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When Things Go Wrong...

This was an experience that I lived through in 1996. Unfortunatley, this is only part one of a horrendous story that taught me that to be a breeder you need to learn how to take a good kick to the gut. A Link to Part II is located at the end of this page.

This posting is in hopes of educating those who are contemplating breeding their dog that it is not always an easy and carefree experience, even for those of us who have been in the fancy for years. I was lucky enough to have purchased a wonderful Italian Greyhound bitch as an addition to my breeding program from a top (and very conscientious breeder). "K" finished her championship easily with four majors and went on to becoming a group placer. She is also OFA'd, CERF'd, tested normal on vWD and thyroid screenings and was certified as having normal patellas. We decided to breed her to our stunning special CH Imaje's U Will B Assimilated also passed all genetic screening. K's pregnancy went smoothly enough but due to her large girth I had an x-ray done to see what we were dealing with, 4 large puppies but nothing indicated that we would have a problem. Sunday, June 30th, her temp. dropped to 99 and I settled in for labor to start, but it never did. Uterine inertia can be common in our breed and usually a shot of oxytocin will get things going, but not this time. Wednesday morning following her second but this time very large dose of oxytocin she still wouldn't start labor (mind you she also has a family history of whelping early, so I wasn't feeling very easy about this). We wound up doing a c-section Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd. it was then that we discovered she had an abnormal uterus with only one functional horn. Also, the placentas were extremely large and attached so tightly to the uterus lining that she started hemorhaging profusely (I happened to be in the operating room with her and my vet [we have a great repoire]) and a choice had to be made: either repair the damaged uterus with great risk of losing K or remove the uterus to get the bleeding stopped. To me it wasn't an option, K is much more important than any puppies she could potentially produce in the future, even though she is a great asset to the breed. The first three days were rough and I had to bottle feed the pups the first night, poor K could barely get up. To top that off I had three small children at the time to explain what happened to their beloved dog. No we didn't lose her or any of the pups, but I am experienced and knew by shear gut instinct that things weren't right which is what saved the puppies. If I had been ignorant about gestation length or when she actually had been bred another day or two would have cost us the pups and most likely K. Our dogs mean the world to us and we breed ONLY to improve the Italian Greyhound and better the breed. We breed only physically and mentally sound dogs that have all of the traits that make an IG an IG. This scenario could happen to anyone, and in order to have a happy outcome (where everyone survives) one must educate themselves and under optimum circumstances get a mentor, someone experienced (preferably in your breed).

Breeding should not be rushed into, genetic testing needs to be done BEFORE a bitch comes in season, some tests (e.g., thyroid and vWD) can give false readings when a bitch is in estrus. Brucellosis should be done when the bitch comes in season, even if she's never been bred.

Food for thought.

Click on the Title Below for Part II:

When the Light at the End of the Tunnel is a TRAIN!