Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ooops, Only Nine Tails :-(

I haven't posted for a day because Skye and I have our hands full and are pretty darn tired. Though only three days old, the Southerners have already provided many learning experiences. It's a good reminder for me that despite 30 years of experience and 200+ puppies, there is still more to learn.

So, why the title of today's blog? Not to worry, we have not lost a puppy, we only lost a tail. Yes, we had to dock Miss Lilac's tail yesterday. Although it was not an easy decision to make, it was an decision that I made quickly. Here is the story. Sunday afternoon Amanda called me in my office to tell me there was something wrong with Lilac's tail. I went over and found that the very tip of her tail was hanging on by the proverbial thread (actually a tiny tendon). Hmmm, what to do? Fearing that Skye might take care of it herself, I snipped the little tendon and saved the tip to take to my vet. The part of the tail still on Lilac was not bleeding and was sealed over.

I awoke Monday morning deciding to get the pups and Skye in to the vet for a check up. I no longer do that regularly since I can check for cleft palates and other newborn problems myself and thus reduce the risk of them getting chilled or catching something at the vet clinic. However, given I was seeing so many things that I'd not experienced before, we all piled in the van yesterday afternoon to go Otterkill Animal Hospital.

Dr Jim did not like the feel of Lilac's tail so shaved it for a better look. At least 3/4 of the tail was black, clearly dead or dying. Tails are notorious for having a poor blood supply so once a tail starts to go, the only real solution is to dock it. Jim and I discussed the options--take off a little and see if the remainder could heal or dock it well below the black line and into the healthy tissue. I hated to do it but I simply would not risk her getting gangrene or having multiple surgeries. Docking at 2 days is relatively simple and could be done under a local anesthetic. So, that is what we did. The first 6 or so hours after the Lidocane wore off were tough but she is fine now. She is such a lovely little girl that I know she is going to really stand out with her special tail.

Dr Jim also looked over Peggy to determine if she is going to need surgery on her leg. He does think she has all of the bones that should be in the leg, they are just very short and the paw very poorly developed. At the moment, it appears that the leg will remain short and will not bother her at all. Most importantly, any surgical decisions can be left for the future so she doesn't have to face that now at such a young age.

All the other pups are healthy and growing well. And Peggy and Lilac are also healthy aside from their "differences." All the pups are over a pound and nursing well. Skye continues to be a fabulous dam, although she and I were both totally worn out when we got home last night. Listening to Lilac cry during her procedures took a lot out of both of us.

We have put all of these challenges behind us and have started on the pups' developmental program. Amanda learned to do Biosensor this morning so we'll be doing those exercises on the pups every day. We introduced them to their first unique scent, a pheasant wing. It was so interesting to see the pups stop squirming and get very quiet when we put the wing in front of their noses. We also trimmed toe nails so Skye doesn't have to deal with 180 little needles digging into her.

So, that's the news from Cold Spring where this week we were again reminded of the amazing activity that we do, bringing new life into the world with all of its fits, starts and imperfect perfection. It also reminded me that although we breed to produce working dogs, each puppy born into our hands is an individual whose life path may not go where we intend it but will still be right for that pup.



Deb said...

Great post! Give all those Southerners a pet from us. I can't wait to see what fantastic little girls Lilac and Peggy become!

Sue W. said...

WOW...this is an interesting litter to follow! A surprise every day. Poor Ms Lilac....