Saturday, August 20, 2011

How many Puppies?-7

Animal Anecdote 7.

A word about the Davis Tucks, the owners of the Silvermine Kennels were as trustworthy as can be with their reputation of breeding and showing the finest of the finest English Setters in our country. I start this anecdote about the owners because there may be those who wonder about the validity of my observation. They presented a beautiful 3 year old Champion English Setter bitch with a problem. She had not been in heat for breeding for over a year. I tried many published treatments and nothing had worked. Finally I suggested an exploratory operation and if nothing else could be done I would spay her and she could become someones pet. The surgery was agreed on.

The surgery answered the cause of her problem but never had I seen or heard of the situation. The uterus of dogs is “Y” shaped in which the puppies develop and this female had an infection called pyometra meaning pus in the uterus, not unusual in dogs but in this case only one horn of the uterus was involved. That horn was full of pus as if she were pregnant in that one horn only. I tied off the infected horn and removed it and the ovary on that side and she was discharged the following day. Her recovery was uneventful and in 2 weeks by phone I was told she was in full heat. I suggested they wait for the next heat but she was bred anyway and to one of the Silvermine Champions. At 18 days she was presented for an evaluation and I was able to palpate pregnancy. The Tucks then told me that friends in England wanted to purchase her.

Were ethics involved? The English knew all about the case and still offered considerable sum for this young American Champion. I gave the necessary health certificate and she was to leave by plane in a few days. All went well and she was confined for 6 months by English law in quarantine where she had 12 normal puppies. Half a uterus and 12 puppies? All did well but the question arose, if she had had a whole uterus would she have had 24 puppies? Who knows but here is an interesting question for research to answer. What determines the number of offspring any mammal has?

Next time about a Jonny Harvard and another.

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