In Babs' last two litters, one had three puppies, and two were 1 pound 6 ounces, and one was 1 pound 4 ounces.
The next litter had only one pup. He was big and I ended up taking her in to get the puppy out. But as I could feel his head right there, I just couldn't get him out, we did not x-ray and the vet and a tech worked on her back end while I held her head, and we delivered the large puppy. Only he was only 1 pound 4 ounces. Big yes, but not any bigger than her litter of three which she had no trouble delivering. Or, I was able to help her deliver them at home.
I didn't x-ray Jenna's litter, there were seven puppies this time, eight puppies last time. Neither were x-rayed. I really don't think that it risks the life of the bitch. Now if she got sick the next day, I would be back x-raying for a retained pup in a heart beat.
But the thing is, you really can't get an accurate count anyway. I mean, you can, but sometimes there is a pup hiding, and that can be even more dangerous. For example, if they count seven and eight are delivered, no biggie, it's a bonus. But if they count seven and she stops and you think she is done because she's had seven, and the next day she's under the weather, but you know the x-ray said seven so you are not worried about a retained pup, you might try to give her fluids and check her temperature, cool her down so she is not overheated, and might not rush her right in to check for a retained pup.
I think there is more than one way to lose your bitch in whelping. They put a lead vest over me when they x-ray me for anything, in case I might want to have kids some day. But it seems we x-ray our bitches for pre-lims, hips and elbows, puppy count, to ensure there is no retained puppy if necessary, if the puppy isn't coming out to ensure it isn't blocking the birth canal, and so on. After 3 or 4 litters, we can have exposed her to an awful lot of x-rays.
On the other hand, I have x-rayed a couple of times when the bitch did not get very large to see if she was actually pregnant or not. That way if it does seem like there is just one, I want to know in case the just one doesn't begin labor. So, I do not do it if it is a typical pregnancy, but will do it if it seems like complications are likely.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.