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tesslc

Help! My Stafford Is Pregnant

264 posts in this topic

tesslc   

Hi all

I am a newbie to this forum (although I have used DOL frequently in the past; both the forums and puppy listings).

I am the proud owner of two Staffordshire Bull Terriers; a three year old entire male and an 11 mth old entire female. We made the decision to keep our boy entire (he doesn't wander) and spay our girl. Our vet advised to let her have her first heat to ensure everything was ok. Unfortunately, she busted out our front door while I was in the shower and when I came out, I found them tied together.

I contacted our vet and they advised there was a needle they could give her, but there were some not-so-good side effects and it was only about 50% effective (so if she was pregnant and it didn't work, we wouldn't know). The vet nurse also advised it was too early to tell and basically 'wait and see'. Our girl started showing signs of pregnancy, so we took her back. The vet couldn't feel anything, despite her having very pronounced teats, and suggested it may be a phantom pregnancy. The x-ray equipment wasn't working so they asked us to come back in a week.

We took our girl back today, and it turns out she is pregnant. The x-ray still isn't working, but the vet could feel at least two puppies. Our vet was also concerned at the possible risks to spay her this late in the pregnancy (a different vet to the one who advised to wait before we had her spayed; this vet suggested we should have had her spayed after six months).

My girl is just that, my baby girl. Given the discussion I had with the vet today, I'm not comfortable with spaying her (and her having an abortion) this late in the pregnancy. By the same token, I am very concerned about having puppies; this is not something we had planned and have little experience with. I know these questions are going to be asked, so I will answer them now:

We are not registered breeders. I have looked at our Canine Council's website tonight and it indicates we won't be able to do so in time (two months to register the prefix). Given we plan to spay our girl before her next heat, I'm not sure whether we should start the registration process anyway, but will be calling the Council tomorrow to discuss.

Both our Staffords meet the breed standard - prior to falling pregnant, our girl was 15kg and our boy 17kg (obviously this is only the tip of the iceberg but I have read and re-read the standard and am confident our dogs meet it). Both have tested clear for L-2HGA and hereditary cataracts.

I know this situation is not ideal; it is far from it. Even after reading A LOT of information online, both Stafford specific and otherwise, and a lengthy discussion with my vet, I am feeling unsure about how to approach this situation. I want my girl to come through this safely (and obviously the puppies as well, but my main concern is for my girl). We are going to organise the whelping box tomorrow and stock up on all the necessary bits and pieces. Based on the vet's calculations, it appears she should be due Thursday next week. Any helpful hints would be great (and I will accept the lectures that I know are going tome come).

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There's risk in everything - keeping your dogs undesexed is a risk of an "oops" litter which is what has happened here. Not trying to end the pregnancy but allowing it to go on also poses a risk to the dog's health.

If it had been me, I would have taken the injection to give an early chance of stopping the pregnancy and if that hadn't worked, I'd have aborted the puppies early on - as a rescuer, this is my preferred option with rescued dogs however sometimes it is just too late.

It's too late now so read up on the internet how to manage puppies -it's a lot of hard work and you need to monitor the mother very carefully as well as the puppies, there'll be vet costs and so on to meet.

Once the puppies are old enough, please get them desexed before rehoming them so this situation can't be repeated. Rehoming them will also be challenging - finding owners who are responsible and committed.

Staffords and crosses thereof are massively over-represented in the pounds so now that you've bred them, I believe your responsibility extends to the point where you might need to take puppy(ies) back in a few months or at some point in the future.

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tesslc   

Thank you for your response. I am going to speak my vet about de-sexing them before re-homing them. I agree, I think its a good idea. I wish we had our girl de-sexed earlier and gotten a second opinion. I will also be making it a condition that any new owners will return their dog to us if they have any problems etc for us to re-home or keep. We have a strict two dog policy in our council area but I will be contacting them tomorrow to find out about getting extra licences for the puppies and any dogs we can't re-home or have to take back.

I also want to know what the usual process is for interviewing and doing home visits of potential owners for our puppies. I want to be sure they are going to good homes, but don't want be overbearing etc.

Thanks

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You're going to need all the help you can get.

Sandra 777 and other Stafford breeders are your best sources of advice but if they give it, be very grateful. BYB Staffords are legion.

Reading threads here has taught me that Stafford bitches can be aggressive towards their pups if calcium levels aren't right. Do your homework.

I hope your girl is sufficiently developed to whelp this litter naturally. If not, I hope your credit card has a big empty balance.

You really should have gone for the injection. Shame you didn't post here when you found them tied.

