Great Dane Words of Wisdom

Vetting your Veterinarian

Having lived with canines, felines and equines since infancy, have associated with numerous Veterinarians in my lifetime. Advancements in Scientific Research/analysis/medications, has greatly enhanced their diagnostic, surgical and medical skills. As in all Professions, mistakes are made, (see below), and one should be aware of the possibilities.

When whelping a litter, the bitch first rips the sac off the head, licks to stimulate the puppy until the lungs inflate. THEN gnaws the umbilical cord. Her first instinct is to stimulate the circulation while the cord is still attached, thus allowing extra time for the final oxygen, blood - hemoglobin and stem cells to transfer from her body to the puppy. Recently, I read an article indicating many breeders do not give the dam a chance to perform her whelping duties. Fearing loss of puppies, they take the whelp as it emerges, rip off the sac, cut the cord, sling it overhead to stimulate, clear lungs, dry it off and place it on a nipple!

I sent this article to a veterinarian friend, this was the response:

“About a year ago, I changed the way I did c-sections. I was taught to open the uterus, rip open the sac, pull the pup out, clamp and cut the cord, then pass the puppy to a tech to wake up. A year ago, I went to a Breeder Vet. Conference, and this came up. They found that handing the pup to the tech with the whole placenta, cord not cut, increased the survival and that last bit of transfer of blood and oxygen. (Besides that, preoxygenating Mom, putting mask on Mom with just oxygen for 5-10 mins. Prior to c-section, also gives the pups a big shot of oxygen and fills “the placenta with oxygen. These things increase pup survival and waking up the pups greatly).”

“Mother does knows best”! On the occasions when a bitch needs some assistance, Breeders should follow her example.

Have assisted with emergency c-sections, and been handed whelps, minus the sac, to be stimulated. Experienced one c-section when a whelp left behind, was born dead next day. Another instance, the Veterinarian left the placentas attached to the uterus. All 7 puppies succumbed. Asked later why not remove the placentas, the answer -“Because it could cause bleeding within the uterus”.

Danes are sensitive, loving creatures. Ofttimes, Veterinarian having exhausted their scientific skills, want to keep them “for monitoring”. IT IS A JUDGEMENT CALL, but, often a Dane’s recovery will be best attained at home, once they are stabilized, especially after surgery. Surrounded by TLC, with people they love, avoids the mental trauma many Danes experience when left to recover in noisy, unfamiliar surroundings, with strangers. Some Danes do not survive this final “treatment”. My Danes are “family”. In 43 years, I have left 3 Danes to be “monitored” - none survived.

A close relationship with your Veterinarian is essential. They are human and make mistakes. Ask questions relative to diagnostic tests, medications prescribed, et al. Veterinarians seldom give credence to a Breeder’s superior knowledge of their Breed’s idiosyncracies, most are very scientifically technical when applying their skills. Remember, as Breeder, you are responsible, from womb to tomb, for any puppies you breed. Your Veterinary can only assist your efforts as best he/she knows how.

Mrs. Paddy Magnuson,
POB 292 Delhi NY 13753

(Reproduced with permission)