WhelpWise Questions and Answers
Q: How does the WhelpWise service work?
A: We supply you with a uterine monitor, ultrasound doppler and all the supplies for the service as well as 24-hour support for data interpretation, coaching and education for the whelping and newborn puppies. Our preferred protocol is to start monitoring 4-5 days (for a normal whelping) before the due date. We request that uterine monitor sessions are collected twice daily, 10-12 hours apart. The data is transferred to our monitoring center after each session. We contact you back after each session to review what the monitoring session shows, how the bitch is doing, if the fetal heart rates are within normal parameters. The plan for the next monitor session is made at that time. We expect monitoring frequency to increase as labor becomes established, with short monitor sessions as labor progresses and during the whelping.
Q: What is the cost for the service?
A: With normal ground shipping the total cost is $480.00. We highly suggest that you fill out our WhelpWise reservation form (on our main web page) when you breed her, or at pregnancy confirmation. We frequently are working on a waiting list. If you need the service at last minute, we will do our best to work you in, and expedited shipping may apply.
Q: How will the WhelpWise service help me with my whelping?
A: By obtaining actual information on uterine contractions and fetal heart rates the “guesswork” about labor has been eliminated and replaced with actual objective information on uterine contractions and fetal heart rates. We can document the onset of labor, detect and manage potential abnormalities with labor such as inertia. This objective information will help the owner and veterinarian plan the best course of action for the whelping. Knowing that labor is present helps promote a better quality of life for the owner. When not using the service an owner may “stay up for days because she is panting and her temperature dropped”. Being on service we can provide clarity about being able to get a night’s sleep, ability to go to work, or run errands by documenting with the uterine monitor if the bitch is actually in labor or not. Monitoring fetal heart rates will give the owner a “heads up” on puppies that may not survive the whelping process, giving them objective information about early intervention by Cesarean section to prevent fetal losses if the owner should choose that option.
Q: Do I need to have a regular phone line to be on service?
A: We are currently beta-testing units that can transmit over a WiFi connection, these are limited in number, but will go into production very shortly as we have had very good results with them.
A plain phone line; whether the old-fashioned wall-jack, or an internet phone line (frequently bundled with cable internet packages) will always be the most efficient way to send data. However, other options to send data would be to use a Magic Jack which provides a phone line over your internet connection. We can supply the Magic Jack with the monitoring equipment, but make SURE you tell us that you need one! For the Magic Jack to work the internet connection needs to be a wired (cable) internet, or an exceptionally fast (5g) satellite connection. If you have questions if your access to the internet will work to send data, call your internet provider and as them if you can send a fax (fax speed is what our data sends best) over your internet connection. Be CLEAR that you are hooking UP a fax, not using a 1-800 fax service. They should be able to tell you if your line is compatible. "Hot Spots" have not been successful.
IF you have had a prior phone service, or if your cable modem has a phone jack on it, call the provider and ask about a "medical necessity phone line". These do not have voice mail or long distance on them (you won't need that as we have toll-free numbers to call) and they are usually very inexpensive both to hook up and a monthly charge.
Q: My bitches have never had a temperature drop before labor. How will this help me?
A: We agree!!! Our extensive database shows that multiple temperature fluctuations are the norm. Frequently labor is well established before the temperature drop, and the longest “drop” before onset of labor in our clients is seven days. Most commonly the temperature rises/falls, rises/falls with minimal correlation to labor onset. Temperature changes are a result of a falling progesterone level, not uterine contractions.
Q: How far ahead will using the WhelpWise service let me know that she is in labor?
A: Usually 8-24 hours before early labor begins, we see a subtle increase in uterine contractions. “Active” labor is usually 8-12 hours before we expect to see deliveries. What we will emphasize is that with over 30,000 whelpings the ONLY thing they ALWAYS do is have puppies!!! Everything else needs to be approached on an individual basis. For us to do our job well, we need you to follow our suggested data collection guidelines and provide us with readable data.
Q: One of my friends says that she doesn’t need to spend money on a monitoring service, she always knows everything about what her bitches are doing. Why should I consider using the service?
A: Well, without the uterine and fetal monitor there is not a way to see inside the uterus, therefore no way to know uterine contraction patterns and what their strength is or how the puppies are doing. Managing a whelping without the monitoring equipment would be like your MD managing your heart attack without doing an EKG, or managing your diabetes and insulin without bloodwork. You will always have a better outcome with objective information.
Q: How do you manage inertia?
A: By documenting the actual strength and frequency of the uterine contractions we can detect the early changes in contraction strength/frequency. Early identification provides the ability for early intervention with medications to improve contraction strength such as Oxytocin or Injectable Calcium. By knowing the exact strength of the contractions medications can be given at the correct time, in the correct amount and never given when the problem is an obstructive dystocia. Obstructive dystocias (stuck puppy) have their own characteristic contraction pattern that is detectable with the uterine monitor. These specific patterns would alert us to the possibility of an obstruction, medications would be contraindicated.
Q: How many whelpings have you monitored?
A: We have monitored over 30,000 whelpings! We have an amazing data base of whelping information broken out by breed, with objective information on whelping characteristics for individual breeds.
Q: Why do I need to have my veterinarian involved in the service?
A: We only offer the service WITH veterinary consent. We feel very strongly that we are a partnership with you and your veterinarian; proving you both with information that you could not obtain otherwise. For every client on service we have written veterinary orders that provide us with instructions from the veterinarian on how to manage the whelping and when the veterinarian would like to be notified.
Q: If I am not on service may I call with questions?
A: Unfortunately, no. We need to have permission from your veterinarian, and we need to have our monitors there to collect objective information on which to guide decisions.
Q: It says on the internet that I should always do “X” for my whelpings?
A: Our information is not from the internet’s latest chat room but based on outcome-based protocols that have demonstrated the highest whelping success rate for specific breeds.
Q: Do I have to clip my dog’s fur to use the service?
A: Depending on the breed fur will need to be clipped. The uterine sensor needs to be on the lower flank area of the abdomen. If there is fur where we need to put the sensor we will not have good readings with either the uterine monitor or the ultrasound doppler. Our thought is: Hair grows back/ babies don’t, it’s better to lose some fur than lose puppies!
Q: Can my dog wear the monitor all day?
A: No, data sessions must be collected with the dog lying quietly. We do supply harnesses and belts so if keeping her quiet works better in a crate, but we obtain better information if the dog is lying comfortably on their side with the sensor tucked under them. We request that monitor sessions leading up to active labor are 45-60 min. During active labor we will not need a long session, usually only 15-20 minutes as to not interfere with the normal physical activity of whelping.
Q: How hard is it to learn how to find the heart rates on the puppies?
A: It is a skill that will improve with practice. We are available 24/7 to help you learn how to find the heart rates, provide you with management information on puppies that are stressed so you and your veterinarian can make the best decisions for the whelping.
Q: I have had a problem with my bitch losing puppies during gestation, can you help me?
A: Yes, we have been managing premature labor in dogs since 1999. We are extremely successful in identifying premature contractions, controlling the contractions through a variety of management protocols and getting the litter to term gestation.
Q: Where can I purchase whelping supplies?
A: Our website has supplies to help you do a better job through the whelping. We have assembled a “WhelpKit”, that has everything we feel is important to have on hand for the whelping.