The Rugby-Hazel litter was born August 26, 2016. All puppies have been placed. Following is the archived litter blog.
Rugby || Hazel
Rugby OFA || Hazel OFA || Weight Chart
Hazel is three years old and this will be her first litter. Hazel earned her championship by being Winner's Bitch at the 2014 RRCUS National Specialty at 17 month of age. She was winner of the 2015 Orange Coast Rhodesian Ridgeback Specialty and the 2016 Western Hound Specialty. She is an American Kennel Club Grand Champion at the Bronze Level (142 Grand Champion points).
Rugby is four years old and he has sired several previous litters. He is a very successful show dog, currently ranked #1 in the United States in both breed and all-breed points. He is a Gold level Grand Champion with 681 grand champion points. He won an all-breed Best in Show at the Mensona KC on August 28, 2016.
Rubgy and Hazel have dominated the Orange Coast Rhodesian Ridgeback Specialty in Silverado the last two years. In 2015 Hazel was BOB and Rugby was BOS. In 2016 the order was reversed with Rugby being BOB and Hazel BOS.
The breeding was carried out on June 29 and pregnancy was confirmed by ultrasound by Dr. Janice Cain on July 28. The estimated whelping date is August 29. [Note added later: the litter was delivered by C-section on August 26]
Our main reason for breeding is to produce a few puppies who have the quality to be the sires and dams of the next generation. These will be the show dogs, because our policy is that the only dogs should be bred who have completed an AKC conformation championship, thus assuring that a number of impartial judges have validated their quality.
Our job over the first two months after the puppies are born is to evaluate them and predict which ones have the "right stuff" to eventually achieve that championship and qualify as a sire or dam for the next generation. We have done this for a long time and we are pretty good at it, but undoubtedly not perfect. So by the time the puppies are 7-8 weeks old we will have assigned some as show quality and some as pet quality.
There are two elements to consider when making the show/pet assignment. The first, and easiest, is cosmetic, and this can mostly be done in the first few days. Our breed standard describes the ideal Rhodesian Ridgeback and the standard includes the description of several "major faults". Mostly this has to do with the ridge, which is the hallmark of the breed. For example, some puppies have ridge faults (single crown, more than two crowns, unsymmetrical ridge, short ridge). However, too much white can also be a major fault, e.g, a white foot, well above the dew claw Another cosmetic fault often seen is kinked tail.
Other faults are structural and do not become apparent until later. For example, when puppies are about 4-5 weeks old the muzzle changes shape dramatically--the head goes from being "bear-like" to being "dog-like". Often the upper and lower jaws don't grow out at the same rate and sometimes after the head has taken on its new shape the dog will be left with an overbite (when there is an imbalance in jaw growth it is almost always the upper jaw that ends up longer than the lower). The standard calls for a scissor-bite and an overbite is a serious fault, so having an overbite would make that puppy pet quality. We also see a big change in the croup at about 6-7 weeks (the croup is the part of the dog where the tail is attached) and sometimes at this age we end up with puppies who carry their tail straight up, like a flagpole. This is a fault and we would likely put such a puppy in the pet pool.
When we know that a certain puppy will be pet quality we are able to offer that puppy to one of our applicants who want a pet-quality puppy. We usually give priority to returning former owners of Camelot puppies--families whose previous puppy has lived a full life and has passed on.
If you are interested in being on the waiting list as a family for a Hazel-Rugby puppy, please download our questionaire and return it by email to Camelot . You should know that we already have about 15 applications for pet-quality puppies from this litter, and as of August 31 there are only three definite pet-qualitypuppies.
When the puppies are old enough (about 4 weeks), we will arrange visits for families who are interested in buying one of the puppies. Since we prefer to place puppies with people we have met in person, we are not normally willing to ship puppies to other locations. Exceptions can be made, however, if we feel we have interacted with someone enough. In those cases, we prefer that the new owner come to Camelot to pick up the puppy.
All pet-quality puppies are sold with limited AKC registration, meaning that they cannot be exhibited in AKC conformation events and, if bred, their offspring cannot be registered with the AKC. In addition, pet-quality puppies are sold with a contract that requires neutering or spaying by the age of nine months.
For show-quality puppies, preference is given to individuals who are members of one of the recognized Rhodesian Ridgeback breed clubs (preferably the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States, RRCUS) or who have prior conformation experience.
