We never know what our day will bring at Brightwood Animal Hospital.
A few vaccination appointments, an allergy case; perhaps a dog who got into the garbage, or as we say, “committed a dietary indiscretion."
Last Thursday was different; it was the kind of day I became a veterinarian for. One of our clients, Donna Reece, of Ridge View Labradors called in the morning about Amstel, her champion Labrador Retriever who was due to whelp last Wednesday.
Amstel had been in labor for twelve hours and no puppies were born. I told the receptionist to ask her to come in immediately. Fifteen minutes later Donna called back while en route, Amstel had delivered one puppy in the car! Donna arrived shortly with the new mother and one chilly, but alive puppy.
We placed the puppy into the incubator and took Amstel to radiology for an x-ray to see how many more puppies there were. The radiograph showed five more, but she had stopped trying to deliver.
It had been a long night for her and she was tired. Now came the tricky part; wait and see if she will deliver more, or take her to surgery. We all agreed, if she were going to have them naturally, she would have done it by then.
The race was on and the team of technicians swung into action. Blood was drawn to check her chemistries; an intravenous catheter was placed to give fluids to support her cardiovascular system; an ultrasound was done to make sure the puppies were still alive. We had a chance, but time was critical!
At 10:10 a.m., Amstel received her pre-surgical pain medication. While waiting for the medication to take effect the technicians clipped her abdomen and prepped her for surgery.
At 10:30 a.m., she received a light dose of a short acting general anesthetic and was taken to surgery.
At 10:40 a.m., the first puppy was delivered via cesarean and handed off for resuscitation. The next four were delivered by 10:45.
Amstel was stable and doing well, but the puppies, who were born anesthetized, were not.
The technicians administered each one a stimulant to get them to breath and massaged them with warm towels. Slowly, each one began to squeal. We had done it, they were all going to make it!
At 11:00 a.m., three healthy boys and two healthy girls joined their sister in the incubator.
At noon, the puppies were reunited with their mother and they snuggled up for their first meal.
That afternoon, I watched them as they slept and I wondered what their future held. One may become a hunting dog for an Asian business mogul and it’s littermate a pet for a family in Mentor, either way, these guys have a lot of love to give.