Birthing and Pregnancy Behavior Issues

So as Sharron pointed out in another thread .

@sharronhurlbut:

I would be very interested to hear from the professional breeders how often this type of thing happens.
I do know it happens in puppymills…but in family homes? I would like to know if this is something to expect with birthing basenji pups.

I think this is an interesting point. And I am wondering if some of the breeders we have her on the forum would be willing to offer their insight.

I am curious what kind of behavior/actions problems you have encountered during pregnancy and labor with your bitches?
We talk allot on this forum about behavior changes during estrus, but I do not remember seeing a thread talking about these issues breeders may have with the labor.

I thank you all in advance for any insight you may have. My parents never bred Bs. And I have never seen a Basenji give birth, but I know it must be a far different experience from Golden Retrievers giving birth.

Thank you for getting this into a section it belongs.

I have pretty limited experience. Rally whelped her first litter with no real problems. She did bite one cord quite close but we were able to stop the bleeding with direct pressure. First time mothers can be a little fussy with the pups and it is important to watch them to make sure there aren't any problems. Her second litter required a c-section because of a stuck puppy. It is really important to know what to expect and know when to get to the vet.

As for mothers killing pups, that can sometimes be caused by a chemical imbalance, just like post partum depression in human women. Again, first time mothers especially if they are older can be very confused and may accidently injure puppies fussing with them.

What gave you the clue to get her to the vet for a c section?
Was it straining or lack of puppy when you knew there were more coming.
this is new to me and I want to learn what you all have to teach.

In my experiences with whelping…. "Knock on wood" I have not had but one real problem and that was one of Fatia's pup... Maggii was the first of mine to have a litter... she had one and freaked... ran around the entire house screaming... while Ted and I sat on the floor with this pup.... we did the clean up, making sure the airways were clear and that the pup was breathing OK... rubbing briskly with a towel to dry and encourage breathing and movement... finally she decided to come and see what it was.... The cord broke on its own and requried no attention... she settled in with the one pup... it was 4 hours till she decided to have the rest... 1 every 1/2 hr... until we reached 6... (That was what made me decide to have x-rays done within 2 to 4 days of whelping dates, then you know how many to expect and know when they are done)...

I have not had a bitch that didn't break/bite the cord on their own, nor (thankfully) have I had one bite to close... however I do keep a close eye on them... and as the contractions start for the next delivery, I remove the pups to a save basket with a heating pad...

And as lvoss pointed out..it is important to be able to read the signs and know when to gather them up and go to the Vet... sometimes for nothing... but better safe then sorry...

As far as killing them... I have seen and heard of it... it happens more then most people would like to admit... (in my opinion)... and one of the most important time is during and the next 24 to 36 hours and to take Mom and the litter to the vet to be checked out... things like a cleft in a pup is certain death and that pup needs to be PTS immediately...

My only experience with an abnormal pup was Fatia's litter... when we xrayed her looked like 4 and the Vet made a comment of maybe 4 and 1/2.... while we laughed then... 4 hrs after she whelped the first 4 in the litter.. and we all settled in for a nice nap... I heard the tell tale signs of labor... the 5th pup was born with an exposed skull.. as in the head was not fully formed.. while the pups was born alive... he did not live long... I was thankful that she had four other pups to take care of, so that I could deal with this deformed pup... and trust me.. it was not easy.....

So while all you might think having pups is fun... It is... but there is much heartbreak when you put your heart and soul into a litter.. and have things happen like I did or lvoss with the pup that died after being stuck in the birth canal....

Pat, I can only imagine how heart wrenching it must be to put your time and love into a litter and have pups that don't make it. Yet another reason not to enter into breeding lightly.
I am wondering, Lisa talked about chemical imbalances in mothers as well as problems with older Bitches becoming mothers for the first time.
What are peoples experienced, if any with behavioral/mental issues with pregnancy? Perhaps even if you have been lucky enough not to experience these issues you know other breeders that have.
Also I was wondering what you all would consider an "older mother" for a first time litter.

