Illustrated Articles

Dogs + Breeding

  • The phrase 'multidrug resistance mutation 1 (MDR1)' refers to a specific mutation that can occur at a gene known as the MDR1 gene, also known as the ABCB1 gene. Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications.

  • Most pregnancies and deliveries go smoothly, but as a caring pet owner you should be prepared for the unexpected. Here's what you should know about common pregnancy complications.

  • A blood test detects pregnancy in the pregnant dog by measuring levels of a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is produced by the developing placenta following implantation of the embryo, and can be detected in the blood in most pregnant dogs as early as 22-27 days post-breeding.

  • Most dogs care for their puppies with little need for human intervention; however, if they do not, then their caregivers will need to step in. Maintaining a warm environment and ensuring puppies are receiving enough milk is critical to survival. Weights should be checked daily in the first 2 weeks and any prolonged crying should be investigated thoroughly. Feeding can be supplemented with commercial milk replacer if needed and all puppies can start the weaning process around 4 weeks of age by offering gruel-like puppy food mixed with milk replacer. Milk fever or eclampsia can affect the mother causing spasms and panting around the weaning time and must be addressed by a veterinarian immediately. Puppy diets meeting AAFCO requirements for growth are recommended. Puppies normally receive temporary immunity from ingesting their mother’s milk in their first day of life. This immunity starts to fade around 6 weeks of age and vaccination is recommended at that time. Worms are a common affliction in puppies and regular deworming is recommended starting at 2 weeks old. Contact your veterinarian for specific recommendations. Commercial over the counter dewormers can be harmful to young puppies.