Educational Articles

Breeding

  • Miscarriage refers to the death of a fetus during pregnancy. Miscarriages that occur early in pregnancy may be completely asymptomatic, while later-term miscarriages may result in stillborn puppies or mummification. Miscarriage can be caused by infection or hormonal influences. Diagnosis is key to appropriate management. If a dog develops a fever during pregnancy antibiotics may prevent miscarriage.

  • The phrase 'multidrug resistance mutation 1 (MDR1)' refers to a specific mutation that can occur at a gene known as the MDR1 gene, also known as the ABCB1 gene. Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications.

  • Full term pregnancy in cats is usually between 63 and 65 days during which time energy requirements increase to 1.5 times normal. Labor takes place in 3 stages: 1) nesting behavior and comfort seeking are seen, and the cat may stop eating within 24 hours of birth; 2) active stage of labor where contractions may be seen, and kittens are produced. Kittens are usually born within 1 hour of each other; however, there is cause for concern if active unproductive straining is seen for more than 20 minutes; and 3) fetal membranes are passed after the delivery of each kitten. If a kitten is not responsive, attempts can be made to suction the back of its mouth to remove as many fluids as possible while vigorously rubbing their body to stimulate respiration and applying gentle puffs of air into its mouth. Kittens need to be kept warm after birth and the mother should be watched carefully for any signs of illness.

  • Most pregnancies and deliveries go smoothly, but as a caring pet owner you should be prepared for the unexpected. Here's what you should know about common pregnancy complications.

  • A blood test detects pregnancy in the pregnant dog by measuring levels of a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is produced by the developing placenta following implantation of the embryo, and can be detected in the blood in most pregnant dogs as early as 22-27 days post-breeding.

  • Pyometra is defined as an infection in the uterus. Pyometra is considered a serious and life threatening condition that must be treated quickly and aggressively. Pyometra may occur in any sexually intact young to middle-aged cat; however, it is most common in older cats. Typically, the cat has been in heat within the previous 4 weeks.

  • Most cats care for their kittens with little need for human intervention; however, if they do not, then their caregivers will need to step in. Maintaining a warm environment and ensuring they are receiving enough milk is critical to survival. Weights should be checked daily in the first 2 weeks and any prolonged crying should be investigated thoroughly. Feeding can be supplemented with commercial milk replacer if needed and all kittens can start the weaning process around 4 weeks of age by offering gruel-like kitten food mixed with milk replacer. Rarely milk fever or eclampsia can affect the mother causing spasms and panting around the weaning time and must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Kitten diets that have been trialed for growth are recommended. Kittens normally receive temporary immunity through the placenta while in utero and by ingesting their mother’s milk in their first day of life. This immunity starts to fade around 6 weeks of age and vaccination is recommended at that time. Worms are a common affliction in kittens and regular deworming is recommended starting at 2 weeks old. Contact your veterinarian for specific instructions. Commercial over the counter dewormers can be harmful to young kittens.

  • Most dogs care for their puppies with little need for human intervention; however, if they do not, then their caregivers will need to step in. Maintaining a warm environment and ensuring puppies are receiving enough milk is critical to survival. Weights should be checked daily in the first 2 weeks and any prolonged crying should be investigated thoroughly. Feeding can be supplemented with commercial milk replacer if needed and all puppies can start the weaning process around 4 weeks of age by offering gruel-like puppy food mixed with milk replacer. Milk fever or eclampsia can affect the mother causing spasms and panting around the weaning time and must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Puppy diets meeting AAFCO requirements for growth are recommended. Puppies normally receive temporary immunity from ingesting their mother’s milk in their first day of life. This immunity starts to fade around 6 weeks of age and vaccination is recommended at that time. Worms are a common affliction in puppies and regular deworming is recommended starting at 2 weeks old. Contact your veterinarian for specific recommendations. Commercial over the counter dewormers can be harmful to young puppies.