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B Litter Diary - Day 1 of Heat to Breeding

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

I might be setting myself up for disappointment. The litter might not take or something might go wrong with the pregnancy or whelping. But I'm excited and wanted to share my excitement. I also want to document the whole process for myself later (I am a big believer in assessing and reassessing my processes) and feel like some people might be interested.


has been on prenatal supplements for the last two months including: Revival's Oxy Mate, Folic Acid, Probiotics, and Grizzly Salmon Oil. Anubi has been on Revival's Oxy Stud the last month. Both Anubi and Amidi are in performance condition (despite me trying to add just a touch of extra weight to Ami) and have been racing/coursing 2-4 weekends a month this year plus weekly agility practice and hikes plus occasional flyball practice. Anubi is 46lbs and Amidi is 39lbs.

Day 1 of Heat (9/6/21)

After running LGRA and NOTRA Saturday and Sunday we got to the coursing field on Labor Day to find that Amidi wasn't wiping clean and she'd finally gone into season (about 3 weeks later than usual). I called my repro vet's office to schedule progesterone, but they were closed so I left a message. Ami was extremely said she didn't get to course that day. When we got home, I did a vaginal cytology to confirm that she wasn't sneakily further along than I expected and sure enough:

Vaginal Cytology-

Cell type: parabasal

Cornification: 0%

Day 2 of Heat (9/7/21)

Spent an easy day at home after running all weekend. She slept a lot, she's still out with the boys who don't at all care that she's in heat yet. She went from spot bleeding yesterday morning to bleeding heavily today so panties it is. I called my repro vet again and made a first progesterone appointment for the following Wednesday (Day 10). In the past Ami usually hits estrus around Day 12-14.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell type: parabasl

Cornification: 0%

Day 3 of Heat (9/8/21)

Another laidback day. Ami stayed home while I worked. The boys are still out with her and showing very little interest.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell type: parabasal and intermediate

Cornification: 0%

Day 4 of Heat (9/9/21)

What a boring week. Ami is bored, all the dogs are bored, the boys are showing a bit more interest but largely don't care about Ami overly much.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell type: intermediate, some parabasal

Cornification: 0%

Day 5 of Heat (9/10/21)

Went down to our favorite friend's farm and found the elk had decided to bed down in the field so we went for a walk along the river instead. The dogs were so happy to get out. The boys were very good while out and doing things, but they are showing more interest in Ami. As usual, Ami hasn't slowed down at all during this part of her heat cycle. She usually has the same energy level until a few weeks out of season.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell type: intermediate, some parabasl, some superficial

Cornification: under 10%

Day 6 of Heat (9/11/21)

Busy day today! We went for a hike on deserted trails (I try to avoid people (and thus dogs) as much as possible when one of the girls is in heat). We went about 3 miles, being limited by the puppy (who wanted to go much further). Then I took Anubi and Amidi back out and we did some scootering with my new scooter. The boys continue to be more interested in Ami but not enough to bother her and in work mode Anubi didn't treat Amidi any differently than normal.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: intermediate, few parabasals, some superficial

Cornification: under 10% (but more than yesterday)

Day 7 of Heat (9/12/21)

Another busy day. Flyball practice in the morning, Ami looked great with no drop off in performance. That evening we went over to my parent's house for dinner. The boys are increasingly interested. Ami is still completely intolerant of their advances but simultaneously clingy with whatever dog or human will cuddle with her (including the boys).

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Intermediate and Superficial

Cornification: 40% (huge jump from yesterday)

Day 8 of Heat (9/13/21)

Lazy day at home though another big jump from yesterday in percentage of cornified cells.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Superficial and some Intermediate

Cornification: 60%

Day 9 of Heat (9/14/21)

Day down at the farm. I'm keeping the boys largely separate from Ami now. She's tolerant but completely unreceptive and they're pests. She's still relatively active though she's stopped eating much. Anubi is also on a bit of a hunger strike, which is actually typical for him at this point in the girls' cycles.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Superficial, few Intermediate

Cornification: 80% (been big jumps the past three days)

Day 10 of Heat (9/15/21)

Long day of work for me, but the dogs tagged along. Amidi got her first progesterone test today! Though she say a continued increase in cornified cells on her vaginal cytology, she came back as 2.2 ng/mL (we're looking for over 5 give or take), so she is rising but has not ovulated yet. We're back on Friday to retest. I did put Ami out with Anu and while she is substantially more receptive, he wasn't overly interested in actually mounting. I took the main pack for a hike and then let Ami have a short hike separately and then Amalu, Ash, Amidi, and Azhidar (who is not remotely interested in girls yet) got to visit with my sister and play in their back yard. We ended the long day with Agility and Ami decided that although she can do a Flyball box turn just fine in panties that jumping normally was too hard.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Superficial, very few Intermediate

Cornification: 90%

Progesterone: 2.2 ng/mL

Day 11 of Heat (9/16/21)

