Let's Play Count the Heads & Tails!
"Heads & Tails" is what I like to call the x-ray we do right around day 55 of our mama's pregnancy. While the photo may seem a little hard to read at first if you look close you will see tiny spines (they look like small railroad tracks). Then follow those and you will see faint ovals or even circles, those are the puppy's skulls.
There are so many puppies in this litter it's almost easier to start at the skulls and work your way down the matching spines -- Heads & Tails. But why do we do this? Why not just leave your dog alone and let her just have her puppies? Why do the ultrasound and the x-ray?
Good questions. I'm sure other breeders may have their specific reasons, but here are a couple of mine.
We ultrasound around the 30 day mark to confirm that the pairing of our dogs did in fact take. If our mama is not pregnant & we performed all the correct protocols for pairing then there could be other underlying medical issues we would need to look into.
By day 55 of the pregnancy the puppies are fully developed, beginning to grow fur, and starting to move into their birthing positions. We x-ray at this time to get a more accurate count of how many puppies to expect. This is extremely important. Let's say labour stalls after puppy 5 and we counted 8 puppies on the x-ray. This could indicate a puppy is stuck in the birth canal and blocking the other puppies. In this case time is of the essence. Without having done an x-ray there would be no way of knowing, you may just assume labour has ended, which could cost both the puppy's and mother's life.
So.....How many Heads & Tails do you see??