Hazel has moved to Camelot for the duration. She is uncomfortable and clearly full of puppies:
Hazel had an appointment this afternoon with Dr. Jan Cain and her assistant Kristen Unger at Bishop Ranch. She was x-rayed and it was confirmed that she has at least 9 and probably 10 puppies on board. She weighed in at 107 pounds, about 25 pounds more than her normal weight. We have decided to have the puppies by C-section on Friday, August 26 at 4:30 pm.
The puppies are here; 7 girls and 3 boys. Video.
We brought Hazel and her puppies home about 4 pm and settled her into the whelping box with the pups in a warm cardboard box beside the whelping box. At first she had no interest in the puppies. Since she didn't go through the normal labor process that initiates oxytocin, the normal maternal instinct had not kicked in. We brouight one or two puppies at a time and had them nurse. For the first three or four hours she would have nothing to do with the puppies and repeatedly tried to stand and escape. One of us sat with her in the box for this time, which gave her enough reassurance that she eventually relaxed. She has a tramadol prescription and I am sure that also helped her relax. During the first half of the night she slept with five pups and allowed them to suckle. At 2 am we swapped the pups and for the next three hours she had the second shift. By about 4 am she let us put all ten pups in the box and from that point on she seemed quite engaged--actively cleaning the pups by licking their bottoms and acting a little nervous when one would stray away to the corner of the whelping box. Following are a few photos taking during the night.
We also weighed for the first time and did a pretty careful description of each puppy so we can tell them apart. The weights range from 15.5 to 19 ounces, average of about 17.3 hounces per puppy. There are eight show ridges (the liver male and seven of the females). One female and one of thke black-nosed males appear to have ridge faults (additional crowns). One female has a white front foot, well above the dew claw, and will be a pet.
The pups are gaining weight slightly. It is common that newborn puppies gain little or no weight for the first 2-3 days. During this time the mother is producing mostly thin milk that is loaded with colustrum. Colostrum contains antibodies to protect the newborn against disease. The fat-rich milk normally begins about the third day and from that point on we will see the puppies gain 2-3 ounces per day.
We settled on temporary puppy names--donuts. So here they are:
So this will be the "Dunkin' Donuts Litter."
We also took ID photos of all the girls (chest and belly marks) to use in the daily weigh-in.
Hazel's milk is fully in and the pups are starting their weight gain, which will be about 3 ounces per day per puppy by the end of the week. Today's average weight was 18.6 ounces, compared to 16.8 yesterday. Here are a few candids from this afternoon.
Hazel is in full mommy-mode. Her milk is fully in and puppies gained an average of 2 1/2 ounces since yesterday morning. Hazel is also taking occasional short vacations from the box, napping on a large dog bed we have in the bathroom close to the whelping box. Here is a little snap of several of the puppies making their first attempts to form a puppy pile.
The big news today is that in the morning weigh-in we discovered that Maple has undergone a sex change! We have been counting Maple as a girl for the whole six days since the pups were born and the Bishop Ranch staff who did the exams and clean up after the C-section reported to us that there were 8 girls and 2 boys. It isn't a real excuse but after we identified Fritter and Cinnamon we must have stopped being very critical and just recorded Maple as a girl when he is really a boy! It has happened before that we have miss-identified the gender of a puppy, but this is the first time it took six days to get it right!
The other thing that has been difficult is to decide on whether Fritter and Cruller really have ridge faults. At first we put Fritter down as having extra crowns and yesterday we reported to a few friends that we had made a mistake and that his ridge is really show. This morning we think we do see an extra crown, possibly two, about 1/3 of the way from the bottom end of the ridge. Here are photos of Fritter's face and ridge.
We are in that pleasant time when mom does complete puppy care and our job is just to cuddle them, weigh them, and change the bedding in the box once a day. Hazel is no longer in the box 24 hours a day, but gets out to nap on a dog bed in the room and also wakes us up in the morning when she decides breakfast is overdue.
Things are quiet. Hazel is a little more nervous with visitors than some of our mother dogs. Yesterday David Bueno came to pick up Frida for today's show in Grass Valley. David has shown Hazel for a couple of years and she really likes him. She was happy to see him but was not ok with him being close to the puppies. Therefore, we are limiting visitors for a few more days, at least in the room where the puppies are. Tomorrow we may have friends for a visit and we will try bringing a couple of the pups out to the family room.
