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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 33322
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Puppies due yesterday, spots of discoloured discharge, shaky

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Puppies due yesterday, spots of discoloured discharge, shaky not herself at all. Not many pups. Not much weight gain. Mum is Labrador but petite.
Aloha! You're speaking to Dr. Michael Salkin
I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. I suspect the paucity of vets on our UK site is responsible. Can you give me an update on Cinders, please? How many days past her last mating has it been?

In general, we consider our bitches to be in trouble if no puppy is born within 4 hours of a temperature under 37.8C (indicating impending labor) reverting to normal (>37.8C) or if a black, green, or red discharge is present before any pups are born (indicating placental separation and fetal distress) or a pup lodged in the birth canal.

I'll await your reply.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Dear Dr. Salkin, thank you for your response. It is now 65 days past her last mating.

Thank you. The gestation period for Cinders can range between 58-68 days. If her spotting isn't discolored as I mentioned above and she remains comfortable and well, only patience is needed at this time. You can monitor her by taking her rectal temperature. Any body thermometer will do placed 1.5" into her rectum for 1 minute. Please follow the temperature guidelines I've posted above and let me know what you find.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much but our beloved Lab is not comfortable and well. We have bred puppies before and quite understand yr comments. However, the spotting is greeny/brown and foul smelling. Cinders is still twitching and causing me concerns. I telephoned our regular vet. I think this little dog would benefit from a C-Section but vet doesn't agree. Been told we could lose mum or pups or both. Daughter took Cinders to vet this morning but no temperature taken. Scan showed one maybe two images but machines very old. Daughter positive she saw one heartbeat. Vet said C-Sections are often performed unnecessarily. Vet sent dog home but dog's condition is deteriorating. I'm v afraid. Been up for two nights and no sign of any pups. What do I do?

Thank you for the additional information. The quality of the spotting alone should prompt a C-section. You'll need to take Cinders to another vet who better understands how to recognize distochia. Your description of Cinders does, indeed, concern me that all are at risk.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Too late one dead pup born. Pup is enormous. Ive measured it at 30 cms. Am returning with Cinders to vet. Dog very weak. Will keep you posted.

My condolences. It's a shame that it will have taken this pup's death to prompt action by your vet. I'll await your next message.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

As if things couldn't get any worse. We returned to the veterinary surgery with Cinders. She was scanned again but once again what appeared on the screen was unrecognisable. Could it be membrane, or a second pup - no heartbeat. I insisted on a referral to a Specialist Surgery - so very afraid we would lose mum as well.


At this Specialist Centre Cinders was scanned/x-rayed and as clear as clear there was a second pup. Pup was not viable.

Cinders was operated on and the dead pup removed. This pup was mal-formed. There were early signs of infection and our beloved Cinders had to undergo a full hysterectomy.

Oh my. Thank goodness your persistence saved Cinders.

I appreciate your taking the time to update me. Please continue our conversation if you wish.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I need just 3 questions answered if you will be so kind...

1. Under the circumstances would most vets have performed a C-Section, given my concerns about the symptoms earlier on?

2. What does early signs of infection mean. Had Cinders had a C-section three days ago could this "infection" been treatable with Antibiotics for instance and

3. The first pup born dead was perfectly formed but the second was not. |Had Cinders had a C-Section would a future litter been mal-formed also? It might be worth mentioning here that Cinder's mum had 7 perfect puppies and Cinders' sister also had two litters of 7 puppies before she was spayed.

1) Yes. If my guidelines which I posted in my first reply to you were followed, a C-section should have been performed.
2) The finding of inflammation and pus are the gross signs of infection. When the infection began, however, can't be determined without biopsy of the affected tissues. It's not likely, however, that conservative care with antibiotics by the time Cinders was already distressed would have sufficed.
3) No, there's no reason to think that future litters would be malformed unless whatever caused malformation this time around still persisted - infection with Brucella or an anatomical disorder, e.g.
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