Friday, February 17, 2012

I hate the reproductive tract

Of all emergencies, I loathe reproductive emergencies the most. They are all preventable. Dystocias, pyometras, prolapsed penises, uterine torsions - they could all be prevented with spaying and neutering. Further, almost without fail, the owners of these disasters have no financial resources. Last night brought no exceptions.

I was tired and a bit down. My husband's grandmother died somewhat unexpectedly on Monday morning. She was 98, so it wasn't totally out of the blue. She was healthy though - no cancer, diabetes, stroke, or heart disease. Other than moderate memory problems, she was really the picture of health.

We had to leave Wednesday morning to make visitation on Wednesday evening in Tennessee, so I was hoping for some sleep. It was not to be.

A pregnant large breed dog showed up at midnight. She'd had some signs of labor - panting, anxiousness, and restlessness. Then she had pushed out a sac. It ruptured and spilled green fluid everywhere. No puppy followed. No contractions followed. She continued to be anxious, but she had no signs of labor.

Now it was midnight, and the owners were worried. Oh, and by the way, we are on disability and have $300.

WHY? Why are you breeding your dog if you don't have the finances to deal with complications? When my husband and I decided to have a baby, we made a careful savings plan to cover my maternity leave. We didn't just willy-nilly get knocked up. And I had to pay $2500 for the birth as part of my insurance plan. We had that money and expected to have to pay it. That's the way it works.

At any rate, I was limited to taking 1 X-ray. On it, I saw no evidnence of fetal or maternal obstruction. Next would have been an ultrasound to determine if the pups were alive and if they were distressed. The owners didn't have the money for that. I did it anyway, because I couldn't, in good conscience, give the bitch oxytocin without knowing if the puppies were distressed.

I gave them their options. Wait until morning to see their vet and have a csection then or try oxytocin to stimulate contractions. They chose the latter. Luckily for me, it worked. It took 4 hours though. After that time, we had 5 live, healthy puppies. It was then 5:30am, so any hope of sleep weas essentially gone.

I'm grateful that I could help the bitch. Having recently given birth myself, I can attest to the fact that she was probably very anxious and in pain. It was a relief that I could get the puppies out with medical intervention, because had it come down to a csection, I highly suspect Her owners would have euthanized her. They didn't have the money.

Moral of the story: plan before you breed! Unexpected complications arise, just like in human births! Most of the time, things go smoothly. When they don't - it will cost money!


Nicki said...

Agreed. Never fails these people have a non-breeding quality dog and no money.

foffmom said...

I hate to break this news to you. Your expectations will not be met. Humans often do not practice responsible contraception themselves. They reproduce with no financial, emotional, physical, or intellectual means of supporting a child, or themselves. You and your husband are in the minority. I wish our species were different. I agree with your wish. Just be aware, you will be dealing with this your entire career. Just be glad you didn't go into OB!

Double A Training said...

I had a bad experience with Stump Pyometra. I took my GSD to get spayed and everything went textbook according to them and her recovery was great.

About 2 weeks later I noticed she wasn't quite right. Nothing major and my friends/family told me I was being paranoid. I thought I saw a small blood clot coming out of her but wasn't positive.

The next morning I hauled her to the vet(not the ones that did the surgery). They were GREAT and said they were 90% sure it was Stump Pyometra. They had be bring her back the next morning after being fasted and ended up taking her into emergency surgery. The original spay wasn't done correctly and this vet took TONS of tissue out of my dog. I still have the pictures somewhere....very impressive.

After the first consult, the emergency surgery, meds, everything I couldn't believe my total was right at $400. I took them cookies/baked goods for WEEKS.

I was lucky though....according to the vet by the time owners notice there is something wrong its very hard to save them.

Happy to report Pepper is still with me 6 years later and going strong.

Not harping on the first vet...I understand things happen but I owe by dog's life to the second. :)

Chris Bern, DVM said...

Personally I think that the majority of "breeders" should never do so, in large part because of situations like you described here. You know they're going to try breeding again, and won't have money for complications then either.

SMHDVM said...

Is this where someone is supposed to tell you that breeders are equally as educated as vets and that you are doing it all wrong?

Because I can do that. I would be wrong, but I could do it.