Hazel is ravenous, with good reason, since her puppies are growing at a total amount of 20 ounces per day, and ll that nurishment comes through Hazel. So she is getting four meals a day, about 1 1/2 cups of kibble each time. Here are a few photos from yesterday evening and this morning. The last photo is the Zen garden outside the master bath where Hazel and her family are living this month. Peaceful place for her to do her business.
Hazel is getting four meals a day, total of about 1 cup of kibble per puppy. Yet she still acts like she is starving. Here she is trying to score at the dinner table last night.
Cinnamon is the liver-nosed male and he seems to be very independent. Here is his photo snoozing on mom's front leg while the rest of the pack eats.
And here is Cinnamon again having a nap all by himself while his 9 siblings either surf the milk bar or otherwise hang out with the group. This photo is interesting because it looks like he is trying to mimic Mom's posture.
When we were weighing the puppies this morning we discovered that Cruller has a seroma on her shoulders. You can see is in the photo below (she is the puppy next to the bottom).
We took her to Bishop Ranch for Dr. Cain to examine. Dr. Cain removed about 25 cc of fluid and checked Cruller's temperature to assure that the seroma is not caused by an infection. She also confirmed that her heart rate is normal.
The most likely reason is that Hazel stepped on her and caused bruising, which could trigger the seroma. The injury, if that is what it was, has not affected Cruller's appetite and her weight gain for the last day was normal. The seroma will presumably resolve and be resorbed as the bruised tissues recover. In the meantime, we will keep a close eye on her.
While we were at Bishop Ranch we asked Dr. Cain to give us Marquis paste for the puppies. This is an antiprotazoal medicine that is commonly used for dogs with coccidia. Coccidia is a parasite that is very widespread in dogs and does not cause problems in adults, but which can cause soft and very stinky yellow poop in puppies. It is commonly transmitted via birds and we have a plethora of different kinds of birds in our yard, feeding from our seven bird feeders.
The other thing we did today was whip up some Goats milk supplement formula to help Hazel feed her hungry pack. We started with Kreme, the smallest girl, whose weight has been steady for the last couple of days. She soon got the hang of the baby bottle and filled her belly. We will continue to supplement her and maybe a few of the other smaller puppies for the next few days.
We gave supplement to four of the puppies yesterday, a total of 12 ounces, and each showed a bump in weight gain this morning. More importantly, this supplementation will take a little pressure off Hazel to produce enough milk to keep them all satisfied. This morning we gave another 12 ounces to seven of the puppies. They are learning how to nurse from the rubber nipple and the ones who have been supplemented a couple of times are very excited when they are picked up for any purpose.
We had visitors this morning. Because Hazel isn't quite ready to have her sanctuary invaded, she stayed out in the front part of the house during visiting hours.
We are continuing to supplement once or twice a day, total of about 12-18 ounces of the goats milk formula. FYI, here is the formula for the formula we use:
We give 2-3 ounces to the 4-5 who had the least gain since the day before. September 13
We haven't blogged for a few days due to other busy activities. The pups are continuing to grow and are walking around now and eyes are almost completely open. Cruller's seroma is almost all gone and she almost looks like the other puppies now instead of like she is getting ready for a backpack trip. We have had several visitors and Hazel is becoming more comfortable with strangers, even with a few people she has never met.
Every morning we change the bedding in the whelping box. This series of photos shows the routine: (1) pups are removed, weighed, and placed on Hazel's night bed; (2) news paper is put down to absorb puppy pee; (3) fresh carpet mat and crate mat put in box; (4) pups back in box. The 5th photo is how the pups rearranged the bedding during the night.
The pups weigh about 4 pounds now and are learning to get around pretty well. This morning we held each one for about 5 minutes, partly on his/her back, to get them used to being handled and to trust us. Most are ok with sleeping on their back in our arms, but Custard still needs some work--she struggles and is pretty strong. We also gave them some new puppy toys that Louisa bought a few weeks ago.
Today there are some visitors. First Yang Yang and her son Martin. They own A-bao, Frida's litter sister and were dropping her off because Yang and her husband Tom Parenty are in Hong Kong for the next two weeks.
This morning when we changed the box the puppies all sacked out on Hazel's night bed so we just left them with the whole bathroom for awhile. Now and then one or two got down from the bed and took small exploratory walks. This is a good step in exposing them to the greater world, outside the walls of their 4x4 whelping box that has been home for their whole life.
