Are you sure?
These are the true experiences of fellow breeders. Breeding is NOT for the faint
Breeder #1 ~ Breeder #2 ~ Breeder #3 ~ Breeder #4 ~ Breeder #5 ~ Breeder #6 ~ Breeder #7 ~ Breeder #8 ~ Breeder #9 ~ Breeder #10
Bitch 1 had her last puppy on a Friday morning. This was her first litter. Owner was concerned when the bitch started growling at her offspring, not allowing them to nurse. He and his wife had to take turns sleeping next to the box to make sure mom nursed the puppies every 2 hours. They had to force her in and hold her muzzle to make sure she didn’t savage her pups. She refused to eat.
Sunday afternoon they noticed a slight increase in temperature. Worried that there might be a puppy still in the uterus, they made an emergency phone call to their vet. As with most Sundays, the vet wasn’t in and they left the message on the clinic answering machine.
As the day went on, the temperature of the bitch continued to rise. They noticed a black, smelly discharge now coming from their bitch. They wondered if they could give the bitch a shot of Oxytocin this far from having the pups to see if she was indeed cleaned out. Can you? Do you know?
The breeder’s own words:
“Well there is a lot more to all this than really meets the eye, with Prue, she was in hard labor for 2 hours, 2 1/2 is my limit before calling the vet, Deb stretched her cervix to help get her started, a puppy 15 minutes later.
“We waited 3 hours and 15 minutes between the 4th and 5th puppy, seemed like her labor was coming to a stop. after 3 and a half hours, no labor, but the puppies did not seemed to be stressed, we started the Whelp-Wise oxy procedure, in 5 minutes we had a placenta, plus the sack of number 5, 5 minutes later, #6 boy was born, 10 minutes after that, #7 girl. We waited an hour and gave her the last oxy shot. Of course on each puppy, she just sniffed it and did not have a clue what to do once it was born.
“Now I guess my question, if you want to be a breeder and do not have friends that are breeders to help and use as reference, have no experience, and do not have a reference library, in the 1st problem, how long would you let your girl stay in hard labor before doing something? In the second problem after labor had stopped and you still had puppies, would you know what to do? Would you get the puppies out of the sack, get them going and tie off the cords considering the mom did not do it? Would you realize your girls discharge just did not look right and start monitoring her temperature? Once you started getting a climb in temperature, on Sunday, would you call your vet to get an X-ray, or would you think it could wait until Monday the next day? Did you think far enough ahead of time to call your vet to put him on alert once labor started? On the problem of Prue being agressive toward her puppies, would you have someone experienced to ask as you had not had that problem before? And it goes on and on.
“For the life of me, I do not know how these dogs can go under the house, have 8 healthy puppies with no help, emerge at 5-6 weeks old with no problems. While this certainly was our toughest litter, there are some really bad horror stories out there that really experienced breeders have gone through. This one has been a cake walk compared to some of them.”
When we breed Boomer for the first time it was found she had a low grade infection. Since the stud dog owner had a male go sterile from an infection, I asked if she’d rather AI (artificially inseminate) Boomer as not to expose her male to any possible infection. Though the vet assured me the male wasn’t at risk, we took no chances and AI’ed Boomer when it was time to breed her.
The pregnancy went well and her temperature finally dropped, telling us she would soon be in labor. The labor seemed to progress normally and soon Boomer’s water broke and she got down to the business of pushing.
She pushed and pushed with no resulting puppy. This went on for almost an hour and I was getting worried. I tried everything to keep her going and to expel that puppy. I couldn’t feel anything at the top of her vagina so into the vet ER we went. This poor dog continued to push the whole 20 minute trip there and while I was filling out the forms.
Once the vet came in to examine her he very quickly found that the puppy’s head was caught in the hymen in Boomer’s vagina. Normally, they are thin and break during breeding but since Boomer was AI’ed there had been no penetration by the male. In that instance, the first puppy will usually break them as they travel through the vagina towards birth. Boomer’s must have been thicker than normal.
