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Transcript: Dog Breeding Chat
Friday, March 28, 2003: Karen Copely of WhelpWise

PHMorgan: Hi, Christy!

PHChristy: Welcome to Dog Breeding Chat!

PHMorgan: Our Special Guest is Karen Copley of Veterinary Perinatal Specialties

PHChristy: We're very happy to welcome Karen Copely, RNC, BSN

PHChristy: She is the Veterinary Perinatal Specialties founder and owner, a high risk obstetrical nurse who co-owns two patents on methods to monitor uterine activity and fetal heart rates in non-human mammals, used by breeders in their homes

PHChristy: She is going to start out with some comments on this method of monitoring pregnancy and whelping, and explain how it can help minimize difficulties and deaths related to whelping

PHChristy: I am going to be typing for Karen tonight

PHChristy: If you have a question after she gives her opening remarks, please type ? into the room and then wait for Mowgli to call on you.

WhelpWise: Thanks very much for having me

WhelpWise: and thanks to Christie for typing for me *G*

PHMorgan: Pull up a sofa and get comfy, Karen!

WhelpWise: I would like to give a little background on the monitoring system

WhelpWise: I started monitoring and devopled this service from frustration and lack of basick knowledge and caring about the process these dogs go through

WhelpWise: so many bad outcomes are related to lack of basic information, but the information IS available in human medicine, and is the standard in human medicine

WhelpWise: I was suprised no one had looked at using commonplace human methods on our animals

WhelpWise: after doing substantial research, I learned that labor and fetal heartrates are easily documented, that the process of whelping could be monitored and managed just as we do in humans, by providing state of the art monitoring equipment and exceptionally qualified cheerleaders *G* available to the breeders by phone.

PHMorgan: (anyone who arrived a bit late remember we WILL have the transcript posted!)

WhelpWise: Whelping outcomes could be vastly improved, keeping the breeder, owner, and animal in the house setting, and providing services in the house setting.

WhelpWise: we like to start the service about 4-5 days before the bitch is due, which gives the breeder an opportunity to practice doing fetal heart rates, and us to establish what her normal contraction pattern looks like prior to labor

WhelpWise: with this information, we're able to accurately predict when whelping should occur, within about a four to six hour range, frequently within minutes

WhelpWise: this allows the breeder more freedom, being able to sleep at night, go to work, or know which night you need to stay up

WhelpWise: The service includes a uterine contraction monitor that hooks into any normal phone line

WhelpWise: it does not interrupt normal phone function, and it takes about a minute to send an hour's worth of data

WhelpWise: there is also an ultrasound doppler that is used to detect the heartrates of the puppies, allowing the breeder to accurately estimate litter size, as well as watch puppies for signs of distress during labor

WhelpWise: if distressed puppies are detected, the breeder can make an informed decision about intervention, possibly choosing to do a c-section, or stimulate the progression of labor with oxytocin if indicated

WhelpWise: the equipment is held in place by either placing the bitch in a side lying position and tucking the sensor underneath her, or using an elastic belt to hold the contraction sensor and a small pouch to hold the recording device

WhelpWise: the bitch does need to lie quietly during the monitoring sessions

WhelpWise: during active labor, shorter sessions, usually 10-15 minutes, are all that are needed to accurately document the labor process

WhelpWise: ok, I can take questions now

travlinpom: ?

PHMowgli: if you have a question type in a ? and I will take down your name

PHMowgli: GA trav

travlinpom: I have a toy breed, how large is this monitor?

WhelpWise: The contraction sensor is about three inches in diameter

WhelpWise: the smallest dog we've monitored was a four and a half pound Yorkie

WhelpWise: we weren't sure if we were putting her on the monitor or the monitor on her, but it worked out fine

PHMowgli: ?

WhelpWise: she sat on Mom's lap during monitoring

PHMowgli: trav any followup?

travlinpom: no thank you

PHMowgli: Ok how hard is it to make arrangements for a monitor system?

WhelpWise: Mowgli, we recommend you book when you breed

PHMowgli: thank you karen

WhelpWise: if you don't do that, we always try to work people in, but we do have a maximum capacity of clients we can take care of and do a good job

PHMowgli: wildfire go ahead with your question

wildfiref9: ?i have a bitch(chihuahua) that may be having a false pregnancy -could you tell me the sytoms that might help me to confirm that

travlinpom: ?

WhelpWise: wildfire, a false pregnancy has no heartrate, but it's kind of an expensive way to tell if they are pregnant or not - an xray would be cheaper.

WhelpWise: ga

Vizsla4u: ?

travlinpom: I came in a few minutes late, did you discuss the cost of this system?

Jaxson323: ?