An easy day at home for the dogs while I worked. The boys are becoming increasingly frantic and we've finally had to separated them consistently. Ami was becoming increasingly intolerant of the boys' presence.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Superficial, some Anuclear

Cornification: 95%

Day 12 of Heat (9/17/21)

A terribly long day all in all but the dogs handled it well. In the morning I drove down to the Silken Windhound's National Specialty (Silkenfest) in Olympia to get Amalu and Tabiri's thyroids tested for health testing. The middle of the day meant I was teaching lessons. At the end of the day I took Ami in for another progesterone test and the levels showed that they had risen notably since Wednesday and that she would likely ovulate the next day. Vaginal cytology showed 100% cornified cells. I put Anu in with Ami and she was completely intolerant of him still. Being new to this game, this made me nervous, but many of my breeder friends said it's because she's just not ready yet.

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Superficial, Anuclear

Cornification: 100%

Progesterone: 4.6 ng/mL

Day 13 of Heat (9/18/21)

I ran up to my vet in the morning to confirm ovulation with progesterone, which it did. I tried letting Anu and Ami together both inside and outside and Ami remained unreceptive, though Anubi was certainly interested. The rest of the day Ami spent hanging out while we walked the other dogs in the pouring rain to try to get some of their energy out. I talked to my vet about doing side by side Artificial Insemination if Ami didn't become receptive and he walked me through the process and scheduled an appointment should I need it. In dog's the eggs take two days to mature after ovulation, so it didn't need to happen today.

Vaginal Cytology - skipped since it would only show 100% cornification

Progesterone: 6.9 ng/mL

Day 14 of Heat, Day 1 Post Ovulation (9/19/21)

The dogs other than Ami spent the day running LGRA. This made Anubi and Tabiri who are increasingly frantic much mellower. Ami, Anu, and Tabiri are all off their food, which is typical at this point, but I've been adding goodies to their food to tempt them to eat, mostly unsuccessfully. Ami was more receptive today, but still nervous, and Anubi couldn't figure out what to do. I am getting increasingly nervous about making sure the breeding happens.

At LGRA, I talked to a couple of long time breeders about my concerns. One stated that in her breed she'd seen this happen either with two inexperienced dogs or dogs with low libido. We talked about how to do side by side AI and she assured me it was extremely straight forward and collecting the male was the hardest part because sometimes they're shy. When I explained that Anubi had had his semen collected before and I didn't anticipate any issues, she laughed and said that side by side would be easy for me then. I talked to another long time breeder in a different breed and she said in her breed she'd be concerned about the low libido, but when I said I'd heard of this happening multiple times in Azawakh, she shrugged and said she wouldn't worry then. She also confirmed that even in her breed two inexperienced dogs can struggle and said that sometimes side by side AI gets hormones kicking in and make the bitch more receptive.

I didn't do AI today because my supplies hadn't arrived yet, but both my breeder friends and my vet assured me that Monday would be the ideal day.

Day 15 of Heat, Day 2 Post Ovulation (9/20/21)

Anubi, Tabiri, and Amidi are all off their food. The boys are completely separated from Ami because they are beside themselves (much more so than when Amalu is in heat.). I took the boys to lure coursing while the girls stayed home. Anubi finished his ASFA Field Championship! Ash is only 12 points (of 100) away from finishing now too!

When I got home I put Anu in with Ami. She was more willing to stand and Anu was interested but taking forever to figure it out and he was somewhat nervous because Ami had growled at him in days past. We decided to do side by side artificial insemination. Anubi was easy to collect and Ami was very patient throughout the process. We got a large collect (20mL) and Ami seemed to take it all. Fingers crossed.

Day 16 of Heat, Day 3 Post Ovulation (9/21/21)

Before heading out to racing we did another side by side AI. Smaller collection this time (10mL) and Ami was getting the hang of it.

At NOTRA (oval racing) Anubi finished his Junior Oval Racer title and Amalu gave him a run for his money (she loves oval track!). Poor Tabiri didn't get to play because he had busted out of a crate and made himself lame.

Day 17 of Heat, Day 4 Post Ovulation (9/22/21)

Ami was willing to stand and Anubi was really interested likely would have mounted. However, it had been a long week, I didn't have hours to wait for them to figure it out, so we did one more side by side AI. Good sized collection again (15mL) and Ami was patient with the process. In the evening we went to agility. Ami got to play a bit and she was so excited to be out of panties (discharge had completely stopped).

The boys were a bit less frantic today, so I decided to do a vaginal cytology to monitor onset of diestrus (coming out of heat).

Vaginal Cytology

Cell Type: Anuclear

Cornification: 100%

Day 18 of Heat, Day 5 Post Ovulation (9/23/21) - Last Day of Heat

Checked vaginal cytology in the morning and found 50% non-cornified cells. Avidog talks about bitches entering diestrus (coming out of heat) in a hurry, but holy cow I didn't expect that to change so quickly! Interestingly, he heat cycle was two days shorter than normal. Avidog says that from onset of diestrus your whelping window is 56-58 days from then which is November 18-20. Anubi is pretty much uninterested in her, though Tabiri continues to be separated because he insists that Ami is still enticing.

