The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

Whelping Stories: Dam Loses Litter and Starts to Absorb Puppies

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.

Green discharge on a towel

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.

Close Up - Dead Puppy

This puppy had been dead for a few days; the skin was starting to peel off.

Close Up - photo of dead puppy

When pups have been dead this long they cannot be revived.

Close Up - Puppy that was born dead lying next to the green discharge

Four hours later the second puppy was born dead.

Close Up - Dead Puppy inside of a green sack

It was very soft, mushy and starting to break down.

Dead Puppy inside of a green sack on a towel

The placenta looked like it had not been attached for quite some time.

Two puppies nursing from the dam

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.

Dead Puppy with a towel with Yellow stuff on it

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.

Right Profile - Dead Puppy

Dead puppy

Dead Puppy laying on a towel with Yellow Discharge near its mouth

Dead puppy

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.

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