The vet felt the puppy’s head and the puppy opened its mouth indicating that it was at least still alive. The vet was concerned that in breaking the hymen manually, he might damage the puppy in the process. This is a decision all breeders should make before they breed. In case of an emergency who will be saved? Its always been my decision that my bitch will be saved over any puppies and I told the vet that. He nodded his understanding and told me to hang on to Boomer tightly because this was going to hurt.
He inserted his hand into Boomer’s vagina and started working on breaking the hymen. Boomer yelped and squealed in pain and bolted against my restraining hands. Fresh blood oozed from her vaginal area and spotted on the floor. The vet gave a grunt and announced he thought he had it.
Boomer was still pushing at this point and almost immediately upon the vet removing his hand, she delivered a little black male. He was very much alive and squealing in protest. Before we could gather up mom and son to go home, Boomer immediately started pushing again. She delivered another puppy.
We cleaned the puppy and mom and started to head back out to the van, hoping to get home before the next one was delivered. Boomer started pushing again and as we rushed back into the emergency clinic, she had the next puppy in the waiting room. She took a small break and we were able to get her and the pups home before the next delivery.
Would YOU have known what to do? What choice would you have made regarding the puppy or mom in the emergency clinic? If we had not gone to the emergency clinic and spent over $200 in fees, both mom and pups would probably have died.
Boomer was now 6 and bred for the last time. Her other litter had progressed perfectly with no problems during whelping. Once the hymen had been broken she had passed her puppies easily. With this litter her temperature dropped and she again started pushing. She had her first 2 puppies normally, then stopped. After 2 hours of rest we took her outside and trotted her around, trying to get her in active labor again. She gave a few feeble pushes but they produced nothing.
By this time we knew she was getting tired. Thankfully my vet was still open and I called to let them know we were on our way. Boomer would give a slight push but would produce nothing.
The vet rushed her into an examination room and quickly did a digital to see if he could feel a pup. He felt the head of one but he couldn’t work it through. The pup didn’t respond to being touched and we concluded that by this time it was probably dead. Our eyes met over Boomer’s back and the vet nodded slightly. He knew I had just told him what to do.
He reached back inside Boomer and proceeded to take the puppy out. It was all I could do to keep her upright and not collapse. Unfortunately, the puppy’s body was unable to take the stress and it came out in a few pieces. All I know is that it was yellow. It was so badly mangled that we had no idea on what gender it was and at this point I really didn’t care.
I didn’t feel good about leaving until Boomer had a puppy again on her own so I trotted her up and down the aisleway after a shot of Oxytocin to get her back into labor. She delivered a yellow female which was a normal puppy.
The vet gave me instructions on what to do if Boomer stopped labor again as they were about to close. I have Oxytocin at home to give the bitches if they stop laboring and to help clean them out after they’re done birthing. He told me how much Oxytocin to give and recommended I do it IM (in the muscle) so it would be faster acting.
Sure enough 2 hours after we got home Boomer was still not trying to get out the remaining pups. She had stopped completely. I quickly gave her the first shot, which expelled a puppy. Then nothing.
As per my vet’s instructions I gave her another shot which didn’t even produce a contraction. I waited the allotted time as determined by my vet and gave Boomer another shot. Still nothing. We had done an x-ray the week before so we knew there was another puppy still left in there.
By just looking at Boomer we would have thought that she was all done and had just gone to bed. However, because of the x-ray I took her into the emergency clinic. They gave her a dose of oxytocin and calcium to try and get her going again, but she was so exhausted she didn’t even have a small contraction. They insisted on doing another x-ray in case the first one had been wrong. Sure enough, there on the x-ray was another puppy. There was no choice then but to do a c-section. We all figured that the pup was dead at this point, but it had to come out.
A few minutes later I hear the unmistakable sound of a newborn puppy. The vet tech brought out the pup to me and I rubbed it dry, its howls of protest echoing throughout the emergency clinic.