Yesterday afternoon we gave the puppies their first food from a pan. We used 1 1/2 pints of the goat's milk formula with enough Gerber's rice cereal to make it sort of oatmeal-consistency. As usual, the first meal is sort of messy. You can see a little video on YouTube.
At today's weigh-in the average weight was just a bit over four pounds per puppy.
We are continuing to give the puppies a goat's milk, yoghurt, rice cerial lunch about 2 pm. For the rest of the day Hazel provides nourishment when she feels like it. The first photo below shows that she is getting pretty over nursing so we will start full-scale weaning this weekend. The kennel remodel is almost complete and the puppy room is getting its paint job today, so they will move in tomorrow. The first puppy (Cinnamon) hit 5 pounds today and the average is 4 1/2 pounds.
Yesterday was moving day. Friday the pups were exactly four weeks old and they moved from their whelping box in the master bathroom out to one of our kennel rooms. The kennel is being remodelled but the new tile floor had already been laid and Thursday the workers completed painting the walls. All that remains to do is installation of our work surface and storage cabinets; this will be done next week. In the meantime, the Donut pack is enjoying their little 5x8 room with a dog door that opens onto a 5x35 gravel run. For the time being we have the flaps of the dog door stapled open. As the pups get used to coming and going through the door (in about 2 weeks) we will remove the staples and allow the dog door flaps to hang down. In the meantime the little kennel room is equipped with an oil heater to keep it warm during the night. The pups have a crate to sleep in and stay warm. Here is a photo when they first got to the strange new place.
We put a little mat over the dog door opening to make it easier for them to get in and out. Almost immediately a few brave souls ventured out onto the little wooden porch.
You can see a little YouTube video of the first ones outside. If you watch the video note that I mistakenly said the pups were five weeks old--not so, they were exactly four weeks old. Here is another YouTube video that shows the general layout--the pups have one indoor 5x8 room that connects to the outside gravel run. At the moment Hazel has the room next to the puppy kennel and her gravel run connects with theirs by a gate. So she can visit the pups when she wants and retreat to her own private space when she wants.
As of now we are still feeding the pups their goats milk, youghurt and rice cereal meal once a day. Hazel is nursing them when she feels like it, although we don't really know when she chooses. But the pups are still gaining handsomely and don't seem hungry. I thought they were learning table manners but yesterday they seemed to regress to their original heathen ways:
It is Sunday and the pups have had a few visitors today; Cele Guterriez who will be Fritter's new, Bob and Jane Dickey, who are giving Bailey a new forever home, and Sheil Alford, her daughters and mom, who are considering giving Maple a new home. The pups also had their first kibble meal and equipped themselves well--very enthusiastic about the new taste and much cleaner than with their milk-cereal gruel.
The average weight is now >5 pounds, which exceeds the capacity of the little kitchen scale we started with. So we have broken out the postal scale, which measures in 1/4 pound increments.
We have settled into a comfortable routine. Hazel went home yesterday so that her milk can dry up while the pups transition to getting all their nourishment from kibble. She will come back next Sunday to be with the puppies for "adult supervision" for a few weeks. We are feeding kibble (Taste of the Wild, Grain Free, Puppy Formula) three times a day. We soak the kibble in water for a few hours and put it in our two stainless puppy feeding pans. Below are a couple of photos of them going at it. The amount they are getting now is 4 cups total in each feeding. This amounts to 1.2 cups of kibble per puppy per day--an enormous amount since they only weigh a little over 5 pounds.
After they chow down there is a nice play time in the large kennel room. During the 5-10 minutes after feeding each of the little scooters poops and Louise and I are doing our own scooting around with paper towels picking up. This photo shows all ten puppies mobbing Louise and the photos after that are taken in when the pups have formed their pile in the round dog bed we keep in the large kennel room.
After their morning meal and cleanup of their kennel room the pups explored their outside kennel run.
Our main kennel room is being remodelled and the workers were all spread out in there today so the pups had their lunch out on the concrete apron in the kennel run. Here is a little video and a photo of Cinnamon napping in my lap after lunch.
Friday was a very busy day. Clayton loaded all ten puppies in the car and took them to Bishop Ranch Veterinary Clinic for their general wellness exam. Because we have been battling diarrhea the last week we also got Marquis paste and each puppy got a dose when we got home. We will repeat this a week from today. Because we left early today (7 am) the pups did not have breakfast, so right after they got their Marqui paste we fed them their lunch.
