Days 6&7 (Wednesday&Thursday):
The puppies are already BIG puppies!
As probably most of you've already guessed, we have started the Battaglia handling with the puppies. It takes quite a bit of time and slows the feedings a bit especially with such a large litter, but basically every time a pup comes off feeding or goes to feed, we'll do one of the excercises with it. We are being careful to make sure the puppies are utterly relaxed and calm both before and after the exercise. They definitely are getting used to being handled!
Even though Merita still has a high temp and still has bright red bloody discharge, we do feel that she is feeling better every day. She is still reluctant to bite on anything hard, so we've been giving her a mix of unsalted bacon & puppy milk & veggies & minced meat & tripe & canned food. Once we know for sure that she's getting all the energy she needs from the food to be able to produce enough milk & sustain herself, are we able to just wait until she eats on her own, rather than constantly trying to tempt her to eat. At the moment she eats about 3kg's a day, totaling to about 15€'s a day!! And even with that amount, I have started feeling her get thinner.
Merita has SIPS (subinvolution of placental sites), which basically means that the endometrium (uterine wall) where the placentas were attached is not healing as quickly as it should. It can take weeks or even months to heal properly. We'll continue with the medication a little longer, hoping the endometrium will repair with just patience and time. If the bleeding is persistent enough to cause anaemia (severe enough blood loss), the option will be to spay Merita. We are hopeful though that we wouldn't have to.
Merita has started sleeping not only in the downstairs bathroom (claimed it as her "den"), but also suprisingly in front of the front door. She'll take probably 30 minute breaks from the puppies, sleeping wherever, just going to check on the puppies every now and then.
Merita taking care of the pups
The first ones to break the 1kg mark are: blue boy & Sonar & Brook! I'm not at all surprised in Brook's case though, because he is the official Big Eater, being the 1st one to eat to the point of getting a tummy ache! He would not stop crying, and so Ruuti ran downstairs to lick him from head to tail and tail to head several times over. Merita continued feeding the others and let Ruuti do what she is best at: taking care of pups. It felt like Merita was just relieved she didn't have to deal with the cry baby ;-). Let's hope *knock on wood* that that was the first and last time these guys eat that much! Though I do have to say that I do sometimes laugh at the ones who eat their tummies so full that when another pup comes and steals their teat (a teat they've fallen asleep on still suckling), they are turned on their backs, and have trouble rolling back over ;-). It's time for them to be cleaned and put away to sleep for a while ;-).
Wednesday was the first day we had to loosen the collars up & Thursday everyone received their first nail trims. They do grow pretty quickly!
Aqua showing how well they are lifting themselves up already (this is on a soft surface) - Kimber is the one who we never ever ever seem to get a good photo of, always doing something unexpected when the shot is taken (like in this case absolutely insisting on finding a nipple to suckle on, on the blanket)!
I (Bettina) am on my way back to the UK to continue my veterinary studies, but I'll be back with the puppies possibly in mid-May for a week and then definitely again from the end of May onwards. This is just to say that the blog & photo updates will start being weekly updates instead of daily / every other day.
Merita carefully looking after the puppies - she does seem to enjoy motherhood
Days 4&5 (Monday&Tuesday): Easter Monday!
Merita still had high temperatures and quite a lot of bright red mucoid bleeding on Monday, but after changing her medication around, she is now feeling much better (Tuesday). Her temperature has gone down (now around 38.9C) and her bleeding has nearly stopped. She is definitely coming around towards better. She even had the energy to give Ruuti a little unexpected growl yesterday ;-). Ruuti still inists on keeping an eye on how Merita & the pups are doing. She comes down probably every two-three hours. I do though have a high suspicion that she might be motivated by all the food we carry down for Merita ;-). She hasn't YET had a chance to steal any of it, BUT she does get all the leftovers (which at the moment is quite a bit - because Merita is still being very picky with her food).
The puppies are growing really well - we can just see the numbers climbing up higher and higher, and the puppies getting bulkier and bulkier. They are pretty good at moving pretty quickly! We are already seeing some interesting behavioural differences in the pups. It's too early to say if they'll keep these behaviours, but differences can definitely be seen. We've shut our eyes on evaluating their structures for the moment, because one day they'll look round like footballs, and another thin lean athletes.. We are of course keeping an eye on them, but our next structural evaluation point will be at around 5-6 weeks.
