Progress Report: about four steps forward, one step back

Okay, so, first, everything is (probably) just fine!

However, not entirely to my surprise — there’s usually something — the smallest puppy, the black and tan boy, stopped gaining weight and then started losing weight, very slowly, last Thursday. Eight days old. Well, I’ve seen that before. All kinds of things can make a puppy suddenly stall out. Left alone, I suppose such a puppy would likely fade and die. I can’t imagine letting that happen, so I personally prefer to intervene aggressively as soon as I see there might possibly be a problem. I tube-fed him six or so ccs of formula four or five times a day for two days and yep, that looks like it’s about got it. He’s mostly gaining fine on his own again now, with just very minor intervention from me — I tube-fed him once yesterday just because he might have started slipping again. Maybe not, but I’m the hands-on type. He gained overnight all by himself. He’s the smallest, though, a full hundred grams smaller than the biggest puppy — twelve ounces to her eighteen-plus. Weights at this age are meaningless and don’t translate in any way to adult weights, by the way.

Anyway, then the big tricolor boy started sputtering milk through his nose while nursing. Yep, I’ve seen that before too. This is a time when it’s a bad idea to google around because everything sounds dire. Cleft palate! Aspiration pneumonia! Actually, neither is likely. The puppy doesn’t have a cleft palate; as if my vet wouldn’t have checked, plus a cleft palate doesn’t wait ten days before causing problems. Could cause aspiration pneumonia, but as I say, I’ve seen this before and know it probably won’t. Greedy, powerful puppies sometimes have this trouble at this age. The swallowing reflex hasn’t quite matured — that happens around two weeks of age — so this problem is likely to solve itself shortly. If it’s still happening at two weeks, well, when he’s weaned, that’ll solve the problem. In the meantime, milk through the nose is fine. Milk in the lungs is very not fine; that’s when you get pneumonia. When the puppy starts sputtering, I pull him off the nipple, swab off his face with a tissue, hold his body angled down for a minute until his breathing sounds normal, hold him to my ear to be sure his lungs sound normal — they do — and then put him back. I’m restricting him to anterior breasts because those are less productive. Usually this only happens once per nursing session because when he’s less hungry, he suckles less aggressively and doesn’t tend to have this trouble.

However, this does mean I tend to be awake for ten to twenty minutes every two hours all through the night. Luckily I have no trouble cat-napping during the day. Just remember that parents of newborn humans have a heck of a lot longer before they get a full night’s sleep!

You have to look very, very closely, but you can actually see the black-and-tan puppy’s face. He has a tiny bit of white on his chin, if that helps orient you.

Meanwhile, moving ahead nicely with the revision of No Foreign Sky.

Plus I took one day to finish a scene in Tasmakat, because I figured out how to finish that scene and figured it’d be just as easy to write those pages as take notes on how to do it.

This is the opening scene, at least right now. I can tell you, the first sentence — some version of the first sentence — is almost certainly going to appear in the finished draft. It’s a fine sentence and I’m proud of it. It was tough because, though one is long and the other short, the first sentences of Tuyo and Tarashana are tense, grabby sentences and so I needed another sentence like that. I think I have one.

Everything else about these early scenes is subject to change. A lot depends on how long the draft turns out to be and how much of the journey back from the high north I choose to show. I think I have to show enough to develop the relationship between Ryo and Darra, and Ryo and Elaro, and Darra and Elaro. But that doesn’t mean I need to show every step along the way. So, not sure whether this early scene will appear in the draft or not.

I’m also reading more right now than I have before this year. I’m re-reading books plus reading books off my paper TBR shelves. It’s not necessarily really fair to the book, but these days, if a book doesn’t grab me right out of the gate, I probably won’t press forward past ten pages or so — and it’s nice to see the TBR pile shrinking a little for a change. I ditched three books last night. For one, I didn’t like the dystopian backdrop; for another, I didn’t care for the highly emotional present-tense style; for the third, I don’t know, it just didn’t grab me.

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2 thoughts on “Progress Report: about four steps forward, one step back”

  1. As a vet tech, I love hearing experienced breeders calmness with puppies! It’s a nice change from my ER C-section “catch the puppy and do the things!” Hahah (I love c sections though, neonates are my favorite). And I’d love to have a Cav friend one day! Top breed even with the scary medical problems they get. Best moment in Neurology is when a good Cav breeder brings in a happy healthy wriggling litter to be cleared. Just great dogs, have never met a mean one; and never have worked on a aggressive one. Always sweet and loving.

    I hope it continues to progress well!

  2. Well, Jenny, I love experienced techs who grab puppies and get them going promptly, and then run out and tell me what color and sexes the puppies are. (I’ve gone back to watch c-sections quite a few times, but finally discovered that honestly, I prefer to wait until the vet is closing — watching that doesn’t bother me.) I sure like to hear right away that the puppies are vigorous and yelling, and it’s nice to know their colors and sexes too, though that’s less important, of course.

    Worst emergency c-section I’ve ever had, all the puppies but one were dead and that one was very, very small and weak. Five or six days premature. Just about four ounces. The tech worked on her for a solid half-hour and got her going. She actually did pretty well right along after her terrible start, although her bones weren’t completely ossified and her chest deformed and flattened. I figured that out right away and stopped letting her ever lie on her chest. She turned out with really superb conformation, but a significant underbite. She’s a grandmother of this current litter, come to think of it.

    The … let me see … hmm … I know I got this wrong last time I told someone … okay, the father, the paternal grandfather, and the maternal great-grandmother of this litter were all MRI’d, so I hope these babies are pretty safe from SM. And the father, uncle, aunt, three out of four grandparents, and … hmm … six out of eight great-grandparents are still all heart clear, so … I mean, there aren’t any guarantees, of course, but I hope these babies live long, vigorous lives.

    And one plus with Cavaliers is, big survey a couple of decades ago indicates that they’re less likely to get cancer and less likely to die of cancer than average, at every age.

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