Boomer had suffered secondary inertia which is why her uterus shut down. Would YOU have known that? Would YOU have gotten her to the vet in time? Just before we left the emergency clinic I found out that they had a dog with parvovirus being treated in the back. Parvo is deadly to puppies. Here I had exposed not only Boomer’s puppies to parvo but another 10 day old litter at home. Two litters exposed to the killer virus. Do you have any idea what its like to wait on pins and needles for 2 weeks while you watch puppies closely for any sign at all of the virus? To go without sleep and to panic everytime one of the puppies happened to vomit or have loose stool? It was a horrible experience. Thankfully none of the puppies contracted the virus.
Darby was due to whelp her first litter the following week. Everything was progressing normally for her. However, things were not going well in the household. My 12 year old Lab Robin was failing. I tried everything I could to keep her going, to no avail. Finally a week before Darby was due I sat down with Robin in the backyard. It was just the two of us. Sobbing I told her that if she wanted to leave me I wouldn’t try anymore to keep her here. She was free to go with my blessing.
Two days later she told me it was time. She was stumbling around the backyard and it seemed like only one side of her face was working when she smiled. However, it was a Saturday afternoon and none of the vets were open. I didn’t want to take her to a strange vet at the emergency clinic so we tried to hold on until Monday.
That was the weekend from hell and here Darby was due on Thursday. Monday dawned and I made the appointment for Robin for that afternoon. I was taking Darby’s temperature since she was due that week and noticed a slight drop. No Darby, no I silently pleaded. The temp went back up and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Later that afternoon Robin was taken to the vet and she died in my arms at 3:50 PM. I was devastated. Before going to bed that night I retook Darby’s temperature and it was below 98 degrees, signaling that she would whelp within 12-36 hours. Sure enough, her water broke at 1:50 the next morning. I begged her not to have her first puppy at 3:50 AM. That would have been 12 hours from Robin’s death. I wasn’t sure I could have handled it. I was a mess emotionally as it was.
Darby started seriously pushing at 5 AM. She pushed heavily for awhile before I took her outside to trot her around, hoping to get her moving to expel the pup. It was storming outside with lightening, thunder and a steady downpour. Every few steps she would squat and push. With a flashlight I could see the bulge of a puppy below her tail, but she didn’t seem able to push it out on her own.
I reached inside her and grasped the puppy with my hand. As she pushed, I worked the puppy down the birth canal finally resulting in a live puppy being born in my backyard in the middle of a storm.
Darby immediately starting pushing hard again. We went back inside hoping to have the puppy in the whelping box. Again, I could see the bulge of the pup, but Darby wasn’t able to work it out. Once again I reached inside and worked with her to get that puppy out.
She rested for about 30 minutes then went right into hard labor again. She wasn’t able to produce a puppy and I reached in to determine where the puppy was. I felt the head but wasn’t able to get a grip to get it out. It didn’t seem overly large, but it was obviously not moving.
By this time my vet’s clinic was opened and off we went, Darby pushing the whole drive there. They rushed us into a room and Darby continued to push. The vet did a digital and didn’t think she would get this pup out on her own. He reached in and took the pup from her. At one point he thought he had popped the head off, but thankfully he didn’t and was able to bring the pup out whole. It was dead.
Darby immediately went into hard labor again. We gave her a small chance to get this one out on her own, but after time decided to do a c-section.
Have you ever seen one? Its very different when its YOUR dog on the table being cut open. The vet puts the intestines on the dog’s chest and reaches in and cuts the uterus. Then like working sausage through the casing, works a pup through to the small slice in the uterus. The pups are usually born totally motionless since they are under the same anesthesia as the mom. We work rubbing the puppies trying to get them to take their first breath. Unfortunately the first puppy was also dead. I was almost hysterical in my grief. I had seen enough death in the past 18 hours.
Mechanically I helped work on the puppies taking joy in the first sound of life. After all the puppies were removed, the vet stitched up Darby’s uterus and stuffed the intestines back where they belonged, then stitched up her belly. The gas was turned off and she was placed on blanket on the floor to recover.
As she started to come out of the anesthesia, she started to shake violently. Though this is perfectly normal, its hard to sit there and see it happen to your dog. The pups had been put in a warm box awaiting their mother. Once Darby had awakened enough to be aware of her surroundings, she was introduced to her puppies slowly so she could bond with them. Many mothers don’t fully accept their puppies if they’ve had a c-section. Thankfully Darby was not one of them.
