Pet Star of the month October 2019 – Dasha Calitz
Meet Dasha, a 5 year old Russian terrier and much loved furry family member of the Calitz family.
In June this year, Dasha was on heat. Herman and Sumarie made the decision to have her mated with and allow her to have at least one litter before sterilizing her. They were excited to experience puppy birth and whatever challenges goes hand in hand with it. After all, it is said that motherhood comes naturally. And who does not love puppies?
On the 17th of August, Dasha starting with nesting behaviour. It was obvious that the birthing process was about to happen. Dasha started getting contractions in the morning hours, with Herman and Sumare close by her side the entire time. Dasha struggled for a long time but could not get any puppies out and there was a green discharge visible.
Mr Calitz phoned our Clinic during the early hours of morning to speak to Sister Ann, who was on night duty with Dr Yolande, thus assisting with any emergencies. It was advised that Dasha be brought to the Clinic for an examination and radiographs to see how many pups she still had in utero and if they were in the correct position to be born naturally.
The radiographs confirmed that she still had 10 puppies inside of her. Dr Yolande did a vaginal exam and found one puppy already in the birth canal. The option of a C-section was discussed with the owners but it was decided to give Dasha some more time to try and give birth naturally. Dr Yolande gave an injection to further assist with contractions and sent Dasha home where she will be most comfortable to continue with the birthing process. The Calitz couple then knew exactly what to look out for and when to phone us again. They understood that if Dasha did not manage to get the puppies out soon, it would become an emergency and the puppies will need to be removed by a C-section. We regularly perform C-sections on especially small breed dogs.
Dasha went home with her owners, who still have not slept at all the entire night. In the next 3 hours, 3 puppies were born. At 7am Sunday morning, they brought Dasha back after one of the pups had unfortunately passed away. By this time Dasha had been in labour for hours already and the Calitz family did not want to risk any of the other babies’ lives. Dr Yolande advised that we surgically remove the pups by C-section. The owners also agreed to have her sterilized at the same time.
Dr Yolande, with the assistance of Dr Johan and Sister Marietjie who monitored the anaesthesia, went into theatre immediately whilst the other puppies were being bottle fed by Sister Cindy. Unfortunately another puppy was found dead in the birth canal.
After the C-section and recovery period, Dasha, her exhausted owners and the rest of the puppies went home with a tin of puppy milk as back-up. Dasha struggled as a new mom in the beginning. It took her some time to know how to lie so that her pups can suckle. She also didn’t seem to know how big she was and accidentally lay on one of her puppies, which also passed away. Another puppy was diagnosed with a serious birth defect and unfortunately had to be put to sleep. Sadly only 6 out of the 10 puppies were left.
With this experience, the Calitz couple shed many tears of sadness but also tears of joy. They can easily now warn other pet owners of the big responsibility that comes with allowing your pets to have a litter. It is also not always as easy or natural as people might think. Sometimes surgical invention and medical treatment is needed. Mrs Calitz also added that she did not realise how emotionally attached you get to these pups, even if they are only a part of the household for a few weeks. If you cannot deal with this heartache, lack of sleep or financially support the medical expenses that go hand in hand with breeding, we advise pet owners to sterilize their pets as soon as they are matured enough. It should also be kept in mind that there are cases where pet owners will be left with the responsibility of feeding and stimulating pups every 2-3 hours.
With this being said, we want to thank the Calitz family for their dedication towards Dasha. They stood by her side the entire time, asked for medical advice and intervention when needed and still give the puppies the best start in life. A house filled with love and care.
A week back, the 6 puppies came for their first vaccinations and deworming. What a heart-warming site it was to see these beautiful pups back at our Clinic. Strong, happy and healthy. Calitz family, we salute you for all that you have been through this past 2 months.