Here are some photos from the exam--Dr. Michelle Dodd, who was the vet who examined out ten Molly-Gunner puppies in February. There is only one issue, Cruller still has a suspicious lump sort of between her shoulder blades. She is the pup who had the big seroms three weeks ago and this little lump has never completely gone away. It may turn out to be a dermoid sinus that did not actually penetrate the skin. We plan to take her to Santa Rosa for Dr. Hoskins to do exploratory surgery next week and if it is a dermoid, remove it. He is the local DS expert, having done dozens of DS surgeries.
Except for Cruller's lump (and it doesn't affect her appetite or general activity level), there were absolutely no issues. All ten puppies have perfect scissor bites and there are no detectable murmurs or other structural problems.
We are still battling diarrhea. The pups had their Marquis paste yesterday but this morning about half of them still have the runs. We are putting them back on the Iams low residue food until things improve. It doesn't seem to affect their energy level (or their appetite). However, I am only feeding them half rations at lunch today. Weight gain has slowed down, but is still going up.
They are starting to explore the yard a bit beyond their 35x5 gravel kennel run. At this stage we usually see a few who are more adventurous. In this case, Maple pulled somthing off that was pretty surprising. The way our kennel is set up, there are two inside rooms that are accessible through dog doors. Because the pups are still so small, I have created a porch outside the dog door that goes into the room where the pups sleep, get fed, etc. Here is their porch.
The other room is sometimes occupied by adult dogs who are sharing the yard with the puppies. It doesn't have a porch so the small puppies can't easily get through this one:
Nevertheless, yesterday afternoon I found this inside the room that does't have the entry porch:
This is Salsa, Frida and Baily, and there on one of the dog beds with them is Maple!
This afternoon we had a few visitors, who played with the puppies in the yard for a couple of hours. These photos are from that play time.
Ruby, one of our past Camelot moms, enjoyed being out with the party.
This is Pumpkin, whose permanent name is still under discussion.
Pumpkin with her new family, Hunter and Serena Sheetz.
In addition to having a lot of visitors today, we took the first audition photos. The pups are just 5 1/2 weeks old and they have Hazel's big rear angulation. This normally makes it hard for them to hold a stack because their thigh muscles aren't yet delveloped well enough, so they tend to crouch and hock in. This bunch was amazing in their ability to hold decent stacks at this age. For the audition photos, visit this link.
Relaxing after lots of people visited Sunday afternoon. Also, mom came back from her one-week vacation. As expected, the pups follow her around and try to nurse. She is pretty over that and told them off in no uncertain terms that the dairy is closed. They are gradually getting used to the idea and when they finally stop pursuing her and trying to nurse, whe will start to play with them.
Here is a little video we took of their first experience with distributed feeding from four food bowls. They were a little unclear on the concept. But the next time, this morning, they quickly distributed themselves 3-2-3-2.
We gave Panacur this morning. This is a deworming medicine and they each get 1.5 milliliters by mouth using a plastic syringe. They will get two more doses, tomorrow and Wednesday. This aftenooon our neighbor Sheli Cardova came down and spent a couple of hours playing with the puppies and talking about her wishes. Sheli has a 12-year old Mojave son named Koda and she is looking to bring a new RR into her family to eventually be Koda's successor. She has first choice of boys or 4th choice of girls and is considering Maple or Sprinkles.
The pups have completed the first stage of self-house-training. For the last two days they have not pooped in their kennel room, using the outside gravel run completely for that purpose. They are even using the outside mostly for peeing as well. Of course, when we feed them in our large kennel room and then they scramble around and play for awhile they all seem to need to pee on the tile floor and some decide to take a poop there as well. To them the large kennel room is "outside" like their gravel run, albeit warmer and undoubtedly more comfortable.
We have had a busy time the last few days. We are still battling the runs with some of the puppies and have asked Dr. Dodd to prescribe some flagyl. The kennel remodel is continuing--the counter top and stainless steel sink were installed today and the final details will be completed by our contractor on Monday. Most importantly, Clayton took Cruller up to Santa Rosa Thursday morning to consult with Dr. Hoskins at Redwood Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Hoskins is the Bay Area dermoid specialist and we wanted to see if that is what Cruller has. He did surgery this morning and the result is that she does not have a dermoid sinus but there was an unusual structure, which he has removed. It will be biopsied to get a full identification and we will pick cruller up tomorrow afternoon.
