Those readers who have read the Vet Column in the last few weeks will know that we have been awaiting the arrival of a litter of pups. The pups arrived safely last Thursday.

Bramble, our 3 year old Black Labrador was mated at the beginning of October after previously rejecting a series of suitors. Bitches are pregnant for 63 days and I ultrasound scanned her at 3 weeks and confirmed that she was definitely pregnant.

For the 10 days before whelping we had been quite concerned about Bramble. She started to get very large and uncomfortable and was reluctant to eat. Since this was her first pregnancies, the changes to her body were quite bewildering for her and as her milk started to come in, her temperature shot up and she felt very sorry for herself.

The high temperature worried me as I was concerned that something may have gone very wrong with the pups however an ultrasound scan confirmed good strong heart beats in the pups. I prescribed a course of antibiotics and some medication to lower her temperature and the fever passed and she started to look much brighter.

Finally!!…  on Thursday morning Sarah, my wife, rang me at the surgery to say that Brambles waters had just burst. Sarah sat with her and by the time I managed to get home at lunch time, 2 pups had been born. While I was back at work, I got regular updates as further pups were born. In all, Bramble had 6 Black Labrador puppies – 2 dogs and 4 bitches. The pups are all of very similar sizes and are very lively.

Bramble was a little bit bewildered by the first pup but has now taken to motherhood fantastically well. She is incredibly gentle and attentive and the pups alternate between frantic feeding and very deep sleep. We weigh them regularly and, as expected, their weight dropped very slightly in the first 24 hours but it has now stabilised and they are starting to grow and get stronger.

The puppies eyes will open in a couple of weeks so we will have 8 pairs of Labrador eyes watching us eat our Christmas Dinner this year!!