We have had quite a harrowing three weeks.
While initially all seemed to be going well, on days five and six the
puppies began to cause concern as they didn't seem to be thriving as I
would have liked. All eleven puppies together with their mum were taken to
the vet to be checked out. It turned out that they were all dehydrated to
varying degrees, some critically, and Kim's milk had for some reason dried
up. Apparently this can sometimes happen after a caesarian and therefore
the puppies only chance of survival lie in hand rearing. This meant
feeding and the administration of electrolytes (to aid re-hydration) every
two hours around the clock. Antibiotics were also prescribed, but overall
little hope was held out for some of the weaker puppies. Things went from
bad to worse when shortly after returning from the vet, heartbreakingly one
of the little girls, who I had named Didi, died. I have to admit that at
this stage I really expected the worse for all of them, so tiny and defenseless
did they seem.
I think I survived that first twenty four hours on pure adrenaline.
However, over the next few days, with the aid of a few friends, a routine
developed which at least allowed an odd hours sleep! Three days latter
all of the puppies were still with us and every passing feed offered
me more encouragement and instilled more determination. Gradually they got
stronger and inexplicably Kim started to produce milk, but only from five
teats!! As they began to take more milk and mum was at least topping them
up a little, I managed to get more rest.
So here we are, three and a half weeks since their birth and although
not completely out of the woods all are eating solids, normally noisy and
seem to be doing well. I am of course totally shattered but feel blessed
that ten of the eleven still survive. This I attribute in no small part to
all of the help and encouragement that I received from my friends, to whom
I offer my wholehearted gratitude and thanks. Despite the tiredness,
heartache and stress if necessary I would do it all again; the reward is
at this moment sitting in the whelping box looking at me!!