WhelpWise: It is $330, and shipping is extra but averages $20-30, depending on how far away you are and how fast you need it

PHMorgan: (late arrivals - we will be posting a transcript of this chat so you can get the whole thing!)

travlinpom: Does it matter how long you use the system? any difference in price?

WhelpWise: Pom, if people need to start early, such as pre-term labor, there is a price increase, but $330 covers about five days ahead of time until they are done whelping

PHMowgli: Viz go ahead

Vizsla4u: Do you feel this device is for a person who a one or two time breeder and has questions as far as inexperience...I mean..I have never had death in a litter and I know they whelp 60-63 day from the last breeding

WhelpWise: Vizsla, we specialize in people who do one or two litters a year. Most of our clients breed just once a year, which means that litter is VERY important.

PHMowgli: if you have a question type in a ? and I will take down your name

WhelpWise: we also specialize in people who are new breeders, because they are the ones who frequently need the most support

Vizsla4u: So do you feel it is for the first time breeder with no experience to calm their fears and nerves

Vizsla4u: that was the answer to my question before I typed it..LOL

WhelpWise: Vizsla, yes, because it's easy to listen to all the old wives' tale horror stories, and be inundated with so much information you dont' know what to believe

WhelpWise: or in the case of an asymptomatic bitch, there is nothing to see

WhelpWise: the ONLY way you can tell if your puppies are ok is by watching heartrates

WhelpWise: It's also for experienced breeders - they can also benefit from having accurate, objective information to base their whelping decisions

WhelpWise: You have a bitch in front of you pushing pushing pushing pushing

WhelpWise: she's not making any progress

WhelpWise: does she have a stuck puppy or does she have inertia?

WhelpWise: the treatments are absolutely opposite. Stuck puppy needs a c-section, inertia needs medication, calcium or oxytocin or both

WhelpWise: we can make the decision about the correct treatment for that bitch by using the monitoring equipment

WhelpWise: whereas if you are relying on your own subjective observations, and you think it's inertia and you give her oxytocin, you run an extreme risk of rupturing her uterus.

WhelpWise: In addition, oxytocin is grossly overused, potentiating fetal distress by making the contractions too strong, and also, when used in higher doses, saturating the effective receptor sites on the uterus and making subsequent doses ineffective

WhelpWise: Also, the most common date of delivery from a natural breeding is 60 days from your first tie, if you want to look at statistics

WhelpWise: that is based on statistics of over 4000 whelpings

Jaxson323: What is the aprox rate of the fetal heartbeat

PHMorgan: ?

PHMowgli: Jaxon go ahead now

Jaxson323: What is the approx rate of the fetal heartbeat?

Vizsla4u: ?

Vizsla4u: does the fetal rate change according to the breed of the dog or are they all the same

PHMowgli: Karen did you get Jaxon's question on what is an approxiamte heartrate for a fetus?

WhelpWise: The range of healthy heartrate for a fetus is around 170-210

WhelpWise: smaller breeds tend to run on the higher side, 200-130 even

WhelpWise: larger breeds, 170-180

PHMowgli: wiches go ahead now

Wiches: Should you do a sonogram or xray prior to using this system to know how many pups to monitor?

WhelpWise: Wiches, the last data I pulled on our client base who did x-rays, 80 percent of the x-rays were wrong

WhelpWise: while it may be a helpful tool to x-ray, continuing to monitor fetal heartrates during the whelping has proven to be a very valuable follow up tool

WhelpWise: did I miss another question?

PHMowgli: Ann go ahead

PHMowgli: No Karen

PHMowgli: Ann are you ready?

ann1234: I asked at what point to begin using WhelpWise but my question may already have been answered

WhelpWise: ann, four or five days before she is due

PHMowgli: Morgan go ahead

PHMorgan: Who is on call to help? Are these folks trained in all aspects of whelping?

WhelpWise: Morgan, we have a broad spectrum of backgrounds

WhelpWise: we have two obstectrical nurses, myself and one other person

WhelpWise: both of us have over 20 years of human obstectrics

WhelpWise: Jean is a pharmacist and breeds Rhodesian Ridgebacks

WhelpWise: Meg is a certified veterinary technician and has Dalmatians

WhelpWise: Annette is also a CVT and breeds Australian Shepherds

Vizsla4u: ?

PHMorgan: ?

WhelpWise: all of us have been breeding for 7-20+ years

PHMorgan: Are you/they veterinarians?

WhelpWise: we always offer the service in connection with a veterniarian

WhelpWise: information is faxed to the veterinarian

WhelpWise: and we get signed veterinary orders back as to how they would like us to manage the case

WhelpWise: ga

wildfiref9: ?

PHMowgli: ann go ahead

ann1234: How many bitches can you monitor at a time and are you doing the monitoring or is the breeder? How does the system work?