First to answer Sharron's question about the C-section. It was the first pup that got stuck. The signs of trouble were hard contractions and straining and no visible puppy. We got her UC Davis Emergency at 3am and they x-rayed and tried to adjust position and couldn't. They did an ultrasound and could tell the stuck pup was in distress and could only find 2 other heartbeats so at that point we thought we had already lost 1 and would probably lose another. They called in their surgical team and we did lose the 1 that was stuck, he was born alive but it had been just too much stress. Luckily we didn't lose a second, it was just hiding from the ultrasound.

We were also lucky, UC Davis was very careful to make sure that Rally came round with her puppies there so she knew they were hers, they also didn't do a spay at the time of the C-section so there was no sudden drop in hormones. I do know of other people whose vets did not do these things and the mothers rejected the pups.

As for chemical imbalances, I do know that I read about eclampsia, calcium deficiency after whelping, being linked to some bitches killing their pups. These are things I have read about and not experienced.

Thank you for sharing Lisa. What a tough situation to go through with a beloved dog and her babies.
I will look up what information I can find on calcium deficiency to better some of my understanding of these issues. I am so glad that we have a space where we can share our knowledge. It is a wonderful thing that I continue to learn more and more each day about these wonderful beasts. 🙂

@lvoss:

I have pretty limited experience. Rally whelped her first litter with no real problems. She did bite one cord quite close but we were able to stop the bleeding with direct pressure. First time mothers can be a little fussy with the pups and it is important to watch them to make sure there aren't any problems. Her second litter required a c-section because of a stuck puppy. It is really important to know what to expect and know when to get to the vet.

As for mothers killing pups, that can sometimes be caused by a chemical imbalance, just like post partum depression in human women. Again, first time mothers especially if they are older can be very confused and may accidently injure puppies fussing with them.

I was in the delivery room on three separate occasions to witness the birth of all of my children. While dogs are not people, there is some pain associated in both situations.

I remember the birth of my first child where just before giving birth, my wife grabbed me by the tie I was wearing at the time, pulled me down to her face, looked me in the eye, and said "Don't you ever get me pregnant again!"

While I have never had a dog that attempted to kill her puppies while giving birth, I know that Miranda is aware of it.

My only thought in regard to this behavior is that it may be quite possible that because of the pain from birthing the pup, that a bitch might just be trying to remove the cause of the pain and protect herself. While I am most likely incorrect, I can see where this might be a strong possibility.

Jason

I think with first time mothers there is definitely some confusion and pain is probably a contributing factor in an older bitch that has not whelped a litter before because things are not as elastic as in a younger bitch. Mostly though in those cases they do not "attack" the puppy, they tend to become overly obsessed with a task, like removing the cord or washing the pup. From what Robyn described when Nicky was born his dam did that to him, just kept picking at his umbilical cord, so she had to take him away from her until the other pups were born.

I agree with lvoss… with a first time Mom.. you do need to be careful that they do not just "pick" at the umbilical cord site... it is a pretty natural reaction to "clean".. and some bitches are excessive in "cleaning" to the point of keeping the pups totally wet with licking them...

As far as ComicDom1's remark about being pulled down by the tie.. and screamed at... ggg... I can tell you that when Fatia whelped.. her first pup... she looked my straight in the eye and screamed bloody murder.... and the translation would have been something that I would not have wanted to hear...

As far as behavior when first bred and through being preggers... you know really it is quite normal... very few will have morning sickness... and usually other then their hunger... it is not much different then when not in whelp... at least not in my experience. Sometimes they might get more clingy... or aloof... but more behaviors don't change...

Rally was always much more intense about anything that could relate to food. That also includes prey drive and hunting. She also didn't want the cat in "her" room.

This is all good info for us who have not had pg females or done any breeding.
Thanks for sharing this with us.

I have a personal close friend who lost a litter this spring when the bitch ate the entire litter in about 10 min after having them. It DOES happen, and, yes, probably more frequently than anyone will admit. I did write up a few pieces, in stages, on the whole process of selecting a stud, breeding, pregnancy, whelping and now will come the after care for the BCOA Newsletter. There are a lot of people out there who think you can just have a litter without any forthought. I also know of one person whose pup had an imperforate anus (no bumhole). So, as Pat and Lisa state, this is not all fun and games, but sometimes really hard choices to be made.

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