Thursday, September 16, 2010

Vet Visit and Scary Skateboard


Today my vet came to check out Ms. Lucy and to deliver some flea products and Plaque Off I'd ordered for my other critters. She was most impressed with our Loosey Lucy, who was on her best behaviour - which, of course, is the only type of behaviour Lucy knows!

Lucy got a clean bill of health, at least based on her heart rate, temperature, and overall physical appearance. We did not do blood tests or other customary prenatal care such as xrays.

Lucy appears to be about 2-3 years old. Her teeth have just the tiniest spot of plaque build up in one quadrant and her body appears to be full adult size. Her heart is strong, her eyes are clear, and she's lookin' good! Best breed guess is corgi crossed with a red nose pitti or maybe a rhodesian ridgeback or vizsla. Of course, most likely she is a mutt crossed with a mutt. But she definately has the pecular articulation of the feet typical of corgi or bassett.

Lucy's funny little corgi feet

As far as the pregnancy goes, the pups are too large for the vet to palpate in order to determine how many there might be, and a regular stethoscope can't pick up puppy heartbeats (which is why xrays are customarily done a couple of weeks before the birth). Although Lucy doesn't stick out much on the sides, she does, in fact, have a tightly packed abdomen and a good-sized pot. The vet hopes there is a minimum of three pups in there - if only one or two, Lucy would have trouble with delivery as they would be huge. From the vet's perspective, the more pups the better since they would be smaller and therefore an easier delivery.

Doc Nancy says her best guess for due date is 7-10 days, but it could be sooner. Lucy's temperature was 38 degrees Celsius - at the low end of normal (normal is 38.5 give or take a half degree). That could mean it is already beginning to drop in anticipation of whelping, but could just be her typical temperature. If it goes below 38 degrees, then labour would likely start within 24-48 hours.

I don't intend to check her temperature every 12 hours until she whelps as some breeding websites suggest. There is no point; having knowledge of an imminent labour wouldn't change anything I'm doing - it is merely a convenience for a breeder so they know when to be on full alert. I'm already on full alert so why put her through an invasive procedure? If there is cause to check it, I will . I have a box with all the necessary supplies for the whelping close at hand, including the thermometer, dental floss to tie off the cords, weigh scale, rubbing alcohol, scissors, cotton balls, towels and blankets, etc.

So now we just wait for Lucy to do her thing. I guess I'm hoping for 3 - 5 pups. Enough for them to be an easy delivery; not so many to drive me - or Lucy - crazy.

Charley and Sadie were happy to see our vet, whose pockets are always filled with liver treats - no fear there! Allie, however, HATES vets - all vets - and raced off to hide under the bed as soon as Doc Nancy pulled out the needle to give her a Program injection (see yesterday's post re Lucy's hopping black entourage). Sigh..... the needle is now on my counter waiting for me to give her at an opportune time. No doubt I will receive a nice scratch or bite for my efforts. I think I'll wait until a friend comes over - and let THEM hold her!

In other 'Lucy-news', this timid girl has clearly not had much exposure to the outside world. Yesterday on our walk to the end of the block, a group of skateboarders were playing on a crossroad about 300 - 400 feet away, and Lucy went into a full-out panic at the sound of wheels on pavement. This is the reason I never take a dog anywhere without a properly fitted Martingale collar and a firm grasp on the leash - my calm, always-heels, loose-leash foster dog became a flying, flinging, pulling, panicking, hell-bent-to-escape missile. Ears back, eyes wide, she threw her body left, right, back, trying her hardest to escape.

Had she been in a flat collar or restrained less securely, she would have bolted to who knows where. I turned in the direction of home and started walking. I avoided any acknowledgement of her fear (No baby voice saying "oh you poor baby did that nasty old skateboard scare you"); with timid dogs it is important to exude a calm, quiet self-confidence so one doesn't feed into the fear.

She practically dragged me up the road and down my driveway - so much for her "loose leash" manners, but this was not the time to correct her. I was delighted to see she knew exactly which driveway to turn in. One of the reasons I make a point of taking dogs for walks in our own neighbourhood - any dog, whether my own, a foster, or a visitor - is to ensure the dog knows the area. While I take every precaution to ensure the dogs do not get out of the house and/or yard without my knowledge, there is always the possibility that emergency personnel (in the event of a fire or medical emergency) or a thief might allow the dog to escape. Every dog needs to have some sense of his/her environment beyond the house walls.

The person who adopts Lucy will need to take extra precautions with her safety, as this is a dog who WILL bolt if frightened. And they will need to gradually expose her to a wide range of increasingly challenging experiences to help her become the self-confident girl I know she can be.
She is a quick learner - the first twenty-four hours she was here, she was afraid of the click of the camera, the clang of the baby gate, the slam of a neighbour's car door. This morning I accidently dropped the lid of a pot on the tiled floor four feet from where she slept and the only reaction was a sleepy glare.

Do ya mind? I'm trying to nap!

And while she's still not crazy about the camera, she is getting used to the black box in front of my face. She declines, however, to give birth to the pups on a webcam - in case anyone was wondering.

Sadie and Lucy chillin' out.


Anonymous said...

I'll be following everyday to see whats happening, as I am sure, many others will be doing. Thanks so much for taking Lucy on.
She is most definitely in the right place at the right time.

Anonymous said...

Lucy looks like a darling...we adopted a lovely BC a year and a half ago..when we got her she was afraid of balls, stick tossing, leashes, bikes etc everything..she now is the stick chasing queen, toy stealer, barks and growls in excitement when hubby brings his bike out for a bike run..we thought she had gotten over everything..on the week-end down in Birch Bay we ran into a kid on a don't see them so much anymore..she freaked!!! As you say Jean, luckily hubby had her on a martindale and leash and had good control of her when the kid whipped by and slammed his scooter down as she was on the run...I had to laugh as she is such an amazing heeler and usually is off leash as she never is reactive...not this some things will just trigger the fear reaction and boom they run..glad you had a good hold of Lucy with the skateboard..