This morning Rugby's breeder and coowner, Nancy Faville, visited to see the puppies and help stack them for a new series of photos. Since it was only 5 days since the last audition, we just took side stack photos. A new full set with head and front/rear shots will be taken next week. Second audition photos.
Redwood Vet called Friday afternoon and said Cruller was ready to go home that day, so Clayton drove up to Santa Rosa and picked her up around 4 pm. She was fitful and cried a lot in the travel crate on the way home. Here is a photo of her with her bandage, which looks like a puppy sweater.
The first night at home Cruller was clearly in pain. The clinic gave us some pain med, which we gave her by mouth with a syringe every six hours. She slept in Clayton's bed and neither man nor beast got much sleep. The next morning she bounded out when it was time for breakfast and seemed completely back to normal. Here is a video of her first meal with the sibs on Saturday morning.
Because we don't want the other puppies biting at her bandage, we decided to keep Cruller in Kennel Room #1 with Hazel. After a few hours we went to check and found that she had figured out how to get through the dog door from Kennel Room #1 (there is no step outside so she had to jump down about 10 inches) and then through the gate that joins the outside runs and then into the dog door of Kennel Room #2 where the rest of the puppies were sleeping:
Sweet but still we had to deal with the problem so we closed the gate between the outside runs and since Cruller had shown the motivation to go outside to do her business, we made her a little step so she could get through the Kennel #1 dog door.
The other issue is that we have not been successful in dealing with the upset tummies. They still have the runs (except, remarkably, Cruller). So we are giving Flagyl (metronidazole) twice a day and for lunch today we changed food from the Taste of the Wild kibble we have been feeding to a mixture of Honest Kitchen FORCE, canned pumpkin, and ground beef (we are using high-fat beef, 77% lean and 23% fat). What they had for lunch today was 3 cups of Honest Kitchen (1338 calories), 2 pounds of 23% fat ground beef (2800 calories) and about 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin. For comparison, 6 cups of TOW kibble is 4750 calories.
The change in diet, or the flagyl, seems to be working. Nevertheless, we are continuing the Honest Kitchen-ground beef-pumpkin diet for a few more days, and will continue the flagyl twice a day until all the drug is used up. This morning Clayton took Culler and Kreme to Bishop Ranch. Cruller needed to have the bandage changed and Kreme went along more or less to keep her company. We also left a stool sample for examination to see if there are any signs of parasites. The first photo below is Clayton holding Kreme while waiting for Cruller.
When we got home we gave the first flagyl dose for today and did the daily weigh-in. Here are Cruller and Cinnamon on the postal scale we use for weighing at this age.
Kreme, who has not been gaining for the last few days popped up by 3/4 pound since yesterday! We think we know what is going on with her. Because her weight had been lagging we fed her by herself yesterday morning. What we saw was that she ate slowly--she would eat a bit, then walk away, then come back for more food, etc. She ate a full amount but it became clear to us that the reason she had not been gaining was that she was just not holding her own in the feeding frenzies. So now she will be a solo diner.
This morning we took another set of audition photos. There are seven promising show-potential puppies but today we were only able to get audition photos on six of them. Sprinkles is having an off day and had no interest in either the cream cheese or the ice cream we were using as bait. She is spending the afternoon with Cruller and mom and will skip lunch. We expect her to be back to normal tomorrow. \
We are still battling the GI war. Eight of the puppies have good energy, appetites, and weight gain. But they all still have diarrhea. Two (Jelly and Sprinkles) are either even on weight the last four days or have decreased in weight. Sprinkles has been lethargic and both have very runny stool. So this afternoon we took Sprinkles and Jelly to Bishop Ranch for a consult with Dr. Janice Cain. She advised us a multi-pronged approach to rebood the GI system:
Here are a few photos from today:
Report from the poop point: The rice-tofu-albacore diet is high maintenance. Getting the right amount of materials has been challenging. At first I tried to equate the rice-tofu mixture to the kibble we had started with and plan to use long-term. That kibble is 364 calories per cup. For puppies of about 8 pounds we would normally be feeding 0.6 cups per puppy per meal. That is 218 calories per puppy per meal. Since dry rice is 640 calories per cup, we need 1/3 cup of dry rice per puppy per meal. Since we have ten puppies, we use 3 1/3 cups of dry rice per meal. Because we want the puppy food to be not too sticky, we use 3 cups of water for each cup of rice. So the 3 1/3 cups of rice requires about 10 cups of water. Then we stir in the tofu and a little canned albacore to give the bland mixture some taste, plus three envelopes of Forte Probiotic powder.