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Why can't you just spey her earlier? That way it takes care of the pregnancy and speying. I've seen quite a few late pregnancy speys (a couple of days before due date) and everything went fine. of course there is risk but there is risk with any surgery.

Edited by mixeduppup

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Why can't you just spey her earlier? That way it takes care of the pregnancy and speying. I've seen quite a few late pregnancy speys (a couple of days before due date) and everything went fine. of course there is risk but there is risk with any surgery.

Less of a risk with a young and fit dog, really far better than bringing more puppies into the world.

If she needs a Caesar then that will be more risk and very costly to you in vet bills.

I've had a few emergency desexings of older dogs (think 8+ yrs, including a 12 and 14 yr old) and they've all been OK.

Edited by Her Majesty Dogmad

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Why can't you just spey her earlier? That way it takes care of the pregnancy and speying. I've seen quite a few late pregnancy speys (a couple of days before due date) and everything went fine. of course there is risk but there is risk with any surgery.

Less of a risk with a young and fit dog, really far better than bringing more puppies into the world.

Yup.

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tesslc   

Hi all

Thanks for your replies. I agree; I am going to need all the help I can get. Please don't think I am taking this lightly! Any advice is really, really appreciated!

I am wishing I went for the injection now. As I mentioned, the vet wasn't in favour of it as an option (like not getting our girl spayed prior to the first heat). Again, the risks were explained to me, and, on the balance of things, the vet wasn't in favour. Having spoken to my current vet, I am thinking I probably should've gotten a second opinion.

I don't want to get her spayed now, simply because of the risks. I am prepared to do what it takes to have the puppies, care for them, pay the bills and re-home them to GOOD homes. As I said, I know its not ideal, but the vet explained, in a lot of detail, the risks of having her spayed now versus having the puppies, and the risks of spaying outweigh the risks (plus time, responsibility and cost) of having the puppies. Like I said, this is my baby girl, and I don't want to run that risk.

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cavNrott   

May I ask why you didn't have her spayed right after you saw the dogs had tied?

Were you keeping your male out in the front yard while the girl was in season?

You didn't mention how far along she is now but if this was my female puppy I would be spaying her immediately.

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tesslc   

We were rotating the boy and girl through a box, but in the mornings (while we were getting ready for work) one was inside and the other outside, to give them some time outside of the box before we went to work. The girl busted through the front door (not an easy task, given it's a security door).

I contacted my vet (ie the first vet) straight away but was told it was too early, wait and see, etc. Then that the injection was risky.

Kelpiecuddles - you said what I am now thinking. My current vet is really, really annoyed with the initial advice we got (as am I).

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mfch   

You know what, I would seriously consider spaying now. Yes there's a risk with any surgery, but if you're honest with yourself I bet you're more unhappy at the prospect of euthanising unborn puppies. I understand that so very well, but I think if you try to be as unselfish as possible you might see it's the right thing- for your dog, for the BYB staffies and for the world. You got your girl into this situation, I think you have to at least consider this option, as horrible as it is.

Early last year I found an emaciated pregnant kitten in an alleyway. I scooped her up and after calling rescues who weren't interested or told me they'd just euthanise her, I took her home and to the vet. The vet told me there were about six kittens due within the week and that they would abort if I wanted. I went home and thought no way would I abort kittens at that stage, but then I began to talk to people who were knowledgeable and impartial (a few vet nurse friends and people experienced in rescue) and they told me to look at it objectively. I could have these kittens, risk my 7 month old cat to the labor, risk her as I struggled to put weight on her struggling to feed kittens, I didn't know her FIV status, I could risk rehoming the kittens and if even one of them didn't get desexed I'd restart the cycle again and I'd be responsible for it, i could desex them and rehome them but I would be adding to the oversupply of kittens and taking homes from others. No rescues wanted the kittens, it was kitten season. I cried a lot and I made the call and had my girl speyed and the kittens removed from her uterus and euthanised.

I still struggle to look at kittens. I'm an animal lover, I hate I made that call, and I was the only person who made that call. But it was the right thing to do. The immature and starving cat thought so, she is now a beautiful fat girl purring on the end of my bed, and the wider society which did not in any way need more cats also thought so.

You don't have to do that, you can have your puppies and I don't think anyone could possibly judge you for the decision not to do it, but really do think about it. It might not be the worst thing for your dog, for you or for all the BYB staffies already out there in less than fabulous homes and in pounds.

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Make sure you book at least the first week off work and consider boarding your male dog for a while as you are unable to separate them.

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frufru   

Since you are bringing these pups into the world you need to be responsible and desex them before they go to their new homes - as someone else posted staffies and their crosses are way over represented in pounds. If your vet doesn't want to do it - find one that will!! You have had first hand experience of the difficulties of having entire animals - don't let the same thing happen to these babies

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She's due next week, that's super late term termination.

