Sorry for the erratic blogging at the moment, as I am getting days when I can't load my site to edit. Not sure if it has anything to do with usage in my area and also weather conditions. We have poor internet connection on a good day where we are. I find the only time I can get on here and the site will load is early morning, which I presume is when internet usage is lower. Anyway I'm here now.
Teagol reached 8 weeks (56 days) since her first mating with Puddin' on Saturday. Bitches can whelp as early as 56 days, but we are on borderline viability and that stage. So although my daughter Florrie and me are eager to meet Teagol's pups we know that it is in their best interests to hang in their for a few more days. The puppies skeletal form can now be felt when a hand is held against Teagol's abdominal area and as they move around you can make out parts of each pup like a paw or head. It is getting a tight squeeze in there for them and Teagol shows obvious discomfort sometimes, when they are vigorously moving about. Due to her size and a bitches womb can only accommodate so much. This factor would lead me to expect her pups arriving sooner rather than later.
So Teagol is on close watch now and temperature taking started a few days ago. A drop in temperature 12 to 48 hours before the onset of labour is what we are looking for now. This drop in temperature, which only lasts for a few hours is pretty reliable if you catch it, so temperature taking should be done at least 4 times a day in the week leading up to full term and recorded. A drop of 1 °C compared with the average for the previous days will indicate that labour is not long away.
The temperature change is due to hormonal changes in the bitch. A bitch on the verge of whelping undergoes considerable hormonal changes which are essential in triggering contractions. Oestrogen levels will increase slightly, but progesterone levels in the blood which have remained high until now to keep the pups safe in the uterus will drop sharply. This sharp drop of blood progesterone levels, during the 12 to 48 hours that precede the onset of labour, disrupts the bitch's body temperature regulation, causing the transient drop in temperature we are waiting to observe.
A vet would use blood progesterone levels in determining whether or not a bitch is at full term for a client if mating time was not know or the bitch was mated several times over several days to know if to start to intervene with a c-section etc. If a bitch's basal progesterone concentration was less than 2ng/ml it would indicate she is full term.
The actual duration of pregnancy in dogs, when the time of ovulation is known, does not show any great variation. The average across all breeds is 63 days. However when ovulation is not known. This can vary from 56 to over 70 days. Knowing the time of ovulation with great accuracy is best done by assaying blood for progesterone levels. Which means monitoring of her heat and taking of blood from a bitch during this time 2 to 5 times. If travelling far for a stud, this is an understandable practice, but if the stud dog is near to hand. most opt for once the bitch is accepting of the stud, to mate at 24 or 48 hour intervals until she is not. Which with healthy aka fertile dogs works fine. If you are having to do flik flak somersaults to get a bitch in pups, you really have to question your motives for so much intervention, as good fertility in your lines should be at the top of your list of goals to maintain in your lines. Good fertility I have found more often than not to be one of the signs of good health. You can always throw the old anecdotal one in there, but as a general rule the more healthy an animal is, this will also reflect in how fertile they are.
The bigger variation with doing things more naturally is that a bitch will often accept the stud dog well before ovulation, and well after ovulation. So you can sometimes have a week to 10 days the bitch was mated over, making pin pinpointing full term gestation a bit harder and just means for me a few more nights of broken sleep, keeping an eye waiting for whelping to proceed, which is soon forgotten once pups have arrived.
We are on the home straight now with fingers firmly crossed that all goes well for Teagol and her pups. On one hand excited and on the other anxious that all goes well.
Active, sporting, sound little spaniels
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“Humans are aware of very little, it seems to me, the artificial brainy side of life, the worries and bills and the mechanisms of jobs, the doltish psychologies we've placed over our lives like a stencil. A dog keeps his life simple and unadorned.” Brad Watson, Last Days of the Dog-Men: Stories
Welcome to this blog. I am Jane, a hobby breeder, situated in North Devon, England, UK (map at bottom of page ,shows where we are) on a quest to breed a healthier small spaniel similar to the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
WE DO NOT EXPORT PUPPIES
Why I don't export
Our breeding dogs are multi generational extensively health tested. With all our breeding stock having recommended and relevant DNA tests for their breed/breeds. We also have breeding stock annually eye examined on the BVA Hereditary Eye Disease Scheme for dogs, MRI scanned on the BVA scheme using the BVA chiari malformation /syringomyelia breeding protocol, and heart examined using The Kennel Club Heart Scheme for Cavalier King Charles breeding protocol