Mating: A Crash Course In The Reproductive Cycle – Part 4

Peter | September 11th, 2008
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When it is time for the female to give birth to her puppies, the 3 stages of birth allow the breeder to accurately assess the condition of both the health of the mother and the puppies. Once the allantoic membrane (or simply called the water-bag) has broken then you know labor is close.

True Labor

Stage 2 is the time of true labor. Hard and forceful abdominal contractions occur which results in the delivery of puppies. The first puppy should be born within two to three hours from the time these contractions start, and the interval between puppies should not exceed this length of time. If no puppy is born then contact your veterinarian immediately.

Upon seeing the head or feet presented, assist delivery (only if necessary) by applying gentle traction in synchrony with the abdominal contractions of the dam. Forcefully tugging and pulling to deliver a difficult puppy may inflict unnecessary injury.

Once the puppy is born, the mother will instinctively lick the placental membranes from it and severs the navel cord with her teeth. If she fails to remove the placental membranes enveloping the puppy, you must do it yourself or the puppy will suffocate. Tear them away gently and quickly. Free the head first, allowing the puppy to breathe, then swab out its mouth with gauze pads.

The placental membranes are slippery, so use gauze pads to aid in removing them. After the puppy is free, cut the navel cord two inches away from its body, using scissors boiled in water. To control excess bleeding, pinch the navel cord with your clean fingers until it stops. Tying the navel cord with thread or string, or a similar foreign substance, will invite infection, demands cautiousness, and is generally ill-advised.

After the bleeding has stopped, swab the navel cord with iodine, dry the puppy vigorously in a towel, and place it with the dam. If she is nervous about her new puppies then separate them from her and place them together in a box until delivery is complete.

Cesarean sections are needed when a dog, failing to deliver within a reasonable period of time, also fails to respond to medical methods if inducing labor. The majority of cesarean sections are done on the smaller breeds, which lack the powerful muscular contractions needed to deliver puppies naturally. This is a successful technique which, in most cases, results in live puppies.

The Final Stage Of Birth

Stage 3 is the final stage of labor. It occurs when the uterus contracts and begins to return to its normal size. As it contracts, fluids and placental membranes remaining from stage 2 are forced out.

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