Five of 10 African painted dog pups born at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium a month ago remain alive and are growing well.
According to zoo spokeswoman Tracy Gray, the black and white pups, which were orphaned when their mother died shortly after their birth and have been nursed by a surrogate domestic mixed-breed dog from a local shelter, are "still in the critical stage" but are gaining weight and are more active and playful.
The pups were born weighing about 12 ounces and the smallest now weighs 2.2 pounds. They are eating soft dog food and some are still occasionally nursing on the surrogate female, Honey, though the weaning process has begun. The zoo's vet staff also has been hand-feeding them a liquid diet fortified with enzymes four times a day.
The mortality rate for African painted dogs is 50 percent in the first 30 days after they are born, whether in captivity or in Africa, where they are endangered.
Four of the zoo's puppies died before they were 11 days old, Ms. Gray said. One of the pups was born dead on Oct. 25.