The other night, during a spectacularly busy shift, I was presented with a large breed bitch in labor. Without giving specifics, I will say that the dog's breed was one usually associated with people that have lower incomes. At any rate, she was having trouble getting her puppies out. She'd been actively pushing for 4 hours, and no puppies were forthcoming. A sac had exited the vagina and ruptured, but no puppy was to be seen.
As I've mentioned ad nauseum, I hate dystocias. The owners never have any financial plan for difficulties with birthing, the patients are often poor specimens to be breeding, are generally unvaccinated and not on heartworm preventative. I see it every. Single. Week.
So I went into the room with serious annoyance. I recommended the usual after examining the dog and finding weak contractions and no puppies in the birth canal - X-rays to count puppies and look for an explanation as to the cause of her difficulties, as well as ultrasound to assess heartbeats, puppy movement, and the abdomen in general.
The owner readily agreed. I was delighted to find that the dog was vaccinated fully and received monthly heartworm preventative. X-rays showed 12 puppies! The first puppy, attempting to make its exit, had an accumulation of gas bubbles around it on X-ray. This is consistent with fetal death and decomposition. I discussed this with the owner and made the dreaded recommendation. C-section. I did this fully expecting to hear the "how much is this going to cost me?" snarl, followed by the 4 hour attempt to scrape up enough money for a discount/el cheapo c-section.
To my shock and awe, the owner produced the necessary funds without complaint. As we discussed the finances, she said to me, "I save money in case this happens. It's irresponsible to breed if you don't have the money to deal the problems that can arise."
I'll be honest. I had to scoop my jaw off the floor. I want to erect a statue to this woman in the lobby.