We think that Darby’s cervix didn’t open because she went into labor early. We think that she went into labor due to the emotions in my house at the time. Dogs read emotions really well and are affected by them.
Would YOU have known that she was in trouble? Do your female a favor and spay her before you have to find out.
In January I rescued 8 Labs from a "breeder". In this 8 there was 1 male, but there were also 2 other males at this place...one in the house (the only dog allowed inside) and one 6 months old that was waiting for his new owner to pick him up. All dogs had no rabies shots, bordetella vaccines, etc. some were grossly (20 or more lbs) obese. There were three puppies under a year old in my group. Upon arrival we trimmed everyone's nails, gave out bordetella vaccines and made general health assesments. Upon vet testing, all had whip, round and hookworms and had to be placed in quarantine for 30+ days until treatment was complete and they had tested negative twice. Otherwise everyone appeared healthy. Then the fun began....We started xraying for dysplasia. Females #1 & #2 have hip & elbow dysplasia. Puppy (none had names inspite of being 8 months old) #1 had a severe overbite and her hips were mildly dysplastic. Puppy #2 had cataracts that were absorbing the iris of her eye & needed immediate surgery to prevent blindness. Puppy #3 was aggressive, yet very shy, but no "health" problems. Female #3 hips & elbows were moderate and she was very poor quality. The male was the worst having grade III dyslpasia in his hips. One female passed all testing with flying colors.....
This is where the "want to be a breeder" begins!
Upon returning from a dog show, I went out to feed and care for my original dogs & work with my "new crew" to show them that people do care. As I'm measuring out food, the female who would later pass all certifications with flying colors, snaps at her kennel mate. This dog, in only having her two weeks, was absolutely the sweetest dog I've ever met....this was unlike her. I glanced into her kennel & verbally corrected her, thinking that she was defending the rawhide chip that was between her front legs. She did it again only this time she was NASTY about it...she meant business. I verbally corrected her & opened the door...she started crying & nudging her rawhide...pleading me with her eyes. I looked again and it was a puppy! I had been assured that no one was in whelp and this bitch was too thin to have ever considered it. I quickly scooped up the lifeless little body as she cried...her kennelmate looked relieved. I have no idea how long this puppy had been in this kennel run, in the end of January. It was frozen, but dry. I turned the bitch loose & raced toward the house with puppy in hand, knowing that she would follow. As I reached the half way point, I heard the faint, yet unmistakeable sound of a newborn puppy.......HE WAS STILL ALIVE!!! This baby was so stiff that when I picked him up nothing moved...including his tail!
I quickly stripped my coat open and placed him under my shirt against my body & ran! If he was truely alive, I would do all I could to help him in his fight! I warmed up the oven & turned it back off, with mom dancing around my kitchen, bleeding everywhere & barking. I placed him in a shoe box, wrapped in towels in the warm (125) oven with the door open. I quickly readied a whelping box for mom, who I had to bodily drag away from her still very frozen baby. She stood in the box & barked while I warmed, rubbed, warmed, rubbed, and crooned to this lifeless little body. In an hour I had movement like that of a just out of the sack baby.... We could not get him to nurse so we had been dropper feeding him Caro syrup mixed with water this whole time to get his electrolytes up. It is now 11:30 pm....needless to say the vets office is closed and I still have no more contractions from mom....no new puppies, either.
I make the call & woke up the vet...she'll meet me in 20 minutes. Upon an xray, there are no more puppies and upon physical exam, both mom & puppy are fine. $250 later, but we are healthy & happy. Four days out puppy's nose and pads start to turn an off color...back to the vet. He has suffered frost bite. Keep him clean, make sure that he is gaining everyday. He stops nursing on day five...it is too painful. Now we are dropper feeding him every two hours around the clock. On day seven he passes over to the Rainbow Bridge..... I lost a very dear soul on that day and though he was conceived without any cares or forethought on the part of his mother's owner....he knew love. I cannot wait to see you again, my dear baby....you are cherished and sorely missed!
