The fourth litter of my five and a half year old Havanese was almost perfect – but not quite.
The afternoon of the 19th of January my dam's temp dropped to 98.5. That night she was restless, would not eat and started digging. She is a free whelper who typically has a puppy every fifteen minutes once she starts whelping. About 9:30 that evening she started panting hard and grinning broadly. By midnight she was in labor. She quickly had two boys and two girls . I had taken x-rays so I knew there was one more to go but she wasn't having contractions and seemed content to rest. At 1:30 A.M. she started having frequent and fairly violent and protracted contractions. She did this for three hours without even producing a bubble.
I couldn't feel anything in the canal. I couldn't palpate anything from the outside. So, intuitively, I concluded the puppy was dead and probably big and that she simply couldn't get it to drop. She wasn't in distress and was resting comfortably, so I stayed with her all night and first thing in the morning, got my vet up and met her at her office at 8 A.M. (Though I have it on hand, I didn't give her Oxytocin because I didn't actually know if the baby was dead and if it was too big to pass. If I gave Oxytocin I was pretty sure that would kill the puppy and perhaps hurt my female.) At the Vet’s office, we tried Oxytocin and got some good contractions but no progress. The best the vet could do with a gloved finger was feel a toe. (And she was much more vigorous with her examination than I would be comfortable doing at home.) We tried forceps and couldn't pull anything out except the placenta. Black goo confirmed (for me) that the puppy was dead. So I agreed to her recommendation that we proceed to a C-Section.
Long story short, she had a very large female puppy that had recently died – maybe during labor. It was intact and only slightly dehydrated. A perfectly formed, albeit big, female. My dam simply could not move it forward past the cervix. It apparently was just too big to get past the cervix. So she had an emergency c-section to remove the dead puppy. All’s well. She’s recovering nicely and taking care of her babies and they are all vigorous. And today – day two of their lives, they have all maintained their birth weight despite being off mom for about four hours yesterday morning.
Ahh. The adventures of breeding dogs. :)
Courtesy of Burns Gardens Havanese and MistyTrails Havanese
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.