The Hovawart Club of Great Britain

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Breed Notes - 27 Apr 2009
By: Elaine Betts

I suppose when you breed a litter of puppies almost every year, it is only a matter of time before you get a complicated one. This was the situation last week when Whistle decided to have her puppies at least eight days early. She only had one mating, so her due date was not in question, and although we had noticed her digging in the garden the previous day, neither John or I had taken it to mean that things were actually going to happen that night! Eleven puppies duly arrived and all was well until Whistle refused to eat or drink and showed little interest in her new family.

Several visits from the Vets, an X-Ray, injections, antibiotics, anti-sickness tablets, and removal of a couple of placentas later, and Whistle thank goodness started to pick up. Side effects of all this – no milk! I don’t think whelping early does much to improve lactation, and although I had never hand-reared a litter before, I now know quite a lot about it. Learning the hard way is very stressful and with puppies born that early they lack the ability to suck immediately and that is the one thing that means success or failure. I don’t recommend it, and for a couple of days the worry and nerves are unbearable. If you ordered at least three bags of commercial dog food last month, you had a complimentary tub of puppy first milk, and a feeding kit, can you believe such a coincidence? I remember thinking, when it was delivered, that I would not be needing any such equipment, how wrong can you be. The whole thing turned out to be a real life saver.

I hesitate to say at this point that nine puppies, at the time of writing, seem, at last, to be progressing well, but it’s by no means mission accomplished. We are trying our hardest to pull them through. Updates next breednotes.

Heard from Julie last week that Pam Foster had lost her Homesen Hypnos at thirteen and a half, pet name Zak, also Mrs. Smith from Devon reported that her Arpad x Astra puppy, (sorry I don’t know the pet name) died at sixteen years. That is amazing. Sympathies go to their owners. Please e mail me or telephone any news, as I will be home bound for at least the next couple of weeks, and please don’t expect me to know what day of the week it is.
This article was posted on: 27-Apr-09