5 wild dogs weaned from mutt at zoo

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November 24, 2009 5:52:59 AM PST
Five African painted dogs born last month at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium have been weaned from the domestic mutt who was picked to be their surrogate mother.

Four other puppies in the same litter have died.

Zoo staff had to intervene in raising its pups because their mother died of a ruptured uterus shortly after delivering the litter on Oct. 25. One pup died at birth, and four of the nine remaining pups died over the next 11 days.

Zoo officials found a mixed-breed mutt who recently delivered a litter of pups at a Pittsburgh animal shelter. That dog, Honey, nursed the wild dogs, who are now mostly eating soft food.

The mortality rate for painted pups is 50 percent, even when born in the wild to a healthy mother.