The breeding and whelping was going along normally when suddenly everything went wrong. My bitch gave birth to a stillborn after giving birth to 5 other puppies. The pup was fully formed and in the sack. I tried to jump start the puppy and worked on it for 15-20 minutes but to no avail. I was so sad. I hate losing puppies.
My bitch started contracting again and out came another stillborn puppy. Crying I tried to get this one started but with the same result. I called my mentor in tears telling her what had happened. I was a mess emotionally. I knew my bitch had at least one more puppy in her and my mentor volunteered to come over and help.
She pulled up into the driveway just as the next puppy was born. Again a stillborn. We both worked on the puppy but were unable to get it breathing. Three stillborn puppies in a row. Yes I had 5 live ones, but the deaths rocked me.
We never did find out what caused the pups’ deaths. The necropsy came back inconclusive.
I was asked to whelp a litter for a friend who was ill. Things were progressing normally when the bitch produced a puppy which looked deformed. Upon closer inspection, the puppy was indeed deformed. It had a pigeon shaped chest and a head which came to a point. Its two front paws were crossed over the chest, almost like it had been posed. There was no way this pup was going to be normal even if I could have gotten it going, so I didn’t even try.
Two minutes later, the bitch produced an identical puppy. Same chest, same head, same crossed paws. It was eery. We think these pups were probably twins and just didn’t form normally.
A week before my bitch was due I accidentally caught her side with the corner of the screen door. The corner was very sharp and I worried I had hurt her and/or the puppies. When she had the pups, one of the puppies was born dead. Upon close inspection I noticed that there was a penetrating cut on the puppy’s back. The skin of the puppy was also starting to peel. This puppy probably died from the blow from the screen door and had started to decompose hence the peeling skin. It was similar to peeling skin a human would experience after a sun burn. I was physically sick and stricken with guilt.
Have you even imagined what its like to have to wrap a puppy up in newspaper and put it out in the trash? You can’t bury it. The mom might scent it and dig it back up. Trust me I know that from experience. You have no choice but to place it in the trash where mom can’t get at it. It can eat away at you knowing you have to do this. Are YOU prepared?
It was my bitch's second litter and all was going exactly according to plan. She had a very easy time of it. However, the last pup born was noticably "different" than the others. Upon closer inspection, I detected a hare lip. Dreading the next step, I opened the tiny mouth and looked at the roof of the mouth. Oh God no, the pup had a cleft palate.
With a heavy heart I put the pup back with its mother and patted mama's head. Glancing at the clock I noticed it was 3 AM. No way I could take the pup in to be euthanized at this hour. The vets didn't open until 8:30 AM.
The poor little baby couldn't nurse because of its deformity. It cried all night causing mama to cry and whimper. Have you ever heard a little baby puppy cry in hunger. It rips your heart out. When mama cried and whimpered in answer I found tears running down my face.
At 8:00 AM I wrapped the little one in a warm towel and I started the drive to the vet. He was so weak, but his cries continued. I was bawling by the time we arrived at the vet.
The little one was so weak by the time we got to the vet. I held him close while the vet gave him the shot that would put him out of his misery. The little angel died in my arms.
Have you any idea what that is like? Its horrible. Would you have known what do you or in your ignorance about breeding would the pup have to suffer longer because you didn't know what to do or look for.
Here is a real story of why one should not want to breed a litter. Beware, there are some tears here too.
It all started with a black and white champion female named Isabel. She was from a successful combination that did several champions and obedience titled dogs in a litter. Both of her parents had been health tested for everything - but neither her sire or dam were dogs we had bred and only one small piece was our breeding. We decided we were going to breed Isabel to a dog in the Chicago area - a dog mostly of our pedigrees. He was also a champion, sired several champions and was cleared for every health related issue.
