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Guide Dogs Week 1-9 October 2016

5 October 2016

Today Guide Dogs is the largest breeder and trainer of working dogs and they have helped over 29,000 people to achieve life-changing independence.

Guide Dogs Week is an annual fundraising and awareness event, taking place from the 1st to the 9th October. ‘Move it for Money’ is the theme for this year’s Guide Dogs Week, and whether it is a story that moves you to tears or something that inspires you to leap into action, Move it for Money this Guide Dogs Week!

Every life-changing guide dog partnership begins at the National Breeding Centre with the birth of a puppy.  Guide Dogs breed their own puppies and before every mating, they carry out extensive research to select the right brood bitch and stud dog.

Very recently Willows were able to assist Guide Dog brood bitch Ivy when she experienced some difficulty giving birth.


Ivy’s Story...

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 okay, 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.


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups


Ivy’s pups



Willows will be supporting Guide Dogs during our Open Day on 9th October. As part of our commitment to our chosen charities we will be asking our visitors to take a token and vote for one of our three charities to receive a donation of £1000!

So come along to our Open Day and meet a local Guide Dog, find out more about the amazing work they do and vote for 1 of 3 deserving charities.


For further information see Guide Dogs week