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"Phoenix" litter:

BORN: 26.11.2018

SIRE: Ash (Sylvaen Rise From The Ashes)
DAM: Vega (Sylvaen Vatrena Lisica)

8 PUPPIES (4 females & 4 males):

Sylvaen Fenghuang (Grey) - AUSTRIA
Sylvaen Gandaberunda (Akela) - AUSTRIA
Sylvaen Huma (Huma) - FINLAND
Sylvaen Simurgh (Luna) - GERMANY
Sylvaen Fawkes (Fawkes) - NETHERLANDS
Sylvaen Firebird (Yukon) - AUSTRIA
Sylvaen Oksoko (Hiko) - HUNGARY
Sylvaen Phoenix (Shadow) - SWITZERLAND

Pregnancy was confirmed via ultrasound scan on 18.10.2018.
Vega had an x-ray on 20.11.2018 and we counted 8 puppies!!
I originally planned (and expected) that Vega would whelp naturally. However, after Misty's emergency caesarean, just a few days prior to Vega's due date, I began to reconsider everything. In light of all the factors, there were some concerns… although Vega was in excellent health and top condition, her advanced maternal age was a relevant factor, much like how human pregnancies over the age of 35 are traditionally considered “high risk” due to the increased risk of complications. Moreover, her past whelping history raised some additional concerns... Vega’s first litter, sired by Sampo, was born in March 2012. The result was 10 healthy puppies, 9 of which were born via emergency caesarean (due to secondary uterine inertia) after the birth of the first puppy. Vega’s second litter, sired by Zente, was born in November 2015. The result was 4 healthy female puppies, all whelped naturally without any complications. Vega’s third litter, sired by Nanuk, was born in February 2017. The result was 6 healthy male puppies, all whelped naturally… however, the final puppy was an excessively large male (weighing 671g!) that got stuck, which required emergency veterinary intervention (glucose drip + calcium infusion + oxytocin) as well as manual exertion to safely extract him from the birth canal.

Considering that this would be Vega’s fourth/final litter, sired by Ash (the son of Nanuk) I was expecting the possibility for above average / potentially extremely large puppies. Anticipating the realistic likelihood that large puppies could get stuck (as with her third litter) and the fact that we counted at least 8 puppies on the x-ray, indicating an increased risk of uterine inertia (as with her first litter), there was a definite possibility that this final litter may require emergency veterinary intervention and, potentially, an emergency caesarean. Having just experienced such a stressful and emotional situation a few days prior, I was in no rush for a repeat scenario. Moreover, a late-night intervention would mean having a limited emergency team on-hand at short notice. With recent experience delivering / reviving only 3 puppies born by emergency caesarean (veterinarian + technician in the operating room, and Dino + I reviving the puppies as they were handed to us) we simply did not have enough hands to go around for the 3 puppies and it was stressful to “juggle” them between the two of us. The thought of having to potentially revive up to 8 puppies, between only 2 people in an emergency situation, was incredibly daunting and a potentially life-or-death scenario… especially after our recent emotional rollercoaster.

The idea to schedule a caesarean for Vega first materialized as an option to provide potential peace of mind and eliminate any unnecessary risks, knowing that there would be a whole team of professionals helping out during the daytime, rather than just one additional veterinary assistant during a late-night emergency scenario. Most importantly, I considered Vega’s well-being and what would be the best option for her in her current situation. Having had 2 caesareans myself (emergency caesarean with my son due to macrosomia and scheduled caesarean with my daughter due to polyhydramnios) I wasn't particularly worried about the caesarean procedure itself but, rather, the potential risk of complications or things going wrong. Any invasive surgery under general anesthesia entails a certain degree of risk or potential for complications, so it was a very difficult decision to make and I spent several days agonizing as to whether it was the right decision or not. However, with respect to all the relevant factors, in the end I decided to follow my gut instinct and schedule an elective caesarean on her due date. Thankfully, we had tracked Vega’s exact ovulation date via progesterone testing.

Naturally, I am pro-science / modern technology (pro-vaccine, modern medicine, etc); however, I also believe that natural reproduction (mating and whelping) without the need for assisted reproduction (artificial insemination or routine caesarean) is extremely important for the health of a dog breed overall. On the contrary, I believe that caesarean should only be considered if all the factors indicate that it is in the best interests of the individual dog, according to the specific case-by-case factors. In this case, it was the right decision because when we arrived at the vet clinic on Vega’s due date, on time for her scheduled appointment, the veterinary technician did a preliminary ultrasound scan to check on the puppies, and discovered that they had extremely low heart-rates (under 120bmp) indicating that they were already in distress and needed to be delivered immediately. Had I decided to not schedule the caesarean, and let nature take its course, it would have surely ended in disaster. Thankfully, all 8 puppies were delivered alive and healthy on 26.11.2018.

Since it was Vega’s last litter, we also decided to take the opportunity to have her surgically sterilized (complete spay) while she was in the operating room, after all the puppies were delivered, so that she would not have to go under general anesthesia again in the future. Thankfully, Vega has an excellent maternal instinct and she immediately accepted her puppies, but it took a couple of days for her milk supply to kick in after the surgery so she was prescribed Reglan (metoclopramide) and we also helped with tube-feeding the puppies around the clock for the first week.

Litter Pedigree:

Please click for FULL SIZE version!

Litter Pedigree

PART 1 -- (Weeks 0-8)
Photos from weeks 0-8. Here are some photos from weeks 0-8.
PART 2 -- (Weeks 8-15)
Photos from weeks 8-15. Here are some photos from weeks 8-15.