Before breeding Isabel, she had her hips, eyes, ears and bloodwork done and everything cleared through with flying colors. About four weeks into the pregnancy, she came to stay with us while her owners (co-owners) went on a vacation. She was already enormous and looked like a litter of 8 by the time she went home. However, in the back of the co-breeder's mind, something didn't seem right, so she took her in and they reran all the bloodwork. Everything came up totally normal and things were progressing along nicely.
I picked up Isabel about a week before the pups were due and she was doing great!
Then, day 63 from the first breeding came, no signs of puppies. Isabel's temp hadn't dropped and she was still silly and perky. This continued for another couple of days - then on day 66, she went in for a physical. Everything was fine and our vet said to wait one more day. Her temp dropped that morning, etc. Great, we are on track. That night, she had the first pup about 10 pm.. Big, strapping young lad, now known as Bob White. Isabel did her motherly duties. After the first pup, we went another 5 hours without a pup. No straining, no panting, everything was quiet and peaceful. Now, I am used to breaks in whelpings, but something had me concerned here. Finally, about 3:30 am, she popped out three pups, bang, bang, bang. She settled in and did her motherly duties. Now, remember, I told you she looked like a litter of eight. Well, we only had four and she was back to having her girlish figure.. Something was not right.
So, the first week came and went, pups and mom doing great :-). Midway into the second week, Isabel stopped eating. Pups were thriving, but she wasn't doing well. So off to the vet.. After doing more bloodwork, the only thing that seemed to be off was the WBC, and the good doctor seemed to have located the culprit on her uterous. So, he put her on Antibiotics and home we went. Isabel then ate for a day and the babies were doing great. Then, on Tuesday, Isabel was not eating anything - you name it, hamburger, mac & cheese, etc. So late that afternoon, she went off to the vet..... after a quick exam, she was put on IV's and little did we know.. Never to come home again. That night called in the true test of a breeder...
If you have never had the experience of handraising puppies, it is a very emotional thing. Since I had class that night, mom had to tube feed four BIG healthy puppies that fought and squirmed, etc. We quickly learned how to become foster moms. By the next night, we were totally crashed out on the sofa, emotionally drained, not just from managing the pups, to also wondering what was going to happen with Isabel. We also learned that they needed to eat every 6 hours, needed to be burped, wiped off, you name every thing that mom did and we were doing it!
On Thursday of this same week, Isabel's spirits seemed to improve, although she wasn't eating very well, things looked okay. Both the co-owner and mom stopped into say hi and Isabel greeted them with a wagging tail. However, all the test results kept coming back inconclusive and even the U of Mn (one of the Top 5 Vet Schools in the US) couldn't figure out the problem. So we switched antibiotics and went from there.
By this time, we had moved off tube feeding and started bottle feeding and everyone except one little girl, named Wren was catching on. Wren seemed to have a leaning problem and when she walked, tilted to one side. The other three were fat munchkins and she just wasn't right. Of course, that was the one the co-breeder fell in love with!
Finally, Thursday night, we were settled into the routine. Babies were eating from a bottle and Isabel seemed to be better.
On Friday, I came home to do my noon shift as usual and there was no news on Isabel. Pups were doing great and had really caught onto the routine! They would hear us coming down the back steps and start singing and talking and making all sorts of racket! It made you smile to see them. We (the co-breeder and the two of us) had become the only mother's these little guys knew.
I came over after work, as I was packing for shows and when I walked up the front step, the porch door was closed and Isabel's collar was on the door. All was quiet in the house. I met mom in the kitchen and she said the decision had been made to put Isabel down. She said that the vet had called to say that she was no longer passing fluid through her system and that all of the numbers had sky rocketed within hours. Mom and the co-breeder made the hard decision to put Isabel down and then to do a post.
As time has gone on. The babies are doing great and probably the most socialized litter. About 10 days ago, we put down the little girl with the head tilt as she now was having uncontrollable seizures. Mom suspects a liver shunt, as did the head vet at our vet clinic. We are awaiting the results of the post. Isabel's report cameback as Copper Storage Disease, very common in Bedlington Terriers and Westies, not common in dals. There was nothing that could have been done. Yes, all the bloodwork in the beginning proved that she was a healthy dog, but that breeding her probably percipitated everything.
