Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Delivery and what to expect

In a normal delivery, a pup emerges headfirst. When a pup comes out feet first, it is a breech delivery. We had several presented in that position. (Breech deliveries are not at all uncommon.) Each pup is born encased in a transparent sac or membrane. This sac or membrane will be the first thing you see as the pup is expelled. It will be bulgy and transparent and you will see the pup inside. The sac will be attached by a cord to the placenta, which should come out after the pup. Be sure you have the litter born on something you don’t care about being stained. It won’t wash out. The placenta or afterbirth is the means by which the fetus is nourished within the uterus.

If the sac breaks on the way out, quickly bring the pup to the bitch's attention, if she hasn't already gone to work on it. Ordinarily, the bitch will break the sac with her teeth and gnaw off the navel cord to within one inch of the pup's navel. There are several breeders who feel they need to do this part but we just watch and only interfere if help is necessary. If the bitch doesn't break the sac or chew off the navel cord, you will have to take care of these. Pick up the sac with the pup inside (use a clean cloth) and break the sac near the pup's head. Do it by gently stretching the membrane or hooking a finger into it and carefully pulling it apart.

Next, put the pup down where the bitch can lick and clean it. This also stimulates continued birthing. It is imperative that the pup be cleaned. When the sac is broken, the pup should gasp for air. Breathing may be impeded because of mucous in the pup's nose, throat or lungs. This mucous must be removed. If the bitch will not clean the pup or it doesn't gasp for air, you will have to take over.

Quickly wipe any excess mucous from the pup's mouth. Open the pup's mouth, take a medicine dropper and suck out any mucous. Rub the pup vigorously with a clean, dry cloth, both with and against the lie of the hair. The rubbing will help to stimulate circulation.

If, after these administrations, the pup still doesn't gasp for air, you'll have to use more drastic measures. Wrap the pup in a clean cloth, hold it cupped in your two hands, with the head toward your fingers, and swing the pup downward in an arc in front of you. Stop the swing suddenly, but hold on to the pup. The centrifugal force plus the sudden stop usually clears out the mucous.

Another emergency measure to get the pup breathing is to use a rubber tube and syringe to withdraw the mucous. Insert the tube well into the pup's mouth and squeeze the syringe to aspirate the mucous. Keep working on the pup and don't let it get chilled. We fill up a rubber glove with hot tap water and tie it off. It’s a warm hand with warm fingers to wrap around the pup. Remember not too hot.

Artificial respiration is not always practical. But you can insert the rubber tube in the pup's mouth (take off the syringe) and try forcing your own breath down. When you try this, proceed as follows: breathe air into the tube, stop, then press gently on the pup's ribs in the region of the lungs. Be careful, you can easily break the pup's rib case. Keep working to make the pup breathe; don't give up too quickly.

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