We've decided on all the official names:
Thelma (purple girl) - Kivisilmän Vompatti (Wombat) - moving to Finland
Haka (light blue boy) - Kivisilmän Vastakaiku (Echo) - moving to Finland
Jona (blue boy) - Kivisilmän Valtameri (Ocean) - moving to the USA
Morgan (green boy) - Kivisilmän Visentti (Bison) - moving to Belgium
Maïa (red girl) - Kivisilmän Vesihiisi (Water fey) - moving to France
Aqua (yellow girl) - Kivisilmän Villivarsa (Filly) - moving to Hungary
- (silver boy) - Kivisilmän Virtahepo (Hippopotamus) - moving to the USA
Kimber (black girl) - Kivisilmän Vellamo (Goddess of the sea) - moving to the USA
Brook (brown boy) - Kivisilmän Valashai (Whale shark) - moving to the USA
Phineas (blue boy) - Kivisilmän Vetehinen (Water fey) - moving to the USA
Kelvn (pink boy) - Kivisilmän Vesimittari (Water strider) - moving to Finland
Day 3 (Sunday):
The puppies are growing well - they've all gained weight since birth, and one is already over 800grams! The next weight targets will be everyone passing the 1kg mark - and then having them double their birth weights by about 7 days (sometimes plus a few days). We're taking weights at 6AM and 6PM daily (when the person in charge of the puppyshift swaps over), for us to be able to follow that everyone is gaining a little weight every time. Just think though that if every puppy were to double their weight within the week.. that would mean gaining about 600 grams a week, gaining about 85grams a day. And multiplying that by 11 puppies.. Merita would have to be producing enough milk to satisfy about 1kg of growth every single day!
It is good therefore that she's eating well! Because of her being only hand fed, and her only eating soft food for now, we made up a mix of some minced meat, veggies and a couple of hole eggs (with shells). She seems to be eating that well, which is great as we can start gradually reducing the canned food portion of her diet, and start changing her to a more appropriate well balanced raw diet.
Merita still has a high temperature (up to 39.4C) and now some bright red discharge, but she is bright and eats and drinks well. And takes care of the puppies well. We're not overly concerned, but we are of course worried. She is a true trooper though and hope she gets better soon.
For the first time since the whelping, she actually took a twenty minute break away from the pups. Rather than racing down to go see the pups after her walk, she did go see them, but came back up to go sleep in the cool downstairs bathroom. She relaxed for a little bit before heading to her duties as the "milk machine" and "bum cleaner" :-). Right now she is feeding a set of four pups while snoring loudly :-).
Another change we've noticed is that she's started feeding the puppies while sitting up, rather than just laying down. All of ours always change to sitting up at some point, but usually when the puppies are slightly older.
We had our first puppy visitors today - green boy'll be moving to them in about 7 weeks time :-).
Feeding sitting up, can you spot the pups? - Red girl (Maya) is already FULL :-)
Two levels of pups feeding, Merita is on her back
Today morning Merita's temperatures were within the normal range, and have stayed fairly still at a high normal range. The drugs must be working. She is her bright self, eating and drinking well. Still a very, very picky eater (nothing bigger than a cheesecube, and only when hand fed), but when she starts, she'll eat big quantities at a time. She also has much less discharge than what she had yesterday. All in all, all's good.
The puppies are a very strong bunch! They are still around their birthweights (normal), but they're becoming bulkier - their muscles are clearly developing. Yesterday taking their individual photos we noticed them already doing the "push ups"!
Orange boy (Jona)
We had a revelation that Merita sleeps much better when there's background music on. We stole the kitchen radio turned it onto Iskelmaradio / QMusic, and the snoring started!
Merita is clearly very hormonal - she almost yanked my arm off trying to go dig the outside dens even bigger! I let her do a little digging, and funnily enough she did again use her mouth to rip about thumb wide roots off the ground and throw them in the air! Making the den ready for when the pups go outside ;-)!
Newlyborn V-litter - day 0
Day 1 - Not much really to type about other than say that the puppies and Merita are all doing well :-). The puppies were already climbing out of their baskets (that we've successfully always used for the other litters for the first week!), so we decided to dedicate the whelping area as their sleeping quarters - and move the feeding area to the other side (where we normally keep the heat lamps and pups). The puppies are divided into sets of 5 + 6, which allows us to more easily remember and rotate those who have fed / haven't fed yet. There's puppies suckling pretty much non-stop at the moment. When one set's finished - the other one starts - and vice versa. Merita drinks a lot & goes out every three or so hours for a little wonder. Merita has managed to fall into a deep sleep (of snoring, howling and running in her sleep) a couple of times - which is great :-).
