Prep: have blankets, water, a pair of sterile scissors, some latex gloves, a cell phone and the phone number of your local emergency veterinary service available. We think the igloo thing may be too confining for her. She'll need room to stand up, turn around easily, and walk around without stepping on the pups.
About 12-24 hours before the births the dam’s temperature will drop a couple of degrees. If her normal temperature is, say, 101°, it may drop to about 99° or 98°. The only way you’ll know if her temperature is dropping, of course, is if you regularly take her temperature. Twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening during the latter part of her pregnancy – is usually suffi-cient.
The onset of labor is usually accompanied by heavy panting, pacing, and “nest building” behaviors. The dog may whine throughout the process, shriek at the birth of each puppy, or be completely silent. When hard labor starts, the contractions become more severe. The dam’s panting will escalate a bit, and she may “hunch” over and/or lift her tail with each contraction. Just before the birth of each pup, you’ll see the puppy as a “bulge” just under the dam’s tail.
Don’t impose yourself on the birth area or get “grabby” during the birthing process. Female dogs can be rather unpredictable when they‘re giving birth. Take your cues from your dog. She’ll let you know if she needs you (or wants you there) or not.
Breech births are not unusual for dogs. In fact, your dog may have some puppies that present head-first, and some tail first throughout the birthing process. As long as the puppy gets out all the way, and gets out relatively quickly, it shouldn’t pose a problem for the dam.
Usually the dam will remove the birthing sac and bite the umbilical cord by herself, but new mothers may be overwhelmed and unsure of what to do when the first pup arrives. If you have to break open the birth sac, do it gently, and pull the sac away from the puppy’s head first. You need to make sure it can breathe. If you have to cut the umbilical cord, cut it with sterile scissors about ½” inch away from the puppy’s belly. Make sure the pups start nursing as quickly after they're born as you can.
Don't be surprised if the dam eats the placentas.
Call the vet if: If you see any heavy discharge of blood… If the dam has been trying to birth the same puppy for more than 5 hours and the puppy isn’t coming out…If you see foul-smelling blackish-green fluid emit from the vaginal area (this usually means a still birth puppy is inside of her)… If the puppies are premature or undeveloped or any time you feel things just aren’t going right.
After the pups come: Mostly, keep them with their mother, and keep everyone warm. Whenever possible keep the birthing area around 78° for the first week or so. Newborn puppies are unable to “shiver”, so they can catch cold very easily. If their core temperature drops, they will probably die. Make sure the pups are breathing without making “wheezing” sounds, and are able to nurse without making “slurping” noises. Each pup should be able to get a firm, noiseless grip on a teat. Newborn puppies need to nurse off their mother to get essential vitamins and immunities from her, so don’t remove them from her unless she is harming them or ignoring them. It’s normal for puppies to make soft mewling noises, but if you have puppies that are screaming or constantly crying it’s probably because they’re unable to nurse and are hungry. See your vet immediately.
If you need more help, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sorry about your cat. I just received this list of programs that can help folks with veterinary care if they cannot afford treatment.
Before you check out these links, call your veterinarian and try to work out a payment arrangement. Often they will work with you if it makes the difference between life and death. Ask them if they subscribe to credit care, which is a program that is interest free for the first year. If neither of these options work, here is the list to which I was referring.
• Contact your local animal shelter. Some shelters operate or know of local subsidized
veterinary clinics or veterinary assistance programs.
• Ask your veterinarian (if the hospital is AAHA accredited) to submit an assistance
request to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) Helping Pets Fund.
Visit www.aahahelpingpets.org for more details.
• Apply for assistance from one of the following organizations or agencies. Please note
that many of these organizations and agencies have limited funds so you may have to
approach more than one. Some require applications for assistance, some provide very
specific assistance, and some work directly with veterinarians. These organizations are
listed as resources; we cannot guarantee that you will receive assistance.
1. Tails of Hope Foundation. (www.tailsofhopefoundation.org) Under its
Sponsor-A-PetSM Program, Tails of Hope Foundation underwrites the cost of
veterinary care for companion animals suffering from cancer or other lifethreatening
diseases whose owners cannot afford to pay for such care.
2. National Breed Clubs. If you have a specific breed of dog or cat, contact the
National Club for that breed. Sometimes these clubs offer a veterinary
3. Angels for Animals. (www.angels4animals.org) The mission of Angels for
Animals is to serve as the guardian angel of animals whose caretakers find
themselves in difficult financial situations.
4. Cats in Crisis. (www.catsincrisis.org) Cats in Crisis is dedicated to helping
individuals care for cats with chronic or emergency medical conditions through
financial and fundraising assistance.
5. IMOM (In Memory of Magic). (www.imom.org) IMOM is dedicated to
ensuring that no companion animal is euthanized simply because his or her
caretaker is financially challenged.
6. Help-A-Pet. (www.help-a-pet.org) Help-A-Pet provides financial assistance
to the elderly, the disabled and the working poor who are unable to afford
7. Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance Program (FVEAP).
(www.fveap.org) The Feline Veterinary Emergency Assistance program
provides financial assistance to cat and kitten guardians who are unable to
afford veterinary services when a life-threatening illness or injury strikes.
8. The Pet Fund. (www.thepetfund.com) The Pet Fund provides financial
assistance to owners of domestic animals who need urgent veterinary care.
9. United Animal Nations. (www.uan.org) United Animal Nations may assist
senior citizens and low-income families pay for immediate emergency
10. Shakespeare Animal Fund. (www.shakespeareanimalfund.org) The
Shakespeare Animal Fund offers assistance primarily to those on fixed
incomes or with annual incomes of less than $35,000. Exceptions may be
made and it is always a one-time grant.
Hope one of these options works for you, and all the best of luck with your cat.
Owned by cats for over 40 years: and LOVING it.