Monday, January 26, 2009

4 days old (L-litter)

Well, I couldn't stand to watch the little girl get thinner and thinner. She's fighting hard to survive, so I've started supplementing her with a bottle.

She still weighs less than at birth, so the chance of her making it is slim. I've been calling her "Lark"--and it's really hard not to fall for her when I'm feeding her.

Here's a few pictures of the last day or two. You can see the size difference--the littlest puppy is around 230 grams in these pictures. The biggest is 454g.

Edit to add: Monday, the littlest girl is up to 240g; her siblings are 550-650.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

24 hours old, update

Puppies are well. I'm a bit worried about the littlest girl. She's lost a little bit of weight and seems a smidge dehydrated. I gave her a cc or two of a warm water/Nutrical mixture. I was hoping that would perk her up. She seemed to like drinking it, and I think most of it went down her, but she's not nursing right now, just sleeping. Ohhh... she just woke up and is working toward a nipple! (As I write this, she's started nursing--so maybe the Nutrical was enough to jumpstart her a bit.) This is where the moral dilemmas come in... I could pretty much ensure her survival for the next few days/weeks by tube feeding her several times a day (although this doesn't always work if there is something internally malformed). But I've now had to euthanize a few puppies at 6 weeks--puppies who were having malnourishment problems. Both of those puppies were saved through my intervention in the first few days or at 3 weeks or so. So, is it better to let nature take its course at this early stage?

At any rate, my policy is to help out, give syringes of water/nutrical to help keep the blood sugar up and minimize dehydration, but she's got to do the rest of the work of survival. Unless I change my mind.... which I might. It's hard, this puppy stuff.

(Little sable girl is still nursing well--maybe she just needed that jolt of calories and fluid.)

Here are my notes from this afternoon's weigh in:

8 3/8 oz
239 grams
slightly dehydrated, a little listless and cold

no white on chest
16 1/5 oz
475 g

13.6 oz
389 g
he's lost weight, seems strong and healthy, however

bicolor--maybe black/tan
tiny white star on chest
15 oz
440 g

bicolor with wh blaze
14 3/4 oz
419 g

bicolor--maybe more black/tan
tiny white star, white toes
15 3/4 oz
435 g

Weights are really hard to pin down because they wriggle on the scale. I'm using ounces b/c that is (1) what I am familiar with (a 16 oz GSD puppy is quite big, a 9 oz puppy is quite small, but I don't know the equivalent in grams and what to expect of newborns in grams). I'm switching to grams now because it is more accurate and a lot less guesswork in looking at the scale to see if weights are going up vs going down.

Genetically, the options for this litter are
* sable with a black recessive (Ash was this color)
* sable with a bicolor recessive (Danca's color)
* bicolor with a black recessive (like Coal)
* bicolor with a bicolor recessive (like Hunter)

(Although it is possible that Danca carries the black and tan recessive with a modifier gene for heavy black coverage--but it's a lot harder to know and the "experts" disagree about this element of GSD color genetics.)

For the genetics geeks in the audience, color hierarchy in GSDs looks like this:

Black/tan pattern
Bicolor pattern

The shade of the tan/brown/red on the dog is not related to the pattern.
There are also probably some coverage modifiers, so you can have a really light black and tan or a really dark ("blanket back") or a sable like Frost vs what is called a "black sable."

If anyone wants, I could post color examples. (Hmm. What I should do is put it up on my website as information for all.)

L-Litter Born - Jan 22, 2009

3:40 am -- sable male, 14 oz

5:10 am -- bicolor male, 15.5 oz

More to come--but Danca thinks she's all good, she's got 2 babies, she's done. HAHAHAHAA.

She's doing well--not stressed now she's got babies to care for. She's done this all before. She's very watchful and careful with the pups--she wouldn't get up and push hard on the 2nd boy until I held the first one safe out of the way. And while she's pushing, she's got one eye on the pup in my hands.

Two ninja births, almost twins, while I'm dozing on the futon. I hear her cleaning them and get up to see these two big boys still very wet.

6:45 am (ish) -- bicolor male, 15.5 oz, very solid looking, bits of white on the soles of his feet

6:55 am -- bicolor male, 15 oz

2-3 more to go. What are the odds the next on will be a girl? 50/50 Come'on little girls!

9:25 am -- bicolor girl, 15 oz

Danca is very happy with her brood--she'd like to be done now, kthx.

Ruffian is glued to the edge of the puppy pen--she's never seen anything so amazing in her life.

9:50 -- sable girl, 10 oz

Aww, Danca did good. I'm hoping she's done now, not sure yet. The last one was the easiest--a little sable girl like mom herself.

The 2 last-born pups are on the right--the sable female and the bicolor female. You can see the size difference--she's little, but she seems strong and is nursing well. Next to her is the firstborn sable boy--he's quite solid.

I'll see about getting more, better, pictures later. I'm going to take a nap right now.