Dozen African painted dog pups get first checkup at Oregon Zoo

    Veterinarian Kelli Flaminio and keeper Beth Foster hold a one month-old African painted dog puppy during its first veterinary exam. © Oregon Zoo / photo by Michael Durham

    PORTLAND, Ore. — African painted dog Ella’s two-month-old pups had their first veterinarian exams on Thursday, and Oregon Zoo officials say they are all healthy and growing fast.

    The exam also served as a gender reveal of sorts – as we now know there are six girls and six boys.

    The pups were born in early November. Since then, the zoo has offered several updates on the growth and development of the dozen puppies.

    According to the zoo, a lot of planning goes into examining so many dogs at once.

    "The neonatal checkup itself was a study in logistics: 18 humans and 12 painted dog pups gathered around the behind-the-scenes maternity den to make sure each pup was weighed, measured, examined and posed for a series of identity photos. After each pup was examined, a keeper rubbed it with some bedding to return it to a natural puppy smell, and it was placed in a den with the rest of the litter. Time was of the essence, since care staff wanted to perform a thorough check yet return the pups to their mom and dad quickly."

    They said they got the pups away from parents Ella and Juma by occupying them with some of their favorite foods. Animal care staff then entered the maternity den to complete the exams.

    “We’ve been giving Ella and her pups lots of space, so this is the first time we’ve known for sure how many pups there are,” Beth Foster, lead keeper for the zoo’s Predators of the Serengeti area. “Ella and Juma did great and didn’t seem upset at all that we were in there with her babies. It really shows the great relationship and trust they have with their care team.”

    Foster added that Ella is a great first-time mom. This was the first time the endangered African painted dog species were born at the Oregon zoo.

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