Do your research, let her have the pups, spay her ASAP after that and I agree, desex the pups before you rehome them.

It won't be a popular view but plenty of unplanned, unregistered puppies are born every day and it isn't the end of the world. Just do not let it happen again!

ETA - contact RSPCA QLD if you can't find a vet that will early desex puppies, they should be able to refer you to someone.

ETA also - read through the Breeders Forum on here, lots of helpful info :)

Edited by Simply Grand

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cavNrott   

The OP said due Thursday next week.

Personally I feel like slapping the first vet...

Oh I must have missed it when the OP posted the puppy's due date. I doubt I would spay and abort at this very late stage.

Kelpiecuddles I share your feelings about the first vet. I don't understand why there was even a discussion about an injection. I would have spayed her without further discussion.

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Alizin can be given up to 45 days in whelp. It is two injections 24 hours apart. Like any meds, there are potential side effects. Two common ones is the bitch comes straight back into season, or comes in early. If you are a breeder she may not fall pregnant on her next season. I have used Allizin without issue before.

Generally you cannot tell a bitch is pregnant until about at least 28 days. Most vets will do an ultrasound around 31-35 days. Still plenty of time to give Allizin at that point. I would not be waiting until the 45th day to do it - as bigger the pups get, the greater the risks to the bitch.

Speying while pregnant/in season is much greater risk surgery than a bitch who is not either. The blood vessels are more dilate and there is a greater risk of bleeding. I know some vets who also will not spey on a C-sect because of the same risk and also because the bitch has been under GA for a time (depending on complications) already and they want to get her awake as soon as possible. If it is an easy C-section - some vets are happy to perform a spey while the bitch is under. I had that done to one of my breeding bitches and all ok.

Staffords can be prone to C-sections if you listen to some experienced in that breed. So budget on anything from $1000 - $2000 depending on complications/vet/time of day or night (although when I have had C-sects done it has been around the $1200 mark). I would have some one experienced on hand once she has the temp drop to call on as if you leave it too long you risk the life of the bitch and the pups. In saying this - she can whelp with no problems at all.

Personally - I would have desexed the bitch at 6 months. The first season thing is a personal preference and some think it an old wives tail that a bitch needs to have a litter first "to settle down". Having owned early desexed and mature breeding bitches, I have found the whole let her have a season/litter a bit of a fallacy and think it an old wives tail.

As for becoming registered for this litter - you have to be a registered breeder at the time of the mating - not when the pups were born. So you cannot backdate the litter unless you lie about when the litter was born. The best you could do is transfer her (and possibly your boy too) into a breeder's name/prefix and try to backdate the paperwork to before the mating. If you are a CCC member, you will not need to transfer the boy - only the girl. So maybe her breeder will help here. The bitch owner/breeder needs to have a prefix - not the dog owner (only needs to be a member of a canine body).

ETA: I missed the first bit about her being due next week. AWL at Ipswich does early desexing

Edited by Mystiqview

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tesslc   

Hi Mfch - thanks for the advice. I will consider it, but I really am concerned about the health of my girl. Even if they could do it Friday, its within a week of her 'due' date, and the vet explained that, not only does the risk related to the anaesthetic increase, and the risk of excessive bleeding, but also the hormonal changes/imbalances which our girl may experience after the surgery. I understand that the pups would need to be euthanized, and as sad as that is (it breaks my hear to think about it), if it was in my girl's best interest, I would take them up on that option. I don't want to be a BYB; I hate the thought of re-homing puppies to people who may not care for them properly, or give them up for adoption.

I really am genuinely concerned for my dog's health. I simply can't bear the thought of putting her at that risk; yes, there is a risk of her having a caesarean, but my understanding is that risk is quite a bit lower compared to the risk of her being spayed now. Please correct me if this isn't correct/your understanding.

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cavNrott   

When she was due was my question to. Evidently she's due Thursday next week it's so too late for Alizin.

Hopefully this 11 month old puppy won't need a C section.

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tesslc   

Wow - replies coming thick and fast. Yep she's pretty well too late for anything. My vet did give me the option to spay/terminate now, but I could tell she wasn't keen and, as I said, I don't want to take the risk.

I will definitely be having the pups spayed before re-homing - that's non-negotiable. Knowing what I now know, its not worth running the risk for them to have a first season, when it may not be beneficial at all.

Thanks for the tip re RSPCA; I haven't spoken with my vet about that yet, but it's on my list of things to ask tomorrow (my poor vet, she's going to be bombarded).

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