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So you think you want to breed from your bitch?

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littlelab's picture
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Joined: 07.01.2006

Written by a very respected breeder and of Labradors who also shows and works her dogs;

I don't want to be angel of doom, but I have some seriously bad experiences under my belt basically because I've stood my own and other peoples dogs at stud for quite a number of years. Because of that you get to see and hear about many more problems than if you just breed your own litters now and then. Believe me breeding is in NO WAY all puppy cuddles and fairytale endings. These are all Labradors:

Just last year Deeds had a litter of 9 born to a nice couple in Southend on Sea. Easy mating, easy pregnancy, false sense of security. At the (easy) birth they lost two. Just could not get them going however hard they worked. Then over the next FOURTEEN days (so long enough to get seriously attached) they lost all but one bitch puppy who survived and was perfectly fine. The cause is unknown, some pups would drift off losing their suck reflex and then despite tube feeding every two hours, slip away. Other pups just dropped dead where they 'stood' with no warning at all. These people did not sleep, did not eat and cried buckets for 14 days of hell. The bitch was never in danger as there was obviously a mystery virus but to work so hard for each puppy for it to slip away one by one was devestating. The post mortem on the last two showed a unusual virus which basically affected the heart. However mum was healthy, dad was healthy and it could not have been predicted. This is not the first time I have heard of this problem in random lines so you cannot know where it will strike. Their vets bill is around £2500 at the moment.

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On the other hand we had one bitch a few years ago, again a stud litter, who about ten days before whelping gave up eating. Nothing would start her again. Her temperature remained normal. It was like the hormonal surges made her completely anorexic. She had no strength by her due date to whelp and had a C section for the 7 pups. She could not raise them so the breeders had to by hand up day and night, no way of going to work for either. They lost the bitch on day 7. They lost 3 of the 7 pups. The lady had only lost her son in a motorbike accident a few months before and it nearly saw her off.

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We had a nice bitch come for mating last year. Lovely lady, really nice, had good matings, only 48 hours apart. Bitch was scanned in whelp. Then I got a call about 10 days before her due date to ask if from some signs they told me about I thought she was in labour? I said she couldn't be but go down the vets incase. They did and the vet tried to halt the first stage labour - couldn't, she went home and whelped each puppy normally, but as each drew breath they fought for air and died within minutes in a very distressing manner fighting for breath as they were too premature and their lungs were not developed. They lost them all. They bitch was in a terrible terrible state, heavy with milk and went through a lot of pain physcially because of that. Because the hope was always that one might make it, the vet had to allow her to whelp naturally hence starting the natural process of milk production....

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We had a lady two years back have a litter of four. She desperately wanted to keep a dog puppy and there was only one but he was big and strong. day 3 she laid on one of the bitches and it died. So after that the breeder slept with them day and night. She got them through ten days, was exhausted but I told her she was out of the woods but just be cautious. She remained sleeping with them - then went to the loo one day for 5 minutes and came back and the dog puppy was under the bitch, laid on, dead.
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My own bitch Jade, so in experienced hands or so we like to think, had a litter last September, got into very bad whelping complications, delivered two dead puppies, went to the vets and had a long and complicated emergency C Section just to deliver another dead puppy, and, thankfully two live. Of carrying 7 pups only 3 survived, one dying the next night screaming his way out of the world in terrible distress. This flipped an already sensitive and stressed Jade out and she rejected the puppies for a couple of days and went into a kind of hysteria that was only calmed with heavy doses of Valium from the vet. She will now be spayed. The total WHELPING bill was £1750. She took many weeks to truely recover from it, so much so we will delay spaying her a season or two to recover properly internally and hormonally.

I can go on.... seriously.... never think its all about health and happiness because seriously, it rarely is. Just from the fact your bitch may not be a willing bitch to mate you could be distressed from the point where you have to hold her down and she screams and yells not to be mated, through to the point where she may reject the whole litter, have no milk, have no maternal drive, produce deformed pups, pups with physcial deformities that you have to put to sleep.... etc etc....

Di

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Natalie

Jack, Maia, Molly, Lillith and Angel the cat