Riska on the sick list

Riska went down with a bad case of mastitis when the puppies were four weeks old (I have a background of working with dairy cows, and check the bitch’s udder daily); she ate her dinner and was fine at 7.00pm, then an hour later I thought she didn’t look right, took her out for a wee, only to see that she was quite shaky and obviously in pain. When I felt her udder it was swollen and hot at the back. I’ve never seen an adult animal become so ill so quickly and I wasn’t going to leave it to chance and wait until the morning, so I rang the out of hours vet and took her straight down there. Treatment is quite limited when a bitch is suckling pups, especially regarding the use of pain relief/anti-inflammatory drugs and Riska was so poorly that she was unlikely to be able to produce milk, so we took the decision to wean the pups, because at four weeks old they were eating solids well.
Riska responded to treatment and was well in herself by the next day, but a fluid filled swelling developed, which burst a couple of days later, leaving her with a nasty hole, which my vet thinks will close over. In the meantime Riska has her bed in the kitchen away from the rest of the pack, and I take her into the utility room so she can lean over the barrier to see her pups, and she likes me to hold them up one at a time so that she can give them a good wash, but they are not very impressed, having lost interest in mum now that I’m feeding them.
I moved the pups into the utility room to allow them more space to play, both indoors and in the garden, and they have been little angels, sleeping all night, and being clean indoors, barring the odd accident overnight. My pups are usually clean by 5 or 6 weeks old, but this lot have smashed the previous record, bless them.

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