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!
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