This makes a lot of material so when the puppies have eaten they look like ticks. So far the poops are still semi-liquid and yellow, since there is virtually no fiber. They are also drinking a lot of water and their urine is clear, not yellow. Sorry for all the graphic detail, but that's my life the last few days.
This morning's weigh-in showed that Sprinkles has started to gain again, up 1/4 pound since yesterday after a three-day decline. Her energy level and appetite also seems to be improved. Jelly, on the other hand, has been acting like Sprinkles did yesterday. Her weight went down 1/4 pound from yesterday after a three-day period when her weight was level. Before the next feeding we will give her 25 cc of subcutaneous fluid; this seemed to help Sprinkles yesterday. We also gave each puppy another 1.5 cc of the liquid immodium preparation this morning.
October 16 The last two days we have been following our GI-reset routine. Thursday and Friday was the rice-tofu-canned albacore-probiotic diet. It was difficult for the puppies to get food to satisfy their appetites and they were insatiable. Also, the weights were irregular and even the largest and most aggressive eaters lost weight one day. The poops during this period were yellow and the consistency of buttermilk--no pooper scooper necessary, just hose into the kennel gravel where the natural bacteria will take care of the residue.
As I wrote on Friday, I gave Jelly about 20-25 cc of the subcutaneous Ringer's solution on Friday and then twice more on Saturday. The effect was very impressive. She is back to her enthusiastic self today and after being down a full 3/4 pound because of the dehydration, she is back on track and weighed 8 3/4 pounds this morning.
Poor little Cruller still has a big seroma from the surgery. The incision appears to be almost completely healed and if it were not for the seroma, we would be able to let her be with the other puppies. However, they view her big floppy seroma as some kind of novel puppy toy and try to bite it, so we are keeping her in a separate kennel room with Hazel.
Yesterday the pups were 7 weeks old and today they all got their first DHPP vaccination at morning weigh-in:
Clayton drove Cruller to Bishop Ranch this morning to have her seroma drained. Her she is all curled up in the car on the way home:
We had a lot of visitors this afternoon; here are some candids.
Kreme has taken a fancy to one particular folding chair--she isn't quite able to get up on it by herself, but she asked to be lifted and then likes napping there.
4th Audition Photos. Big day. Around mid-day when it was nice and warm in the back yard we did the audition photos (see link at left) and then all the pups had a bath, their first bath in our new dog-bathing station.
Here are a few photos from yesterday when we were preparing to take the audition photos on the patio:
Fritter, now known as Eddie, with his designer ridge:
Sprinkles, Jelly and Pumpkin, taking sun bath:
Custard descending--steps no problem for this outgoing puppy:
Jelly bringing her treasure from the kennel:
Fritter (Eddie) again:
Sprinkles and Jelly:
Hazel overseeing from the hot tub cover:
I think we have turned the corner on the tummy disease, whatever the cause. Over the last few days I have come to suspect that we are harboring a GI virus because the problem seems to have passed from puppy to puppy. The general pattern is that a puppy will stop gaining weight for a few days and sometimes even lose weight. In two cases the diarrhea has been serious enough that the pup became dehydrated. In both cases (Sprinkles and Jelly) administration of subcutaneous Ringer's solution reversed the dehydration and the pup's energy level and appetite rebounded over the next day of so. The latest pup to be afflictded is Cruller, who had not had any diarrhea for the first two weeks. Because of the seroma caused by her surgery, she does not stay with the other puppies, except to eat. Two days ago, just as the stools of most of the other puppies were firming up and becoming normal, Cruller began to have the milkshake poops.
Yesterday I took a large combined stool sample to Bishop Ranch for a PCR-fecal test. This is a procedure to search for a possible GI virus. The result is expected today or tomorrow. If a virus is identified this will not lead to further treatment, but will educate us as to the cause of this problem.
We changed the pups from bison-based kibble to salmon-based kibble, both Taste of the Wild Puppy Formula. This was done just in case the diarrhea might be caused by the protein source. As of this morning about 7 of the puppies have normal stools. Except for Cruller, we have not identified the other two who still have the runs, but this estimate is based on the ratio of normal to runny poops that were found in the kennel run on the morning cleanup. During the day we will try to monitor the pups in real time to see which are still affected. On the basis of morning weigh-in, we think that one might be Custard.
