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Caring For a Pregnant Akita
Akita rabbit care during pregnancy is very common. He should be looked after carefully and made as comfortable and happy as possible. You should make sure that he has a dry bed, enough fresh drinking water and regular food of good quality. In the first five weeks, he may behave normally. He may have “off” days. He may be hungry for more. He might change a bit in his personality and be more careful in his behavior, but as long as he’s healthy and happy, that’s all that matters.
As soon as you suspect that she is pregnant, it is a good idea to visit your veterinarian so that he can enter the date of birth in his diary and monitor the rabbit’s progress. Akitas don’t carry a lot of water with their puppies, however they do need to carry a lot of weight as the week progresses. In general, it is not advisable to give a lot of extra food in the first week. Experience has taught us that feeding a rabbit too much food will make his dog put on weight, and he will put on extra weight. This creates two problems. First, he will not exercise properly, and therefore he will not strengthen his muscles. Second, the puppies will be fat, which means they will be bigger and experience a more difficult passage through the canal. And when they are born, they will be fat and lazy.
It is far better to have an active mother and a lean, strong puppy that will fight to fill itself with the all-important mother’s first milk. We have found that the best policy is to provide a balanced diet with increased feed after about five weeks. Of course, the future mother will be hungry, but rest assured that whatever food you give her, she will pass it on to the unborn child before she takes it. She is a natural at taking care of parents. Additives in the form of calcium and perhaps iron are a good idea, after a period of five weeks. Today, most foods are well balanced and many additives are unnecessary. Indeed, the general perception is that they can do more harm than good. But if the rabbit says that there may be a deficiency, you should take him to the vet for a thorough examination and analysis.
Akita bitches “hide” their puppies for at least five weeks, usually six. They may not show any signs of pregnancy at all, and this can be frustrating for their owners, who naturally want to know if they are expecting a litter so they can make the necessary preparations. A swelling in the bitch’s udder is probably the best indicator. Starting at three weeks, they can “pop,” or grow a little bigger and become more pink. In our experience, this is the only “safe” indicator. An ultra-sound scan can also provide a clear diagnosis, but it is expensive and sometimes the hair on the side or underneath must be removed.
Symptoms may develop in your ribs or hips first, but this is unlikely. The Akita Inu bitch does not carry her cubs on her hip like most breeds. They hide it under their ribs, and then “drop it” and carry it in the womb, like a cow carrying its calf. Whether you see positive signs or not, it is wise to contact your vet and book the expected birth date in his diary so he can have it if needed.
Seven weeks into her pregnancy, bring the bitch to her birth place. A box of suitable size should be prepared and its minimum dimensions should be 4ft 6in by 3ft. This allows the bitch to lie completely on her side. The box is definitely bigger, but not so big that it allows the puppies to crawl around their mother and get lost. Make sure the bitch is happy with the box and where she is. After a few days she will embrace the peace, quiet and confidence of this area and therefore accept it as a natural place when it is time to give birth. If he is not happy at all, you have to accept him and make other arrangements. He may have good reasons for not liking things as much as you do. So listen to him and compare. He might accept the box, and then, on his birthday, change his mind and want to go somewhere else. You also have to agree to their request. She may go back to the crate after giving birth to her first puppy, but let her decide. It’s worth all the hassle to have a happy, contented rabbit who comes through her pregnancy safely and delivers her puppies safely, without causing you – – or herself – anxiety.
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