The Kiva Legacy Litter

Published on 20 March 2024 at 13:23

Gestation in dogs is 63 days and, if you follow us on social media you would have known that Kassi was expecting her litter of 3, maybe 4, on or around March 18th. Her previous litter was born on day 62 so we were prepared for whelping over the weekend of March 16th and 17th. However things didn't go according to plan.

Early Thursday evening saw Kassi be sick a few times (which is normal if mums are about to whelp) and an indication of the onset of labour. This phase can last between 12 and 24 hours, so we were thinking the pups would be born overnight, or on Friday - whichever it was to be they would still be early.

And Thursday it was! And it was Ohra who alerted us to the arrival of pup #1

Kassi had been comfortable settled in one of the dog beds in the lounge (dispelling the myth that Lappies don't like to sleep in purpose bought beds) whilst Louise and I watched T.V.

Lou pointed out how Ohra was behaving, standing rigidly with her eyes fixed on where Kassi was (think startled deer in headlights).

Lou got off the sofa and went to have a look at what had caught Ohra's attention - it was Kassi cleaning a pup. She had whelped a black-tri boy without a sound, or any discernible mess, and was busy licking him, it was 21.00.

We encouraged Kassi upstairs into the whelping room (sounds posh I know, but in reality it was one of the bedrooms) and took the pup up with her so she could settle down and nurse him.

Withing a few minutes she popped our pup #2, again with nary a whimper (though a little more mess) another black-tri boy, birth time 21.21.

Lou and I were hoping that the next pup (if indeed there was to be one) would be a girl as Kassi's previous litter saw only boys.

Our hopes were soon granted as 15 minutes (21.36) after her brother had been born, a black-tri girl was delivered - Lappy days!

Kassi had been scanned for 3 or maybe 4 pups, 3 had been born so we were quite happy with how things had gone. However around 30 minutes later Kassi started some more contractions and a minute later produced pup number 4, another black-tri girl - which meant that we could theme this as our ABBA litter.

(We had also been considering naming pups with Finnish names beginning with K, I, V, A as a tribute to our beloved Kiva - the litters great-great granny)

Well 20 minutes later Kassi put paid to both ideas as she then delivered pup number 5, another black-tri girl! Meaning it was time to Google groups made up of 2 males and 3 females - good luck with that! Louise and I agreed that we would go back to our KIVA idea but add S to make it KIVAS - so there we were, the Kiva Legacy Litter had been delivered and to say that Louise and I were happy would be an understatement, and as for Kassi - she had been amazing, and was being so as she was attending to the pups as we would hope her to.

BUT - hold the front page!

I was busy erecting a stair gate to the door to the whelping room (a job I had intended doing the next day in advance of the expected weekend delivery) when Lou called me in and asked for my help - oh, that kind of help, as I spotted that Kassi (who was on all fours) was busy delivering another pup and with a little persuasion out popped a black-tri boy, a sixth (our biggest Lumikoira litter yet) making it 3 boys and 3 girls - it was 23.36 and Kassi was done, as were Louise and I, it had been a busy evening.

Damn, we needed a new theme. Another moment of inspiration from Louise saw the suggestion of referring to this litter as the Friends Litter, so Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Phoebe, Monica and Joey they would be until they are registered with more traditional names.

But this breeding malarkey isn't all plain sailing as we were to find out over the next few days.

Kassi took a turn for the worse on the Friday, violently sick and developed the runs - nothing would stay down, or in, and poorly mum meant that the pups weren't getting the nourishment they needed from.

Several phone calls to our vets (normally exceptionally good, but this time leaving a lot to be desired) saw us try a number of things to stabilise the pups (they weren't gaining weight as they should) - Puppystim and Nutridrops were administered, supplementary milk was tried. Despite our efforts the pups continued to be slow to gain, in fact several of them were actually losing weight.

Whilst worrying about the pups we were also concerned about getting Kassi to hold on to some nourishment. We had been trying everything; Chappie, chicken, cottage cheese, sardines - you name it, we tried it, but no sooner was it going in then it was coming out.

On Saturday evening Louise decided to phone our vets again - the out of hours emergency one this time - and on this occasion got some satisfaction from them. So we bundled the pups up, popped them into an insulated container (thank you Natural Instinct) and headed off on the half hour drive to the practice for mother and pups to be seen to.

As soon as we arrived the vet realised that dealing with Kassi was the priority, as getting her well and able to produce good milk was critical to the pups, all of which had been examined (no cleft palates, all able to suckle, etc.)

An injection of oxytocin was given (to encourage the delivery of any retained placenta etc. and to stimulate the production of milk) and a course of probiotics prescribed.

Several hundred pounds lighter we headed back home (at least the torrential rain had eased off) and settled mum and pups down for the night - nature would deal with things as it saw fit and we would hope that it would be for the best.

Sunday morning arrived and mum and pups seemed to be okay, in fact several of them had gained a little weight and mum appeared to be much brighter.

Over the course of the next few days Kassi continued to improve (she could now keep everything down and was no longer suffering with vomiting and diarrhea) and the pups began to gain weight.

At the time of writing (5 days after birthday, yet only 2 days after due day) all but one of them are above their birth weight, however we always have been concerned about one of the girls, the fifth born and lightest of the pups, and gaining weight (despite eagerly suckling from mum) has been a struggle for her. Hopefully the next blog entry will see more positive news.

Meanwhile Louise and I remain glued to the IP cam, that we have set up over the whelping box, keeping a watchful eye on mum and the pups prompting us to run upstairs to make sure Phoebe, pup number 5 and identifiable by a white Tippex spot on the tip of her tail, is getting her fair share of mum's milk.

Big (and by big we do mean big) brother Chandler, the second born, is rather keen on mum's milk so there are occasions when we have to separate him from mum and Phoebe so she can get her fair share.

We will be setting up a live webcam stream in due course.

With thanks to those who gave freely of their time and expertise to help us through these early days, you know who you are.

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