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