WhelpWise: Ann, each breeder does their own monitoring on their bitch at home

WhelpWise: we have 32 monitoring units right now, and while not everyone is in labor at the same time, we do have periods of being busier than others

WhelpWise: and the ladies in labor always get our first priority

WhelpWise: ga

PHMowgli: viz ga

Vizsla4u: this is just a comment...but if I was having a whelping problem I rather call the vet(VMD) and see him for 100-150 a emmergency visit then to spend 330...I think if any one plans a litter they should call the vet and let them know when they are close to time of whelping and ask if they can call upon their advice and services if needed

WhelpWise: Can the vet tell you when labor started?

WhelpWise: can the vet tell you what their heart rates are?

WhelpWise: can the vet tell you if there is a stuck puppy if there is a soft tissue obstruction?

WhelpWise: you can do an xray and it will look perfectly clear

WhelpWise: but the uterine monitor can tell you there is something wrong

Vizsla4u: what are the breeds most common to have whelping problems

WhelpWise: believe it or not, we have a lot of problems with inertia in labs

WhelpWise: Goldens are fairly famous for having quasi-asymptomatic onset of labor

WhelpWise: Intertia is also a problem in Bernese and Greater Swiss Mt Dogs

WhelpWise: Smaller dogs tend to whelp faster

ann1234: ?

WhelpWise: but they also seem to be asymptomatic when there is something going on

WhelpWise: just when you think they are not doing anything, they are truly in active labor

Vizsla4u: I had labradors for 14 years and vizsla 7...and never had any troubles..but maybe I was just lucky

WhelpWise: Yes, indeed you were!

PHMowgli: wildfiref9 your turn

wildfiref9: just a comment the temperature has a great deal to do with labor as to when it starts

WhelpWise: wildfire, I did a study that was published for the theriogenology meeting last year

WhelpWise: study of 100 clients that checked temperature at least twice a day

WhelpWise: a third of the time, there was no decrease below 99.5

WhelpWise: a third of the time the temperature dropped below 99.5 but the onset of labor varied from already having an active labor, and not starting labor for five days

WhelpWise: there was no correlation with bad outcome and temperature in that group

WhelpWise: the other third of the time, the temperature went up and down and up and down and we really couldn't make a distinction as to what was the temperature drop

WhelpWise: the fact is women's temperature also drops, but has anyone's obstetrician ever asked a woman if her temperature has changed to determine if her labor has begun?

WhelpWise: no

WhelpWise: why? because we have better ways of determining that

WhelpWise: and now so do we in dogs

PHMowgli: Morgan go ahead

PHMorgan: Can you give one or two examples of situations/scenarios when Whelpwise has been invaluable? So we can visualize this in use?

WhelpWise: Last week we had a lab on service, very very normal labor pattern, progressed to the pushing stage

WhelpWise: and it was very obvious she had the stuck puppy pattern, which is an abnormal contraction pattern we can find with the monitoring unit

wildfiref9: ?

WhelpWise: we sent her to the vet for an evaluation, he did an xray

WhelpWise: pelvic size was normal

WhelpWise: puppy size was fine

WhelpWise: in his opinion there was no reason why she couldn't deliver these puppies, sent her back home

WhelpWise: we monitored her, the abnormal pattern was worse

WhelpWise: we began to see uncomfortable decelerations in fetal heartrate in the puppy that would be first to deliver

WhelpWise: we sent her back to the vet

WhelpWise: who reluctantly performed a c-section

WhelpWise: only to find a completely abnormally uterine body with a stricture that would not have allowed any of the puppies to pass

WhelpWise: the vet said had he not had the information from the monitor, he would have never hesitated to give her oxytocin, which in his words, would have caused a uterine rupture, and most likely

WhelpWise: lost the litter and even possibly the bitch

WhelpWise: and on a postive side, we had a Norfolk breeder on Tuesday

WhelpWise: who has been breeding for 20 years and had NEVER had a vaginal delivery

WhelpWise: she always felt she panicked and did c-sections prematurely

WhelpWise: because she didn't know what was going on and was not comfortable waiting

WhelpWise: her bitch established a very normal pattern of labor

WhelpWise: heart rates were monitored throughout the whelping

WhelpWise: and she delivered three 7-ounce puppies without a problem

WhelpWise: ga

PHMorgan: HOw much time had passed from the time of the abnormal contractions to the section? jsut curious

WhelpWise: Morgan - time passed was probably about 2-3hours

wildfiref9: oh what are the risks of a breeched pup on the monitor

WhelpWise: I personally prefer a breech delivery

WhelpWise: a breech delivery in dogs is not the problem it is in humans

WhelpWise: in humans the head is the smallest part and the cervix will clamp around the head

WhelpWise: a dog's cervix is nothing like a humans

WhelpWise: the advantage to a breech delivery in the dog is that you can get hold of thighs and hips and help manipulate them out if it's a tight fit

PHMorgan: (anyone who arrived a bit late - the transcript for this chat will be posted!)

