Macey's birthing difficulties

Macey is a 3 year old Bull Mastiff x Staffordshire Bull Terrier. Her owners were so in love with her beautiful nature that they decided to breed her to continue her line for another generation. She was mated with a relative’s dog and her pregnancy appeared to be going well. Her owners kept a watchful eye over her when her time came to give birth.

A happy Macey

Macey gave birth to 4 puppies naturally, but then began to show signs that she was struggling. Over an hour had passed and Macey was still straining but no more puppies had been born. Macey’s owners decided it was time to take her to the vet.

When they arrived at Reservoir Vet Clinic it had been nearly 3 hours since the last puppy was passed. Macey was still straining and was getting very tired. Dr Andrea examined her and could feel a puppy stuck in her pelvic canal. It was determined that Macey would need an emergency caesarean section to remove the remaining puppies and to save her life. The veterinary team got ready right way, preparing the surgical equipment needed while Dr Andrea prepared Macey for the surgery by giving her pain-relieving and anaesthetic medications. Once under anaesthetic, Nurse Sommer monitored Macey’s vital signs while Nurse Dee assisted the vet with equipment.

Dr Andrea surgically opened Macey’s abdomen and began to remove the puppies. As they were removed they were passed to Dr Lan, Nurse Dee and Nurse Sharyn for care. During a normal birth, the puppies are stimulated to breath and move by the pressure experienced in the birth canal, as well as by their mother licking and cleaning them. We had to simulate this by stimulating the puppies by rubbing them roughly with clean towels. This can take some time but it is always rewarding when a still, quiet puppy suddenly gasps and cries out for mum.

Macey's seven big puppies!

While the team members took care of the puppies, Dr Andrea and Nurse Sommer focussed on mum Macey. Her surgery was completed as quickly as possible to minimise her risk of infection and anaesthetic side-effects.

Five puppies were removed from Macey during the procedure but unfortunately only three survived. This is common when a dog experiences birthing difficulties. All of the seven surviving babies were hand fed with special milk formula for the next few hours until Macey was recovered enough to be reintroduced to her babies.

Macey and her babies went home and have been happy and healthy since. Dr Andrea recommended Macey be given calcium supplements as seven large puppies are a lot to feed! Macey has been a very natural and gentle mum, and despite her ordeal, is still happy to see us when she comes in for check ups. Her owners plan to keep one puppy and rehome the others. They do not plan to breed from her again.

Learn more about dog pregnancy and birth issues under "Reproduction and Breeding" in our Pet Library.