C-Section

So… today we decided to perform a c-section on a rescue dog. She was aready carrying when she was picked up by the rescue, so we had to guess how far she was. Her amniotic fluids were basically gone today and the heartrate of the puppies started to slowly decrease, so we decided to go for the c-section since mom didn’t look like she was willing to give birth anytime soon. It’s always a huge disadvantage not knowing when exactly she started her pregnancy and all the puppies were facing the wrong direction, too.

You never want to perform unneccessary c-sections and usually you try to leave them inside of mom as long as possible. Heartrate and amniotic fluids are the key factors in the decision against or for a c-section. … Well, and knowing which day of pregnancy mom is, but running out of amniotic fluids and a decreasing heatrate usually go hand in hand with going over term.

We got 5 puppies, all of them alive. 2 girls and 4 boys and no cleft palates.

Unfortunately that’s about as far as the good news go. All 5 puppies are unusually small and underdeveloped for the amount of amniotic fluids mom had. So either mom didn’t produce enough fluids or the puppies didn’t develop properly. They definately look slightly preterm, would’ve needed about a week or so more, but probably wouldn’t have made it that long inside of mom.

Furthermore 2 of the puppies (both girls) have defects. One has a crooked front leg. The other one has a crooked hind led and is missing her eyelids on the left. Like I said: all of the are alive, all of them started breathing on their own properly after waking up from anesthesia, BUT if they’ll actually make it… nobody knows.

It’s actually quite interesting both puppies from the left side of the uterus where noticably bigger and stronger than all 3 puppies on the right side. Both deformed puppies are the smallest of the bunch, but not neccessarily the slowest – the one with intact eyes was actually very much moving around while she was still at out clinic, more so than two of her siblings. The big boy might have the best chances of survival: he seems to be the furtherst developed, is the largest and has no deformities.

If mom accepts the puppies chances of survival are going to increase, but it’s very uncerain if at least some of them will make it. We don’t know what exactly went wrong, but it’s pretty save to say something definately went wrong during development. You see defects every once in a while, but having 2 out of 5 puppies with deformities is actually quite a lot and keep in mind all them were more or less underdeveloped for their estimated age and stage of progression.

C-sections are usually our preferred type of operation, because it’s a wonderful feeling to bring life into the world. I assisted this operation, I gave them their first injection to wake them up from anesthesia (since mom is sleeping from the drugs, the babies inside her are obviously sleeping as well and need to be woken up, too) and I saw them taking their first breath, rubbed them awake and felt their very first kicks not even minutes old. It’s very heartbreaking seeing one deformed puppy after the other, but all we can do is take them as they come and do out best to help them survive.

You always remember the babies you helped to bring into the world. We have some dogs visiting our clinic that were born via c-section years ago in our operating room and you can’t help but smile when you remember that you saw them the very second they were born, that you were part of the reason they were able to live in the first place.

C-sections are not common practice and should never be, but every birth is special.

Welpen

About half an hour after birth. All of them alive. Left to right: boy, boy, girl, boy, girl. The one at the far left is the strongest. The one in the middle is missing her eyelids on the left. Her crooked hint leg is hidden by her siblings. The one on the far right has a crooked front left leg.

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Disagreement (graphic! I guess…?)

So, today was my first day back at work after a 3 days leave and I happend to have a little bit of a disagreement with one of our patients.

Mind you, I work at a small animal practice and said patient was a cat. Cats are basically the most dangerous animal that you can find in a small animal practice and you’re going to find out why. Don’t worry, though, the scratches don’t hurt, the cat was not hurt and I could’ve definately ended up much much worse.

The worst thing that can happen in a small animal practice, is getting bitten by a cat. Dogs? Nah. A cat bite? OH SHIT! The reason is the canine (yes, cats have canine teeth) in cats are so sharp, when they bite the tooth is pressed in deep and when it comes out, the wound closes almost immediately, because it’s only a very small wound. The tooth however brought gems into the wound and those gems are having the time of their life now infecting your hand. It’s crutial to get antibiotics and proper treatment ASAP, or otherwise you’re in serious danger of loosing a finger. Or two. Or a hand. Untreated infected cat bites can send you into hospital, into severe pain, into huge abzesses and worst case into an amputation.

