First in a series
Boxers in the Night
Who doesn’t love newborn puppies? Veterinarians get to turn difficult deliveries into real joy but it’s often difficult. In the early years we tried to close the clinic at 6 PM but late night emergencies were common. It was just after Christmas, at about 9:30 – near bedtime. The Rolling Stones, blasting ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want’ on my stereo, were interrupted by a call from the answering service. A boxer was struggling to pass her first puppy. I scribbled down the phone number of a dog breeder I had never met and made the call. The Stones’ lyrics replayed in my brain later that night.
Before I could finish, “This is Dr. Nic—”a hard-edged voice broke through, “My bitch needs a C-section. She’s been pushin’ for 3 hours and nothin’s passed. How soon can you operate?” Who needs pleasantries when misery and loss of life are on the line? So I said, “We’ll meet you in 15 minutes.
I summoned my partner, Dr. Virginia Vader, and our nurse Bobbi. We rolled into the unlit dirt parking lot of the Adobe Animal Clinic 16 minutes later. Rumbling loudly, belching diesel exhaust at the front door stood a semi-trailer truck, sans the trailer. An unusual evening was just beginning.
Our client, an absolutely no-nonsense woman, who can have passed for a wrestler, spent all of 2 seconds sizing me up as I extended my hand in greeting (offer not accepted). “This show bitch normally has 8-10 puppies. Her litter is worth real money, young man.” So we invited her and her, um, bitch inside.
This mama dog was a bit skinny but in otherwise good shape. Abdominal palpation revealed one big baby lodged firmly in the birth canal. My vaginal exam confirmed that our client was right; it was time for a Caesarian delivery. As I calculated the morphine dose Bobbi started to prep for surgery. Virginia got anesthesia underway. Not our first rodeo but things were about to get weird.
Next week: How many boxer puppies? How many would live?
For help with behavior problems, you can sign-up for a Zoom Group Conference on my website, drjeffnichol.com.
Dr. Jeff Nichol is a residency-trained veterinary behaviorist. He provides consultations in-person and in groups by Zoom (505-792-5131). Each week he shares a blog and a Facebook Live video to help bring out the best in pets and their people. Sign up at no charge at drjeffnichol.com. Post pet behavioral or physical questions on facebook.com/drjeffnichol or by US Post to 4000 Montgomery Blvd. NE, Albuq, NM 87109.