Mating: A Crash Course In The Reproductive Cycle – Part 3

Peter | September 7th, 2008
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If the future mother is due for vaccinations, have her vaccinated prior to (not during) pregnancy, since vaccines may cause adverse effects on fetal development if given during pregnancy.

Vaccinations before pregnancy accomplish two goals:

(1) They boost the future mother’s immunity.

(2) They provide the temporary immunity puppies need after birth for protection against diseases. (Puppies are not capable of building their own immunity until they are a few weeks old.)

If the mating is successful then pregnancy will follow; like metestrus it lasts two months, taking into account individual variation. Most vets can diagnose pregnancy four weeks after mating; earlier diagnosis is difficult.

One of the best available aids is good records, which tell when dogs are mated, give insights to previous breeding problems, and by their thoroughness, point out potential problems. Without benefit of breeding dates it is easier to determine that a dog is pregnant than to determine that it is not pregnant.

A good balanced diet and vitamin and mineral supplementation, which are vital during pregnancy, becomes much more important during nursing. Health problems related to pregnancy are uncommon in dogs. Although an occasional dog may abort, even this is not common. Most problems of practical concern involve breeding, delivery, and nursing.

Birth of The Puppies

The birth process, called parturition, is conveniently divided into three easily recognized stages. They are simple termed stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3. Stage 1 is the preliminary step to true labor. The female may act to prepare a nest and personality changes may become more evident (which include irritability, nervousness and pacing).

If the female’s body temperature falls too low then this may indicate serious diseases. The rectal temperature, should it fall from the normal range of 101 -102 degrees (F), is a meaningful indicator that birth may take place in the next 24 hours. Another sign of stage 1 is the rupture of the allantoic membrane, or water bag. Upon its rupture, a large volume of fluid is spent, which leaves no doubt that labor is near.

Following is stage 2 and stage 3, which is known as true labor and the nearing of the end of labor. The first puppy should be born within a few hours. If there are no puppies being born after several hours go by then you will need to call your veterinarian. A cesarean may be needed if there is a problem.

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