About a week before the females due date, the female is weighed and x-rayed to count the number of puppies.  This information is very helpful to the breeder caretaker so they know how many puppies to expect and when the delivery is most likely done.   However, even x-rays are not exact so you are usually given an expected number plus or minus 1 or 2.  You can estimate the number of puppies from the weight gain as well.  A good estimate is 2 pounds per puppy so if the female has gained 12 pounds, she may have 6 puppies. 

The images below show the x-ray system at the CCI vet clinic.  There are padded stairs for the pregnant female to climb up onto the table.  The dog lays on its side while the x-ray is taken. 

Digital X-Rays

CCI recently upgraded their x-ray system to produce digital images rather than film.  So if you have your x-ray taken at CCI then you will be given a CD with the images on it.  The images are actually viewed using the software so you can pan, zoom, and change contrast and brightness.  If you want to try viewing the images on your PC click on the link below for instructions on how to use the software. 

Instructions on How to View Digital X-Ray Images

Reviewing the X-ray

Depending on the type of x-ray (film or digital) the vet will review the x-ray and and count skulls and match them with spines to provide an estimate of the number of puppies to expect.  The pictures below show Dr. Daniels reviewing a film type x-ray and the image below that is a film x-ray with the skulls marked with dots.


Whelp Drugs

After the x-ray the breeder caretaker will be given Whelp drugs and instructions.  The whelp drugs are calcium and oxytocin.  See the manual or the web page on Whelp Drugs for when and how to use these drugs.  They are also given dopram to help revive still born puppies.  The whelp drugs page also describes how and when to use the dopram.