Olive, a four year old pregnant female English bulldog presented to Carroll County Animal Hospital on an emergency basis on a Saturday evening. Her parents reported that she had been whelping or in labor for the last 14 hours. She had successfully given birth to 3 puppies on her own; however she was becoming more and more stressed as the hours passed. She continued to be in labor but was unsuccessful at having the remaining puppies. Olive had been bred approximately 60 days prior to the date she went into labor.
On exam, Olive was panting heavily. She was immediately placed on oxygen machine via an oxygen mask. This helped her oxygenate her tissues much more effectively. Her body temperature was normal at 100.8 degrees F. Heart rate was mildly elevated. Olive had a severely distended belly and her mammary glands were found to be engorged and producing milk.
A vaginal exam revealed that Olive had a puppy breached or stuck within the birth canal. At this point Olive was actively pushing to evacuate the puppy but was unable to do so.
At this point, it was highly recommended that Olive be taken to emergency surgery for a cesarean section to remove the remainder of the puppies.
A Complete Blood Count and chemistry profile (In- house blood tests) were performed. Labwork was found to be normal.
An I.V. catheter was placed in a peripheral vein of the leg. Olive was given several hundred milliliters of fluid prior to surgery. She was then placed on a continuous infusion of fluids during her surgery.
Olive was placed under general anesthesia and a midline incision on her belly was made. The uterus was exposed and 3 puppies were removed. Two puppies were breached in the birth canal for an extensive amount of time. They were found to be hypoxic (decreased oxygenation to tissues) and showed signs of anasarca. This condition is when there is extreme generalized fluid within the body and there is a very grave prognosis for survival. The secretions were removed from the mouth and nose of the puppies to allow for ventilation. They were given emergency drugs to induce heart beats and then CPR was performed. These two puppies however were unable to be revived. This was due to the extensive damage from being breached for several hours within the birth canal where they had a significant lack of oxygen for several hours.
The third puppy, a sweet girl, recovered well and was ready for her mom to wake up from surgery so she could have her first taste of milk!
Olive’s incision was closed back up with sutures in several layers and she was awoken from surgery. She recovered without any complications and immediately allowed her 4 puppies to nurse. Olive and her puppies were hospitalized for one night with close observation. Olive and her 2 baby girls and 2 baby boys did very well and were discharged home after 24 hours.
IN ORDER TO PREVENT THIS TYPE OF EMERGENCY, we recommend that all brachycephalic breeds (English bulldogs, pugs, and other “smooshed” face breeds) have a scheduled C-section. These breeds tend to have difficult pregnancies and an even more difficult labor due to their confirmations.
If you notice your pregnant “momma dog” having difficulty during whelping please contact us immediately.