We took a stray dog in the beginning of September. She was quite thin and in obvious need of some TLC. Shortly after being taking into rescue, it was obvious that she was indeed pregnant. Off to the vet we went and had some imaging done. Depending on how far along the pregnancy is (or we think it is) will determine if an ultrasound or x-ray is the best option. This mama showed 5 puppies in there, maybe 6. So we continued to get her food intake up to where it needed to be and make sure she was as healthy as could be!
Over the next two weeks she got bigger and bigger and bigger. We began taking her temperature and logging it. A dog has a dip in temperature 24 hours before they deliver. Mama was named Lucille since she is a red head. Sweetest girl in the world! We showed her the whelping box and began to prepare with supplies that we would need.
Once labor began it was a difficult one for her. She actually fought the labor and desperately wanted to get outside to have her puppies. We made her whelping box more den like and gave her plenty of quiet. She had her first puppy at 9am. Being so young, she didn’t really know what to do. We proceeded to have 4 more puppies over the next several hours. Okay, we are at 5! Our President checked her abdomen and felt several more in there. As labor progressed, 2 more puppies were born putting the count at 7! Still felt puppies in there. We helped her deliver another and she laid down to rest. 2 hours later we took her out to potty and examined her. We felt like there was still a puppy in there, but we were not positive. Low and behold number 9 was born. As we were cleaning and weighing that puppy we heard licking and looked over to puppy 10 that just came out! At this point we are floored. We cant even believe this 40lb dog just had 10 puppies.
We had an ultrasound done on Lucille. Unfortunately, the radiation of an x-ray can be harmful to the fetuses if it is done too soon. In rescue, we don’t know the date they were impregnated. Therefore our safest option is an ultrasound. An x-ray done after 45 days gestation will be the most reliable in telling how big the litter will be. There can still be one hiding on an x-ray but typically they are very accurate.
Needless to say, this was quite the surprise to us all. We didn’t even have enough colored ribbons to keep track of them. All are doing great and seem healthy. We promised Mama Lucille she would never have to do this again. Please spay and neuter your pets!