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Guide Dog puppies cause

a problem...

Very recentlyWillows were able to assist brood bitch Ivy when she

experienced some difficulty giving birth.

Ivy had to be rushed in to see vet Simone Anesi in the early hours of the morning

as she was having some difficulty giving birth. Ivy is a breeding bitch for Guide Dogs

for the Blind (GDBA) and has had litters before, but unfortunately this time seemed

to be struggling.

Her foster carer and the supervisor from GDBA knew

that she was trying to whelp (have puppies) as her body

temperature had dropped earlier in the day, but she hadn’t

produced any pups so far. Simone quickly examined Ivy

and established that a pup was in the birth canal but

worryingly Ivy’s contractions had stopped and she wasn’t

making any attempts to push. Simone ran a blood test,

which showed that all of her electrolyte values were OK,

and took an x-ray to make sure that the positioning of the

pup was correct, which it was.

Ivy appeared to be suffering from primary uterine inertia,

which is the failure of the muscles of the uterine wall

to contract in an effective manner. Having established

with the x-rays and examination that there was no

physical obstruction in the birth canal, Simone gave her

an injection of oxytocin, a hormonal drug which can help

to stimulate the uterus to contract more strongly. She

then went home to wait for the drug to take effect as she

would be more relaxed there and so more likely to carry

on whelping without stress or interruption. The injection

seemed to work very well at first and throughout the

night she produced six beautiful pups. Her labour then

came to another halt, although we knew from the x-ray

that there were more puppies inside.

Her (exhausted!) carer and the supervisor from GDBA

brought her back to Willows, concerned that it had now

been a few hours since the last pup had been delivered

and that Ivy was becoming tired. Vet Amy Knapman

examined her and it was clear that she had more pups to

go. She repeated bloods to check Ivy’s blood calcium level

was still okay, and then administered a further injection

of oxytocin at a slightly higher dose. A few minutes after

this Ivy delivered a puppy which very sadly was stillborn,

and couldn’t be saved and we were very worried that the

same could be true of the final pup. There was no further

activity for some time and Amy tried one last injection of

oxytocin but finally advised that a caesarean section was

the only way to deliver the last puppy.

Amy took Ivy straight to theatre for her surgery, and to

everyone’s delight the last pup (a girl) was still alive. After

a safe delivery there were plenty of nurses on hand to rub

her down with towels and stimulate her to start breathing

on her own. She quickly showed us she was quite a

fighter! As soon as she was awake enough Ivy was able to

have her hard-earned pups back with her and

was discharged home later that afternoon.

Amy Knapman

BVSc MRCVS

General Practice Service Clinician

Ivy’s pups being kept warm in

an incubator

Ivy nursing her seven beautiful pups

The pups full of mischief and growing fast

back at their foster parents’ home