Farm Life

THE EXPECTING BROOD MATRON

GALLERY

 

 

The Week Prior to the Due Date

During the last seven days, the brood should be placed in her whelping box, or the area where she will whelp down in order to acclimatize her to the new environment.  The area should be clean and quiet with good lighting, ventilation and provision for heating.  The brood should be whelped down on sheets of newspaper, as newspaper is more easily disposed of and replaced when it becomes soiled during the birth process.  Sheets, blankets or shredded newspapers can be used after the whelp is completed.

Two to five days before giving birth, the brood becomes more sunken in the loin area, with a pendulous abdomen, and the spines on the vertebrae along the back may become more prominent.  Some broodes may become very large close to the end of the term, and may develop a doughy filling in the back legs as a result of reduced drainage from the legs.  This isn't a cause for undue concern.

The vulva will become enlarged, the ligaments around the tail base slacken, and a straw colored mucous discharge may be seen from the vulva.  If the color of the discharge is dark green, black or blood-colored, there is something seriously wrong and veterinary assistance should be sought immediately. Within 24 hours of the brood whelping, she becomes restless, pants, tears up bedding and carries out nesting behavior.  Maiden broodes may do this for up to a week before term, but usually this behavior is seen for only 6-24 hours before the birth of the first pup.

Within 24 hours of the brood whelping, her body temperature will drop from normal (approx 101.3˚F) to below 100˚F, usually 98.6˚F, so it would be worthwhile monitoring her temperature during the last few days.  With approximately seven days to go, you should let your veterinarian know the due date.  You may be dispensed a number of injections to assist with the whelp process, given with instructions on how to use them:

CALCIUM: 10mls given into the muscles (5 x 2ml amounts) after 1-2 pups to assist with uterine contractions and to maintain adequate blood calcium levels.  (Greyhounds often have low blood calcium levels, and this reduces the efficiency of uterine contractions).

OXYTOCIN: 2 1/2mls given into the muscle after the last pup or as directed by your veterinarian.  This drug helps uterine contractions (and hence will help expel any pup still in the uterus unknown to you) and helps milk let down.  This drug may be given during the whelp if directed by the veterinarian.

PROPHYLACTIC ANTIBIOTIC: May be dispensed to guard against infection in the uterus post whelp.  Uterine contents are an ideal medium for bacterial growth, and antibiotics should be administered especially if the brood has required manual assistance during whelp.

 

Close to Giving Birth

Close to the time of giving birth, the brood becomes restless, pants, tears up bedding (newspaper is cheaper to replace than the family's best blanket), and carries out a nest-making behavior.  Maiden broodes may do this for up to a week before time, but usually this behavior is seen only for 6-24 hours  before the birth of the first pup.

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