WhelpWise: if it's a tight fit and the pup comes head first, there's very little ability to manipulate and help the puppy out without pulling on the neck and head

WhelpWise: which can damage the puppy

wildfiref9: ty

Vizsla4u: ?

PHMowgli: ann1234 you are up

Wiches: ?

ann1234: Is the info from the monitoring sent to your office for translation or is the breeder determining what the reading mean?

WhelpWise: ann - it all comes to the office

WhelpWise: we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

WhelpWise: A question from Christie....

PHMowgli: and I have 2 more on queue

PHChristy: Can I ask about problems with red raspberry leaf you have observed?

WhelpWise: We keep outcome statistics on everyone who uses the service

WhelpWise: we look at diet, supplements, c-section rate, fetal mortality rate

WhelpWise: what we noticed very early on was a much higher fetal mortality rate for people who were using anything with red raspberry or any of the other uterine stimulants

WhelpWise: this contrasted sharply with the mortality rate of people who were not using them, 33 percent fetal mortality with, 5-7 percent without

WhelpWise: red raspberry is sold to make the uterus stronger

WhelpWise: people think by "exercising" the uterus it will get stronger and you will have a faster, better whelping

WhelpWise: what people don't realize is that the uterus is made out of smooth muscle, not skeletal muscle like your arms and legs

WhelpWise: smooth muscle is what lines the inside of your blood vessels and bronchial tubes, you have no control over it

ann1234: ?

WhelpWise: by stimulating it with red raspberry you cannot make it stronger, but you can make it more irritable

WhelpWise: irritable means that instead of having a nice relaxed smooth uterus for the placenta to burrow into and establish a good blood supply, it is constricted and hard, not allowing good placental attachment, thus causing premature placental separation and fetal death

WhelpWise: ga with the next question

PHMowgli: wildfiref9 go ahead

wildfiref9: how long in between pups is normal -i have a chihuahua

WhelpWise: wildfire, there is no such definition of "normal"

WhelpWise: but with an adequate labor pattern it's usually around 30-45 minutes

WhelpWise: it is not unusual to have good contractions and have it go 1 and a half to two hours between puppies

MesaShelties: ??

WhelpWise: what's important is to know that your contractions are adequate and if not, use the oxytocin and calcium with adjusted doses to return the contraction pattern back to normal

WhelpWise: ga with the next question

PHMowgli: wiches go ahead

Wiches: Norfolks freewhelp more often than Norwich. Any success stories with Norwich? So many need c-sections.

WhelpWise: We've had about even steven with Norwich and Norfolk around here

WhelpWise: the biggest issue with both of those breeds is very large puppies

WhelpWise: using progesterone testing and timing to achieve a bigger letter will help with exceptionally large puppies

WhelpWise: the more the merrier

WhelpWise: LOL

WhelpWise: do we have time for more questions?

PHMowgli: we have one more in queue

PHMowgli: mesa shelties go ahead

MesaShelties: on vitimin supliments, is Vit E & C helpful for the bitch in whelp?

PHMorgan: (anyone who arrived late, never fear, the transcript of this chat will be posted)

wildfiref9: ?

WhelpWise: Mesa, we don't keep statistics specifically on vitamins, but I do want to caution people on being careful with fat soluble vitamins such as A, D, and E. All of those can cause birth defects if used in HIGH amounts

WhelpWise: however, we are beginning a research project looking at Vitamin D being deficient and possibly contributing to whelping issues, because it deregulates calcium metabolism

WhelpWise: so don't rush right out and start your dogs on vitamin D but don't be surprised if in the next couple of years if you see a much different perception of nutrients needed for the pregnant bitch

MesaShelties: so too much Vit D is not good?

WhelpWise: additionally, calcium supplementation also deserves substantial research

WhelpWise: Mesa, right

MesaShelties: until after the delivery?

WhelpWise: it is my opinion that increasing the bitch's calcium consumption the last seven days of pregnancy when puppies began to substantially put on bone is a good idea

MesaShelties: then in moderation?

WhelpWise: the research that showed calcium supplementation being bad and causing eclampsia was done on a very small group of dogs who were given in excess of 250,000 mgs of calcium a day for their entire pregnancy

WhelpWise: no wonder they had a problem

WhelpWise: Thank you everyone for having me

WhelpWise: thank you thank you thank you

PHMorgan: Thanks for coming, Karen!

MesaShelties: thank you!!

Wiches: Thank you. Have a great weekend!

PHMowgli: thankyou karen

wildfiref9: ty for your knowledge and help good nite

WhelpWise: goodnight all!

PHMorgan: Christie - thanks for "translating!"

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