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My dad’s English Shepard dog is pregnant ( he Bred her to

another English Shepard). She is...
My dad’s English Shepard dog is pregnant ( he Bred her to another English Shepard). She is six years old and he tried to breed her so many times over the past 3 years but she would not allow it. This is a very special family blood line of dogs we had since I was little 45 years ago. So we are just wanting to breed her once or carry on that line.
Anyway. She got pregnant sometime between Sept 29-Oct 6th when my dad left her at the home of the stud owner for a week.
My Dad saw at least 3 puppies on ultrasound last Monday. They were moving around a lot he said.
I had to watch her today and she was acting so exhausted, like a pregnant lady about to pop. But I could not feel any puppies at all moving and I felt all areas of her tummy.
Two questions :
1. Should I be able to feel them?
2. Around when should she go into labor and what are the signs? We already set up a nice whelping box for her today.
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Answered in 1 minute by:
11/20/2017
Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17,263
Experience: Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hello, I'm Dr. Kara. I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and I'd like to help. Please give me a moment to review your concerns.

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Okay

Congratulations on a very exciting, long hoped for pregnancy. I understand that you are concerned about your girl and her pregnancy. I'll answer your questions in order.

1) In short, no you shouldn't necessarily be able to feel the pups, especially with only a few pups in such a large, deep chested dog. The pups may be located in the proximal horns of her uterus, which means they can be under the rib cage, up near her back and protected by the heavy/large back muscles. Or they may slip away from you as you palpate the abdomen. She has a very large abdomen with lots of room for the pups to slip away from you. Most of the puppy's growth comes in the last 2 weeks before delivery, and that is when you should see a significant increase in abdominal size.

2) Normal length of pregnancy can be anywhere from 63 to 76 days, although most dogs deliver at about the 65th day. Because she may have been bred several times during that week we won't know exactly which one was the successful breeding, so a delivery date is hard. Delivery may be as soon as December 1st, or as long away as Dec 20th. First pregnancies tend to go a little longer then subsequent pregnancies and generally the more puppies in a litter the shorter the length of pregnancy. So if she only has a few pups she may have a longer pregnancy.

The most accurate sign of impending labor is a drop in body temperature, usually at least a couple degrees, down to less than 99.5F. On about November 24th I recommend you start taking her rectal temperature every 12 hours. That way you will have an idea of what her normal is. When her body temperature drops below 99F consistently she should be within 24 hours of labor and delivery.

Other signs to look for are restlessness and nesting behavior. I am glad to hear that she has a place set up for delivery now so that she is very comfortable with it by the time labor comes. During her first stage of labor she will have some cramping and be restless but she won't actively be pushing.

Most dogs will start milk production a day or two before delivery but some start a week in advance and others don't start until the day of delivery. Any of that is within normal.

When she progresses to the second stage of labor that is the active stage of labor. The first puppy should be born within 2 hours of you noticing her straining and it is usually faster than that.

There shouldn't be more that an hour between puppies and if you see any fetal membranes or a body part protruding the pup should be delivered within 30 minutes, if not that signifies trouble. The problem can be a puppy that is too large to pass through the pelvic canal, improper presentation of the puppy or uterine inertia (poor muscle tone and contractions). She may need help getting the pup out of the fetal membranes. You can also help by tying off the umbilical cords with clean thread about a 1 inch from the body wall.

There should be a placenta delivered with each puppy. Some dogs will want to eat the placentas but I recommend removing them so they do not lead to stomach upset

When she is done delivering all the pups expect her to expel some blood, fluids and the remaining tissues from the pup's placentas.

She may or may not want to eat and drink after the pups. Have fresh food and water ready for her as she needs fluids and calories with all the work she has done. Some dogs however are too nervous or busy with their pups and will wait to eat and drink until later.

Here is a link to an accurate article that will help if you have any further questions and also describes possible complications after delivery: http://retiredvet.hubpages.com/hub/Pregnancy-and-Labor-in-Dogs

Best of luck with your girl.

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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Okay so she is about a week and a half from really maybe starting to go into labor
Customer reply replied 22 days ago
Are you sure about that ?

No, I'm not sure about her due date because of the number of days she could have been bred, and because we have no history of previous pregnancies and their duration, and we don't know how many pups she has.

The soonest I would expect her to deliver IF she were successfully bred the first day (Sept 29th) and had a pregnancy on the short end of normal gestation (63 days) would be Dec 1st.

But if she were bred the last day (Oct 6th) and had a pregnancy on the long side of normal duration she may go as long as Dec 20th/21st.

Dr. Kara
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Customer reply replied 22 days ago
This is excellent info, thank you !

You are very welcome, my best to your girl.

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