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Whelping: All puppies do not always survive

 

Not all whelping situations are joyous occasions for the kids to witness. I see a lot of this during my “midwoof” services. Here is yet another scenario of what can go wrong when whelping.

WARNING — Some photos are not for all to see. There are pictures of a dead puppy

It is day 60, and we think our dam will have puppies soon, in a couple days. But she goes into labour a day or two early. She had some black tarry discharge from the vulva the night before and a little more in the morning. I question this… Is this OK?? (It turns out, it wasn’t OK). No problem.  We are ready. And she was not left alone, we were there. She does the digging, and then, out comes GREEN stuff and a dark fluid sac with no puppy...this isn't what is supposed to happen is it?? Yes, a sac can come out empty, before the first puppy, I read, but this one was different. It was very messy, and yucky.

We had called our midwoof, and she is on her way (but an hour away) AND it is snowing. We call the vet, and she is on call (but also an hour away). We are told to relax, and stay calm. YEAH, RIGHT!!

Then out comes a thing that looks like liver…? Is this normal? Nothing I had read could have prepared me for this. I felt so helpless and scared. Intuition, and all we have read, tells us something is wrong. This is just not right.

Our dam pushes and pushes, and pushes, and just gets DARK black-green stuff (light green, and a little is normal; lots, and dark, is not good).

DARK black Green stuff coming out of the dam

Our midwoof arrives, takes one look, and assesses the situation. She looks so calm. (She is acting, she tells me later.) She does an internal, and by looking at the intensity of the contractions, she knew a puppy should be coming, but it isn't. Things are not progressing normally. Also the liver-looking thing, is looking like a placenta. (I thought, isn't it supposed to be puppy born first, and then placenta? This is not right I just know this is not right.)

The vet is called, and we are off to the vet. (IN A SNOWSTORM…oh great!!)

Snow Storm

Our dam is not in distress; we acted BEFORE this became a medical emergency. If we had NOT gone to the vet when we did, or soon, this would have become a medical emergency, and we could have lost our dam and the puppies. We acted before this became a critical situation. Some vets will tell you to leave your dam alone and let nature take its course. DO NOT LISTEN when someone tells you this if your intuition tells you otherwise. Go with your gut feeling. At the vet, the decision to do a C-section and spay is made quite quickly.

C-section prep C-section prep

The hold-up WAS a dead puppy. The liver-looking thing WAS a placenta. But it hadn't just detached. This puppy was inside the dam, and had been dead for a while. The placenta must have detached some time ago, which was very sad, but these things can happen. Thankfully we didn't lose the whole litter. Thankfully, she only came into labour two days early, and the remaining pups will be able to survive.

Dead Puppy

Hover to see the Image

It is very hard for a dam to push out a stiff dead puppy (almost impossible). Here are photos of the dead puppy. You can see the ears are not formed, nor the eyes, and the skin is peeling off of the belly and chin, thus telling us the poor thing has been dead for a while, and did not just die.

Dead Puppy

Hover to see the Image

Dead Puppy

Hover to see the Image

Look at the ears and eyes, they are not fully developed.

Dead Puppy

Hover to see the Image

See the dead skin across the face.

(PLEASE think TWICE before you decide to breed your dam. You could lose her and your whole litter if you do not have the right help standing by, or if you have left her home alone. Please READ before you BREED.)

THANK goodness we made the call to do a C-section, and I had done a lot of reading to know this was just not right.

Three Surviving Puppies

The other three puppies were born healthy and thriving.

 

Photos property of MistyTrails (midwoof), compliments of Deanna
Article compliments of Deanna and MistyTrails.

Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.

 

Whelping: Close-to-Textbook Case