NOTE: All the puppies in this litter have been placed.
Litter delivered by c-section: February 21, 2017
Number of puppies: 6 males, 2 females
Sire: Treensea Don't Tread On Gilbert "Gilbert"
Dam: Ch.Brush Creek's Zita of Landhof "Zita"
Breeders: Brigitte Rhinehart and Kathleen Borgmeyer
Registered names: Brush Creek's I... of Landhof
Release date: 4th week of April 2017
Comment: Ms Zita decided to come in season while the handsome and happy Gilbert was at Brush Creek Farm on one of his periodic visits. Because Zita is one of those girls who has very little sanguine discharge and then only after she is in fulll blown heat, Gilbert took us by surprise of having an unexpected liaison with his very cooperative girlfriend. Once this initial deed was done, we continued to let them have fun with each other, and the result is that the unltrasound on January 25 at 5 weeks showed 9+babies.
Both Zita and Gilbert have great temperaments and we are looking forward to a basket full of healthy and pretty puppies. This will be Gilbert's 1st and Zita's 2nd litter.
Update 2-26-17: Because we were not sure if Gilbert and Zita had another amorous encounter prior to the one we witnessed, determining a delivery date was somewhat challenging. Canine gestation lasts only an average of 63 days so puppies born earlier than 58 days usually are not viable. Although progesterone levels indicated on the 20th that delivery was close, we decided to wait for one more day to give the puppies a bit more time. With the help of an oral progesterone supplement, Zita made it through the night. By 9AM on February 21 and day 61, 8 healthy and very vigorous puppies were delivered and Zita recovered quickly from the surgery. Because the aftereffect of the anesthesia sometimes keeps the mom slightly woozy for quite a while, the puppies have to be introduced carefully to make sure the groggy mom accepts her new babies, this is particularly important for first time mothers. This is Zita's 2nd litter hence she started to take care of her newborns right away.
The puppies are all good size, lively and active. Marking wise, they resemble their parents as both Zita and Gilbert have generous white facial and neck markings. While the overall marking pattern doesn't change, the proportions will, especially on the head. As the dog grows, the white shrinks, that's why narrow blazes at birth can disappear when the dog is fully grown. On the other hand, the brown between the black and the white on the front legs may not be visible at birth but may appear as a thin line later on. The same goes for the absence of the brown over the eyes, sometimes, a bit of brown appears later on.
Update 3-1-17: Because Zita's milk did not fully come in until about 4 days after birth, the puppies lost some weight but they started to catch up quickly once lactation got to normal levels. On February 27 at 6 days, the puppies and Zita relocated to the Beebe family in Lathrop MO where they will grow up and leave for their new homes in about 7 weeks. The Beebes are longtime Swissy friends, they got their first Swissy from us before their 2 children were born. Over the past several years, they have raised quite a few litters for us and do an outstanding job preparing the puppies so they transition as smoothly as possible from living in a litter to becoming a canine family member in entirely different settings.
Updatge 3-14-17: The puppies are 3 weeks old today and are doing great under the loving care of the Beebe family, they now average about 3 lbs. All the eyes are open and according to Kelly, we don't think we have any blue eyes which are fairly common in puppies with abundant facial white. While Zita has now plenty of milk, we always start to wean between 3 and 4 weeks as the pups have to learn how to eat solid food before mom's milk bar starts to dry up.
As always, we begin our intestinal parasite control program at 2 weeks so lastg week, the puppies got their first dose of 2 wormers, one for round and hookworm, the other for coccidia. The most common parasites at this stage are roundworms Roundworms in dogs & puppies which generally don't bother the puppies if treated early on and regularly. Once the mother stops cleaning her babies, any adult roundworms killed by the wormer are excreted and if we note a particularly heavy infestation, we will retreat the puppies weekly instead of biweekly.
Coccidia in young puppies almost always produces the typical symptoms of intestinal tract infection in the form of diarrhea which can be very effectively and quickly controlled if caught and treated right away Coccidiosis in Dogs
Update 3-24-17: We started the week with a very sad event. On Monday, one day before the puppies' 4-week birthday, we lost Ms Purple. While puppy fatalities during the first few days after birth are not uncommon, it is particularly heartbreaking to lose a puppy after the age of 2 weeks. Zita is overall a very good mother, she keeps her puppies spotlessly clean but unlike most of our other moms, she seems to be oblivious to babies getting stuck underneath her during nursing, we lost one of her puppies the same way in her first litter.
Monday night around 10.30PM, she again obviously did not realize that she was covering up a puppy when she laid down after the puppies had started to nurse when she was still sitting. Hence, very sadly, she suffocated Ms Purple, one of the 2 girls, it happened during the few minutes nobody was in the room. So now Zita only nurses her babies under the watchful eyes of Kelly and her family, also, lactation is coming to an end soon as the puppies are almost fully on kibble.
Once puppies eat solid food, the mom usually stops to clean them and nurses them more and more infrequently, by the time the pups are about 6 weeks old, mom's nipples serve more as pacifiers than as a source of food.
Just to rule out any other cause for this sudden death, we had Kelly's vet do a basic necropsy. All internal organs looked normal and she had milk in the stomach so our assumption that Zita suffocate poor Ms Teal was confirmed. On the bright side, the remaining 7 babies are doing great and are coming along nicely.
Update 4-15-17: We usually update the litter basket more often but a time consuming emergency with one of our adult Swissys and the arrival of Xela's litter kept us pretty busy otherwise.
The puppies are doing very well, they will be 8 weeks old on the 18th. After a cold and wet couple of weeks, they were finally able to go outside and explore part of the Beebes 10 acres of grass, bushes and trees. We also continued our by-weekly worming program and vaccinated the pups at 6 weeks against the dreaded and often fatal parvovirus Canine Parvovirus
On April 13,we met at the U of MO Small Animal Clinic in Columbia MO for the blood draw for the ongoing research to find the DNA marker for idiopathic epilepsy in Swissys. Since its inception in the late 90s, we have participated in this study, and of the 1,750 + blood samples the project has collected over the years, to date 783 are from our dogs as every puppy of every litter co-owned by us and all our great co-owners is collected prior to leaving for its new home. On the maternal side, these puppies are the 6th generation included in the research DNA database.
After the blood draw, we went to a nearby park to let the puppies stretch their legs, go potty and get microchipped before 5 returned to Lathrop and 2 to Martinsburg from where they will leave next week to join their new families and by April 20, all will be in their new homes.
Farewell to the Zita-Gilbert babies: On April 20, the Beebe family, said goodbye to the last of Zita's puppies who was heading to his new home in California, mom Zita had already returned back to Brush Creek Fasrm a week earlier.
We always have mixed feelings when the puppies start to leave. During the two months of caring for them and seeing them grow from 1+ to up 15 lbs, getting attached to them is pretty easy. However, raising puppies from birth to 2+ months, especially large litters, is a very labor and time intensive endeavor, hence, we also welcome the day the puppies begin to join their new families.
We wish all of the Zita-Gilbert puppy families the very best and many years of joy, fun and wonderful companionship with their new Swissy family member.