Mom took the day off to go to a dog show, the annual Bay Area Rhodesian Ridgeback Club Specialty. She was the 3rd placed of the 12 female champions and earned an Award of Merit from Judge Lou Guerrero. So Hazel is officially a working mom.
The last few days have been busy and eventful. The diarrhea returned and on Friday we got the results of the PCR-fecal, which revealed the presence of Giardia and Cryptosporidia. So we began another course of Panacur, 3 cc per puppy per day for three days and then 3.5 cc per puppy per day for another three days. After that I will be spraying all of our large kennel run with bleach to kill any bugs that are in the gravel and create a sterile environment so that the pups do not get re-infected. Of course, some of the puppies will be leaving for new homes and that is probably the best way for them to get in a sterile enviornment. Giardia and Cryptosporidium are single-celled parasites that are obtained when dogs drink contaminated water. We don't know how the parasites got onto our property, but likely were brought here by one of our dogs returning from a walk in Briones or a dog show, or one of the visitors who romp in open spaces and come here for dog shows. In any event, we will be doing what we can to sterilize our kennel by mopping the tile floors and spraying outdoor areas with bleach solution.
Here is a cute picture of Cinnamon and Custard waiting for something exciting to happen in the kennel.
Yesterday was graduation day for our first puppy--Jelly went to live with her new owner, RR breeder Peggy Davis (Neemah Kennels) in San Diego. Here is a picture of Jelly at Bishop Ranch getting her health certificate for the trip and a photo of her with Peggy at her new home:
Today was graduation day for Cruller (now Zelda) and Sprinkles (now probably Galli). Zelda went all the way to Portland, Oregon with her new family, Lindsey Evans and Andrew Lindaas. Lindsey knows Hazel well because she is the daughter of Debbie Bozarth, Hazel's every-day owner. Galli went all of 400 yards down Alhamba Valley Road to live with the Alford family, Scott and Sheli and their children Lexi, Lindsay and Paris.
Our friend David Bueno came for a visit today and helped us take another set of audition photos of the seven puppies still here. Here they are:
We are winning the battle against the bugs--Clayton has sprayed our entire kennel run area (about 1800 sq ft) with chlorox solution, then rinsed it well with water. It still smells a little of bleach but no more than when the house cleaners have mopped the floor. Hopefully it killed any bugs still lurking in the gravel.
All the puppies seem normal now with respect to their output, even little Kreme. She is 60% of the way through a 5-day course of azrithromycin, which is the treatment for cryptosporidium, one of the two bugs identified by our PCR-fecal exam. Her activity level continues to be high and her appetite is fine, as long as she has a partner. We are feeding her with Maple, who also tends to be a slower eater than the rest of the piggies. It is working as Kreme is up 2 pounds in just the last five days and Maple is up 2 1/4 pounds in the same time.
Today was graduation day for another puppy--Pumpkin headed out to her new home in San Mateo with her new family, Hunter and Serena Sheetz, and her new name--Cadence.
Today was graduation day for Fritter, whose new name is "Eddie", Camelot's Prince Edward. His new owner is Cele Gutierrez, who lives in Pleasanton and whose first Ridgeback was born in 1993--one of seven puppies in the 3rd Camelot litter.
Also missing from the dinner table tonight will be Cinnamon, who is on a "trial run" with April Powers and her daughter Skyler Edgecomb in their Kentfield home.
Graduation day for Glaze, who is now Camelot's Mai-T La Diabla (Xena). She lives in Cool CA with John and Marcia Anderson and two-year old Apollo, Camelot's Mai-T Mystic Healer.
Graduation day for Maple, who flew to Baltimore on the United Airlines red-eye.
Maple's new owner is Fiona Horsfall, Lazipalm Kennels, and his new name is Rogue, Camelot's Piece o' Eight @ Lazipalm. Graduation photo with Fiona will follow soon.
Graduation day for Kreme, now Ella, Camelot's The Livin' Was Easy. Ella lives in San Francisco with her new family, George and Monika Yungert.
Later this day, Clayton was woring on his computer--in fact, updating this very blog, when suddenly the internet connection disappeared. The problem was quickly diagnosed: