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Strange Heats and other breeding problems


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My dog, Bell, who has had several litters without any problems, was moved to our Kennel about a month before she was due to come into heat. She is a very nervous and shy dog, though she works well, due to the fact that her first owner after she was imported from Ireland abused her. She was quite nervous after the transfer and missed her heat that was due. About two months later, however, she was very willing to take a dog and was bred. We had been closely watching for a heat, but decided that we had just missed detecting the early part of the heat.

She was bred to the previous stud dog. On the date she was due, she had failed to "fill out" and had no milk, so we took her to the vet. He detected that she had ONE LARGE PUPPY inside her and said that she would require a C section. He examined her ovaries etc. and said they were fine. He said not to breed her back for a year.

Not long after the pup was born and foster raised, she came into a "two day heat" where she would have taken a dog but we kept her from breeding. Then right on time, six months after the birth of the single pup, she came into a "regular heat" and was not bred. Then the last of October, she came into a regular heat and the vet says she has at least five pups in there and shouldn't have any problems. She is due January 1. Has anyone else had a problem with dogs like this?

Bell is quite valuable as a brood bitch and all her pups are superior working dogs, I sure don't want to have to spay her and take her out of the gene pool unless I have to. None of her daughters have had any problem, and she hadn't prior to the upsetting move.

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Regarding the C-section....Years ago I had a Golden Retriever bitch that had a singleton pup by C-Section (first time bred, and found out after the fact that the stud dog had gone 99% infertile). Over her career, she produced two subsequent normal, healthy - but smallish size- litters of 6 and 7 pups (her line of dogs normally has 8-12 per litter). Her last litter was more difficult, with more time between pups and seemed more exhausting for her. I then had her spayed at age 7. The vet said it was an extremely difficult spay because she had developed lots of adhesions between her uterus, bowel and connective tissue - from the original C-section surgery 5 years earlier. My vet was surprised that she had even been able to produce the number of pups she had, because of the condition of her uterus. So just keep that in mind, that once there has been a uterine surgery, there's always possibility for there to be complications related to it, even years down the road. By the way, this bitch went on to live a happy active life to age 14 1/2, but if the spay hadn't been performed, she may have developed internal problems because of the original C-Section. So, I would definitely recommend spaying your girl once her breeding career is through.

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How old is Bell? That may have something to do with her fertility... it tends to decline in females aobut 6 years old, and males about 8 (though it's not like an on/off switch... they don't lose fertility overnight or anything, it just starts its decline in that age range.)


In the case of the singleton pup, it could be something in the bitch, something in the male, or something in the environment. It sort of sounds like she might have had a split heat or had a silent early heat, and you just managed to catch the tail end of it, resulting in a single pup. It's also possible that she either had a supressed ovulation (fewer eggs released) due to stress, failed to implant all of the fertilised embryos, OR that she resorbed some implanted embryos due to stress or other temporary conditions. The previous C-section MAY (as Laurie noted) cause increased difficulty in subsequent pregnancies, or it may not. You just want to watch her during her whelp and get help if needed. You know how many pups are there, so if she can't get them all out, seek medical care.


Bear in mind that even a proven sire may have a temporary failure of sperm production that might affect fertility for a period of time. It takes 6 months to produce a mature sperm cell, so if something happened to impair production 6 months prior to the breedings, you could have poor or even no fertility for a segment of time. It's kind of like an assembly line. If something at the front of the line breaks down, even if everyone "downstream" of them is working fine, there will be a space when nothing comes off the conveyor belt. Once the "upstream" problem is fixed and items start moving down the line, eventually production will resume and you'll again get finished "product" coming off the conveyor belt.


There are some remarks concerning breeding and so on in the "any problem with breeding 2 lilacs" thread in this section of the forum, as well, as a BTW.

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