I read the stories on this website about whelping puppies and thought I would share one of my experiences.
When the puppies inside a dam die it will often put her into labor. In my case we believe that the puppies in one horn died while the puppies in the other horn lived. This was a very difficult birth.
I noticed bright green discharge coming from my dam's vulva. An exam showed there was no puppy in the birth canal and it took several hours to get the first puppy out.
This puppy had been dead for a few days; the skin was starting to peel off.
When pups have been dead this long they cannot be revived.
Four hours later the second puppy was born dead.
It was very soft, mushy and starting to break down.
The placenta looked like it had not been attached for quite some time.
Five hours later I gave the dam a shot of oxytocin and a live puppy was born. I worked on it for a good hour. After that another living puppy was born. I believe the living puppies were in a different horn.
One hour later the last puppy was born dead. This pup looked as if it was only dead for maybe a day. There was yellow stuff coming out of his nose.
Breeders wonder why this happens and often we never know. One factor that this dam had against her was that she was 6 years old. In a toy breed it is best to breed at ages 2, 3 and 4 years old. After age 6 you run the risk of complications. It is nature's way of saying no more breeding. The dam could have been bumped, injuring a puppy in one horn, which caused the puppy to die and then unfortunately the other pups in that horn often die as well. The placentas could have prematurely detached. We will never know for sure.
Even if the pups are not alive they must come out and usually this is a situation for a cesarean. I am an experienced breeder and had also read all of the stories on this site and was able to deliver all of the puppies. Luckily I was home to prevent the dam from cleaning up all of the dead puppies, as a dam will often eat the placentas and that would have made her very sick. This whelping was an all-night ordeal.
While I am sad about the loss of most of the puppies I am happy that the dam has two healthy puppies and is not mourning the loss of the ones that did not survive. She is concentrating on the living pups. It is scary to think of how things may have turned out had I not been home to assist the dam. Without me here she could have gone septic and died.
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.