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Whelping Puppies: A Green Mess


I was on a midwoof call whelping someone else's dog. I was up all night with no sleep. For a while I thought all of the pups were dead.

The dam came to my house on day 58 and she wasn't her normal self, she was not feeling great. I assumed it was because she was in a new place, along with the pending labor.

On day 59 it was hard to get her to eat. She vomited and peed and pooped in her bed. I did get some very doctored-up food into her.

On day 60 she peed and pooped on herself. I had thought that maybe her water broke. She vomited all day. I still thought it was caused by the pending labor, but there was no drop in her temperature. Her temperature held at a steady 101 and I thought she was in labor and sick.

On day 61 I was concerned. She was dehydrated. We were syringing water into her along with Nutri-Cal and baby mouse food. At 11:00 a.m. her temperature dropped to 98.8 and then quickly went back up to 99.6. This was her drop and between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. She brought back up all that stuff we fed her.

At 11:00 p.m. a sac presented itself right on schedule. I continued to syringe water into her every hour.

At this point the dam was nice and clean.

It was an interesting sac, with an outer layer of dark fluid and a white inner layer. She still had not had any visible contractions.

I was exhausted and waited. At 3:00 a.m. the second sac presented itself and lots of green came out. Oh dear, not a good sign. I could not feel any movement and feared she had lost the whole litter. There were still no contractions but a second sac presented itself, which was confusing.

I did an internal to see if I could push one puppy back up inside her, as two sacs often mean the second pup is trying to get past the first pup. I pushed all of the pups back up inside of her. The dam was dilated. Things should be happening.

I did an internal from 3:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m., feathering, but there were no contractions so I couldn't give her any Tums. Not yet, as the calcium makes the contractions stronger. Strange there was not ONE visible contraction. I was baffled. This was a strange delivery. I figured all of the pups were dead. I couldn't feel a thing, but the dam was not stressed. She was just tired, but not anxious.

We had no contractions, two sacs and GREEN. It was definitely time for the vet. I was going to wait until 5:00 a.m. to call them and was hoping they would get into the office by 6:00 a.m.

At 4:40 a.m. I managed to get this LIVE black pied puppy out and he was healthy. I figured that the next puppy would be the dead one. I thought if there was a dead puppy in there I still likely needed to go into the vet for a C-section as dead puppies do not deliver well.

A pup is presenting itself.

The feet came out and then we got him out. There were still no real contractions, but she did help push.

This pup is breech with a partial sac and it is a mess, but the pup is doing well. The sac on the head was off.

I took a chance and decided to wait. My intuition told me to just wait. I would have told anyone else to go in earlier, however. I also wanted to see what nature would do if I didn't interfere too quickly and as long as the dam was doing OK.

At 4:00 a.m., I had really thought I had a litter of dead pups and there was no rush to get to the vet. I had given myself a 5:00 a.m. time limit. The dam was my concern and the second she seemed anxious I was going into the vet. Things seemed to be progressing well. So far, so good.

Another pup being born

I use two hemostats and cut in the middle, leaving the hemostat attached to the placenta, as I want it out of the dam and do not want to lose it back inside her. This is a messy delivery and I want to know all placentas are accounted for.

The third male pup came out in a nice clean sac, but with one of those short cords, which was hard to cut. But I have had them much shorter. The dam bit the cord and made it even shorter, arggggggggggg. If nothing is done about the bleeding cord, the pup can bleed to death. It must be stopped.

The puppy started to bleed and I put hemostats on the cord. Sometimes you have to dental floss to tie them, but this one stopped bleeding.

Image showing the hemostat on the cord

Parti female being born

The puppy is out.

Making sure the placenta does not go back inside of the dam

Pulling out the placenta

Pulling out the placenta

A healthy placenta

The dam lies on her back and has a couple contractions. YEAH, things are working out.

You can see movement in her belly.

Cutting the cord

There were three pups out. They came at 4:40 a.m., 5:00 a.m., and 5:10 a.m.

Six healthy puppies are born

The dam is given a shot of oxytocin to help her milk come in. She is given two cups of goat’s milk and some puppy kibble. She needs a bath, but I will wait four hours and then give her a good full bath.

Syringing the dam some water

The dewclaws came off within five minutes after birth.

Removing dewclaws makes them scream, which clears the lungs. They do not bleed as they have the clotting factor. The dam allowed me to do this right in front of her.

It is a happy ending. There were six healthy, thriving pups, all doing well.

My theory is that she had a dead puppy in there, hence the mess, and was re-absorbing it and that was making her sick. I gave her oxytocin after the last pup and then FINALLY she drank two cups of goat milk and seems normal and content.

Sometimes we jump to Cesareans; believe you me, two years ago I would have called MUCH sooner. But I waited and watched the mom like a hawk. Her well-being was important and I tried to stay calm but inside I was burning up. WHAT to do? WHAT to do? I was hiding my freaking out.

I have figured out when two sacs are coming out at the same time you just hold the dam up by the rear legs and push all the pups back in and kind of jiggle her to let the pups move forward and let ONE out. Two pups cannot come out at the same time.

This was a weird delivery. I am surprised and happy all are here with no Caesarian section.

I did not give her Tums. I couldn't because she virtually had no contractions. I couldn't even really feather her. It was very strange but all turned out well.


Courtesy of MistyTrails Havanese



Whelping: Close-to-Textbook Case