Towards the end of the day I took Anu, Ami, and Alu scootering. It's likely Ami's last run of the year.

The left picture is of the final day of estrus (Day 17 of heat). I had a hard time getting my camera to focus on all the anuclear cells. On the right is Day 18 of heat and you can seem both intermediate and parabasl cells.

Day 6 Post Ovulation (9/24/21)

Got stuck in Snohomish for the day. Amalu had her hips and elbows Xrays done for OFA and I helped a friend with an aggressive dog. I also scheduled an easound to confirm pregnancy for Ami on October 15th. We did manage a walk in the woods before finally heading home and got a fantastic group picture including the puppy. Ami is completely done with Tabiri's bull shit. Tabiri says Ami still smells good (even though Anubi does not at all care), but he was at least easily redirected.

Day 7 Post Ovulation (9/25/21)

I tweaked my back carrying the puppy down the stairs (he can manage the stairs just fine but our entry is on the first level and he doesn't always make it down the stairs without peeing, so we've been carrying him). That means it's a day of hanging out around the house catching up on paperwork and email. Tabiri is finally more settled around Ami and less of a jerk so he's back with the pack full time.

Day 8 Post Ovulation (9/26/21)

Flyball practice today, likely Ami's last full practice without restrictions - I worry about the high impact of box work so we did a couple repetitions and then called it. But she looked lovely on recalls with good focus.

Day 9 Post Ovulation (9/27/21)

Mellow day where we didn't do much. Ami acting very normal, which is usual for this point if she is going into false pregnancy too.

Day 10 Post Ovulation (9/28/21)

Another boring day largely except that Ami has been picky about her food. She's still eating but isn't excited about her food. And this evening she vomited up her food after eating, which is very atypical.

Day 11 Post Ovulation (9/29/21)

Agility day. Ami says she is so much happier without panties thank you very much. It's honestly a shame that I can't trial her this fall and winter because she's looking so good!

Going to try to take a stacked picture twice a week to track progress. I really feel like Ami's ribs are more sprung and that she's gained slightly around the waist. She usually has a 16.5" waist and when I measured it was closer to 17.5". This change isn't atypical with false pregnancy with her but I feel like it's more pronounced than usual.

Day 12 Post Ovulation (9/30/21)

Nothing particularly exciting or different today. Ami is eating normally, no changes.

Day 13 Post Ovulation (10/1/21)

We visited my in-laws for the first time since COVID. All the dogs are actually excited to see them again.

Day 14 Post Ovulation (10/2/21)

I ran Ami in LGRA straight racing today. That's 3 programs of 200 yards each day. She was a bit over two weeks from ovulation.

This was a debate for me. I know a lot of people who stop most sports and even a lot of exercise when their bitch might be/hopefully is pregnant. I don't judge them for that. For me it's a balancing act. There's a lot of evidence that stress (distress that cause negative emotions) is detrimental to pregnancy. There's also a general belief that eustress (stress related to positive emotions such as accomplishing something challenging) is beneficial to a pregnant bitch.

For a lot of dogs that means trialing or doing sports could potentially be stressful in a negative way for them. For Ami, she has been at shows and trials since she was a baby. It's one of her favorite things in the world. So in her case, keeping her home while the others go out, especially early on when she's still feeling pretty normal, is going to cause her distress.

So I talked to my repro vet and a number of breeders I respect many who encouraged me to run her, including getting a go ahead from Dr. Gayle Watkins (the creator of Avidog) which was cool. Some very valid points were raised as well including me blaming the racing if the litter doesn't take, disease, and possibility of injury.

With consideration, I decided to run her. The meet was on a breeder friend's property I knew almost all the dogs in attendance personally. My dogs avoid conflict when racing and rarely bump each other, not to mention Ami was only running against her housemates. I'm really happy I ran her, even if the litter does end up not taking. She was raring to go, barking happily at the lure, and ran well.

In general I feel like if my girls can't keep a pregnancy just running around in early pregnancy it may not be meant to be.

Day 15 Post Ovulation (10/3/21)

Fun racing today. Ami was happy and bouncy the whole time but ran a bit more tired today. Amalu actually managed to beat her in the last program. I'm really happy I decided to run her.

Day 16 Post Ovulation (10/4/21)

Only thing really to note is that Ami went from eating her food readily over the weekend and polishing the bowl to picking at her food, even with added toppers

Day 17 Post Ovulation (10/5/21)

Another boring day at home largely. Ami continues to be largely off her food.

Day 18 Post Ovulation (10/6/21)

Ami completely refused food today in the morning. Not even putting mixers in her food or giving her raw could tempt her to eat. She would take bits of deli turkey and ate some of her dinner but only a small amount and only with raw and bone broth ad ins. At agility class she did great. We kept jumps low and she had fun.

Stacked picture from today. Her ribs are decidedly less noticeable even though she's been eating less.

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