That being said, if there’s one thing we try to avoid, it’s getting bitten by a cat. After 3 + 1/2 years at our practice, I’ve never been bitte so far. Everything you’re going to see are scratches. Scratches are no big deal, they bleed a bit, they heal, everything’s chill. I just want to post this to show how dangerous my job can be. I love my job, I don’t mind uncooperative or grumpy patients, but it’s not the cute cuddly job people often expect.

I’m not injured that often either. I’m a careful person. It was just one of those days today. And that’s why I’m not a cat person.

Btw, I have a skin condition, that’s why I have a lot of small wounds and scars on my arms. Don’t worry about those, they have nothing to do with animals of any kind.

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Adopting a Dog in Germany

Shana1

our old girl in spring 2014

Ever since our old girl had to be humanely euthanized at the age of 16 in July of 2014, my father has been thinking about adopting another dog. As time went on, the thought became a serious wish and he started actively looking for dogs.

First off all, where can you buy/adopt a dog legally in Germany?

  1. you can buy a puppy from a breeder
  2. you can look into newspaper advertisements or the internet to get a dog from a private person who wants to / has to give the dog away
  3. you adopt a dog from the shelter
  4. you adopt a dog from one of the many animal rescue /helping organizations around

It’s actually forbidden by law to sell dogs on flea markets in Germany and if I remember correctly there’s exactly 1 pet store in the entire country, where you can buy puppies. Personally, I think the best way to go is to look for a dog in a shelter or adopt one from a trustworthy rescue organization (many may act out of good will, but it often lacks a professional execution).

I also understand why some people would rather have a puppy from a breeder, because that way you can check on the parents of your dog and the environment it’s been growing up in and basically you can be sure the dog has never really experienced anything bad and you get the characteristics you’re looking for in the specific breed you want to have. It’s the safest way to get a healthy normal dog, if you want to go to the trouble of finding a good greeder and spending a lot of money for a purebreed puppy.

sleepy girl

sleepy girl

I reason I prefer “second hand dogs”, is mainly because I respect the choice to buy a puppy from a breeder, but I want to give the older dogs sitting in shelters and foster homes a chance as well. They may come with a problem here and there and it takes them longer to get used to their new home and both of you need time to get to know eath other well, but it’ll work out eventually with rigth amount of patience and love.

So, my father read an advertisement on the internet and called the women who copuldn’t keep her 10-year-old Beagle anymore, but he was too late. After turning down 20 people who weren’t goof enough, she gave the dog to a shelter a week ago. My dad went to said  shelter and there was the Beagle.

You see, it’s not that easy to adopt a dog from a shelter. They usually have you come several times to go for a walk with the dog, so you two get to know each other. They will also have talks with you about your experience with dogs and what kind of environment you can provide them and if they feel you’re unfitting, no dog for you. They usually try very hard to find good people, but that’s not easy, especially for older dogs.

Most people look for young and healthy dogs, that leaves the old ones and those with medical issues harder to find a new home for. When my father went for a walk with said Beagle, two women spoke up to him. The first one complained that dog would be too old for her liking, but the second one was very happy for that old dog to have someone interested in taking him. Faith in humanity crushed and instantly rebuild, I guess.

The usual procedure is, after you’ve decided you want to have the dog and the shelter staff agrees with you, you get the dog on probation, so to speak. Usually it’s a few weeks and after that time, you call the shelter and tell them how’s it going. In an ideal situation, you tell them all is fine and you keep the dog. If not, you bring the dog back. Many shelters have you pay the adoption fee after this probation period, in case you keep the dog. The shelter my father wants to adopt said Beagle from, even brings the dog to your home, to see the future environment by themselves. I think that’s awesome.

It may sound troublesome to get a dog from a shelter, but I think it’s good everyone tries their hardest to find good owners for the dogs.