This litter has been truly a heartbreaking experience. Since we don't know if this is genetic, we are going to keep a pup to show and then neuter him and place the other two on spay/neuter contracts. I will never have anymore dealings with this piece of pedigree - too much heart ache involved.
If you think you really want to breed a litter, think long and hard. Most litters go fine, not all and here is proof that even with all the precautionary measures taken, breeding can still be traumatic. Do you really want to put your beloved pet through this, you children, your spouse, etc? I would hope not!
PLEASE, don't raise a litter for the sake of raising a litter!
Here's the story of the last litter I was involved in breeding.
I've always had dogs, as has my fiance at the time. We didn't show or anything - our dogs were workers, and good at it. Shows and conformation were a foreign concept, really, and although I appreciated the importance of health testing, my partner didn't, he believed that a healthy dog could work, and if it didn't work - and work well - then it wasn't worth breeding, full stop.
At this time we had two dogs that we were considering breeding - a German Shorthaired pointer called Jess - a gorgeous dog, from generations of working, untitled, untested stock, as healthy as could be, a wonderful house pet and an amazement out on the field. The other dog was Sparky, a German Wirehaired pointer, who was also from generations of working, untitled, untested stock, and my favourite - I'd take him out to work just to see him out there. The aim was to find a GSP worthy of Jess, and a GWP bitch worthy of Sparky. We both had experience of breeding - I'd not bred a litter myself but had helped out with a friend's Cocker Spaniels, and my fiance had bred lurchers for a while (his last lurcher bitch, Fly, had died a week or two previous to this, 14, blind in one eye, but still coming out and trying her hardest to catch whatever she could). So it's not as if we were complete beginners.
My finace just wanted to find a good working dog, preferably of the right breed, and that looked the breed it was supposed to be. It took a lot of talking and arguing, but he finally agreed to do health testing on both animals before deciding to breed. Of course, before this happened, Sparky and Jess mated - Although he says this was accidental, I still don't know 100%, or if he was just doing it because we'd been asked (many of our friends had told us to put them together to get some good working puppies).
The pregnancy went fine. Jess got fat and healthy, and remained healthy. A week or so before the litter was due, we sadly gave Sparky up to a friend, as my fiance refused to have him neutered - too good a dog to neuter - and I didn't want to risk Jess having another cross bred litter.
I will spare all the full details. The day Jess went into labour, there was obviously problems - a stuck puppy, which meant us going straight to the vets, an emergency C-section being carried out, and eventually, we ended up with four dead puppies, and five living - one of them only just living. Jess was dazed and I just wanted to apologise to her for putting her in this situation.
The day after the litter was born, I received a phonecall. Sparky had ran out onto a road, and died.
One of the puppies died a few days later. The other four were sold to new homes, very easily - with so many people we knew looking for puppies from this litter, we could pick and choose owners. I made all the new owners promise that they would be neutered or spayed as soon as possible, and though I am only in contact with two of them now, they have both had this done, and they say the other two have as well.
I split up with my fiance, mainly fueled by arguments over these poor puppies, and what happened to Sparky. I left, I didn't get to keep Jess (he paid for her, so she's his dog), or my precious rottweiler, and we lost touch. The last thing I heard, he broke his ankle very badly, had to sell Jess - still unspayed - since he couldn't work her anymore, and still unhealth tested, she has had at least one more litter.
Will I ever breed again? Yes. In a few years time, I will have rottweilers of my own, health tested, breed Champions (hopefully), titles before and after their name. That doesn't guarantee that it'll go right, but it's got much better chances than my poor Jess and Sparky did.
RIP Sparky, and Mouse, the smallest puppy who died at 4 days old.
Just to let you know about breeding. I've been doing it for a very long time. I have seen just able every situation, however, the one I had recently just about made me want to throw in the towel.
My bitch too was experienced and never had any problems before. This time it was one problem after another. We ended up in the ER clinic 11 hours after I thought the last puppy was born. I give my own oxytocin shots per my vet's instructions. I had given her 2 10 hours before and she showed no sign of any additional pups. Later that evening, she had a couple of contractions that I thought at first were to expell a retained placenta or two. Then she went into pushing mode. That was no placenta, that was a puppy coming.