Merita cleaning orange boy's (Jona) bum - Purple girl (Thelma) suckling
We gave her hind end a little wash & dry, and we've managed to take photos of the puppies also :-).
Just as I had finished writing the above paragraph Merita took a turn for the worse. From her normal bright self she changed to being very lethargic very very suddenly (within about a 15 minutes or so - not a gradual change). She would not move, would not get up, would not even lift her head up. She had temperature of 40C (normal dog range 37.5-38.5C). It is normal for the dog to have a little temperature the first few days after whelping - but this was extreme! We called our vet who headed straight over in a rush (thank you!) - did a full checkup, gave her an antipyretic, antibiotics and drugs to promote some more uterine contractions. The differential diagnosis was perhaps some placental remains causing bleeding and a potential secondary bacterial infection. Merita is a trooper, but we were scared - never having had a dog in such a state before. Merita is coming around and behaving much more like normal now. Lets hope that's all she'll need to go through. She is eating and drinking well. The puppies are doing well also.
The best word I can sum the whelping to is: "easy". Merita started her opening phase April 16th around mid-afternoon, which consisted of her running outside every hour or so. Overall she was pretty uneasy as you can imagine (mostly due to her not knowing what was happening), but less so than what our previous girls have been during their first whelpings. Thursday morning (17th April) around 9AM we turned the radio on, Merita climbed onto mum-Ruuti's lap, put her head on her tummy, and that's when her waters broke. We remember Ruuti doing the same: going to her mum-Capri for support when her whelping had commenced. Ruuti even jumped a fence to come downstairs "supervise" Merita's whelping.
Ruuti supervising - Merita with a basket of pups
Merita moved downstairs into the "whelping room".
The order of the pups:
# 1 at 11.15 - purple collar - brown girl - 670 grams
# 2 at 11.20 - light blue collar - brown boy - 570 grams
# 3 at 12.00 - orange collar - brown boy - 630 grams
# 4 at 13.35 - green collar - brown boy - 580 grams
# 5 at 13.05 - red collar - black girl - 600 grams
# 6 at 14.00 - yellow collar - black girl - 490 graams
# 7 at 15.30 - blue collar - black boy - 510 grams
# 8 at 16.03 - black collar - brown girl - 640 grams
# 9 at 17.15 - brown collar - black boy - 550 grams
# 10 at 18.05 - grey collar - black boy - 560 grams
# 11 at 18.50 - pink collar - brown boy - 530 grams
The first few whelpings were conducted by us reassuring Merita that everything was OK (she didn't really know what was happening and was a little worried), but once she'd delivered the first two and had them suckling - she just "knew" what to do with the rest. A couple of times she would though climb into my lap, look me into the eyes and "ask" for some reassurrance. When she got it - she would deliver a pup, lick it dry, eat the placenta and trim the cord. Most of the puppies she delivered standing up, a couple laying down, red collar while turning to go on her back!, and brown collar while squatting outside ;-) (yes, I did do my magic catch in the air for that special boy!) All the puppies came out without any real effort from her part. We did notice though that having puppies suckling induced contractions - and so we kept them on the teats for as long as we could until the next one came etc. She did much less "bed making" than any of our other girls - but when she did - she even ripped the newspapers with her mouth!
Funnily enough pretty much all the puppies "came to order". When we hoped for a black girl after all the brown - we got two. When "ordered" the next one to be a black boy - we got one :). And when we told her to "put a plug in it" - she did ;-). All the puppies were very strong from the start, all heading for the teats straight off. Merita didn't start producing much milk though until about half way through. Now (day 1) she is producing enough milk to satisfy everyone's hungry tummy. Merita herself has been drinking puppymilk (diluted) and eating canned dog food. She had some mince earlier today also. She's been very picky with what she'll eat - she won't eat anything bigger than a cheesecube. And she totally refuses to bite on anything hard. We were wondering if it had something to do with "instincts" of being careful not to eat a pup?? Possbily? Anyway, as long as she's eating at least something, that's OK. She should start eating normally within probably a weeks time.
Thelma (purple), yellow girl, Maia (red) and Phineas (silver) drinking
The proud parents:
EE CH & LUX J CH Kivisilmän Rutikuiva "Merita" (b. 03.06.2011)
CIB Elboy du Domaine de Flambeau
"Elboy" (b. 14.09.2009)
*The test result will not influence the breeding due to the stud (Elboy) being cystinuria free.
Due to the inheritance pattern, all the puppies will be cystinuria healthy, regardless of Merita's result.
little about the sire:
little about the dam :