I had to reach up inside of Stevie. I tried to get it out but it was stuck behind the pelvic bone and I couldn't get a good grip on it. Figured it was dead being in there for 10 hours. I got a grip on its jaw and was going to just rip it out when the thing licked my finger!
I kept trying to grab it around the head with two fingers and pull it out with Stevie's contractions, but it wouldn't come past that pelvic bone for me. So back into the ER we went where the vet was able to get it out......ALIVE.
Stevie is fine, thank God. We had to get that one out of there or she would have gone septic. I was willing to take it out in pieces until it licked my fingers. I had my fingers so far up Stevie's vagina I thought I was going to dislocate them everytime she had a contraction.
When the vet finally got the puppy out and it was squealing so, Steve was panicked so I finally put a towel down on the floor with her and put the puppy on it. Stevie wrapped herself around that puppy and put her paw around it, then put her head on top. You could just see she was saying, its mine, leave it alone. It broke my heart. I knew there was something wrong with it. The vet said I was wrong and the pup was just in shock and it would do fine.
Well that puppy didn't do fine. That puppy screamed all night. It couldn't nurse, it could barely move. My bitch was almost in a frenzy to soothe that pup. Finally at 5 in the morning, the poor puppy starting its "death wail". Have you ever heard that? Let me tell you, its not something you can forget. The hair on your arms and the back of your neck stand straight up. The poor thing finally was silenced for good at 7:00 that morning.
Then Stevie's temp spiked to about 104.6. I have cephalexin on hand so I thought to just give her that. I cleared it with the ER vet (the same one who pulled out the puppy) and went to bed. I was also told that I could give her some aspirin to help keep the fever under control. (forgive me if I'm getting things jumbled, I've been without sleep for 3 days).
I actually got 2 hours of sleep, then got up at 7. Tried to feed Stevie and she refused her food. My Labs NEVER refuse food. Took her temp and it was 104.6. Vet time.
We're in the middle of a blizzard, but off to the vet we go this morning. Steve's temp was 103.8 there. She's been passing nasty bloody smelly stuff since this morning. I noticed it when I was taking her temp. The vet palpated and almost gagged on the smell coming from her rear. Metritis (acute infection of the uterus). No kidding, doc. ;-)
He gave her a huge injection of cephalexin and told me to give her some capsules throughout the day and to also inject her with oxytocin throughout the day to get that uterus to contract and get some of the infection out.
The temp would drop to 103.8 but no lower. She had pus dripping out of her the next day. It was the most putrid smell I had ever smelled. Finally her temp dropped and the putrid smell went away, but not totally.
I took her to the vet for a checkup. I thought she was doing ok until I got her in the van and away from the puppies. That's when I noticed, she looked weak and the look in her eye wasn't normal. The vet took one look and said the uterus had to come out NOW! This was at 5:00 on a Friday night, when most vets go home. She was just filled with pus and it was touchy not to let the pus from the uterus leak into the abdomen during surgery. She came home at 11 PM. We had to feed the pups ourselves while she was gone. Do you know how to if you need to?
2 weeks after her spay I noticed a discharge coming again from Stevie. It wasn't putrid. She didn't have a temperature and she was acting normally. I took her back to the vet and she was diagnosed with "stump pyometra". This is an infection in the part that is left after a spay. The original infection had been in the part that was left and re-infected her after the spay. I had never heard of this before. She was put on Baytril which is a very heavy duty antibiotic. Within hours the puppies started having diarreha despite the yogurt the pups were getting for this reason, but there was no choice in the matter. We will put up with the diarreha while Stevie is on the antibiotic and hope and pray this will be the last problem with the pyometra.
Breeding isn't always easy and textbook. I was experienced and almost lost my female. What would have happened if YOU had gone through this? Yes breeding dogs and having puppies can be a wonderful experience, but it can also become a nightmare at a moments notice.
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*breeder’s stories used with permission*