November 7, 2006

Gina asks, and I obey…

Posted in Animals at 1:03 pm by The Lizard Queen

Okay, that’s obviously an exaggeration. However, she asked that we readers post this piece, written by Dr. Patty at Dolittler, everywhere we can, and I’m only too happy to oblige. Excerpts:

The scene: Two techs vigorously trying to stimulate respiration in two recently extricated newborn pups. A German Shepherd bitch anesthetized on the surgical table, all four legs akimbo. One tech busily manning the anesthesia and instruments. The vet, my colleague, fully gowned and sweating over an open abdomen. And finally, the stunned owner standing nearby, hands over her mouth, looking for all the world like someone who’d like nothing better than to be anywhere else.Great. Another one. Here’s where backyard breeders and I usually intersect—always under unpleasant circumstances, usually over a disaster C-section.

My colleague is like me. He likes to make them watch the fruits of their irresponsibility. While that might sound cruel—it usually works. …

The pups were huge and their lungs fluid-filled. They’d been overcooked. This bitch was probably due three full days ago (a very long time when gestation is only 63 days). This owner had completely missed the due date, signs of distress, etc.

By far the biggest mistake inexperienced breeders make is to assume nature will provide. This bountiful life force, she’s always in control and knows just when the little darlings will come into the world, right? Think again. After you breed a seventy-pound bitch to a hundred and ten pound male you’ve just offended Mother Earth. And she’s not so forgiving as the vets you desperately need when it all goes to hell. …

The bitch’s uterus was fluid-filled and unresponsive to oxytocin—it had clearly been over-used and less than cared for. In its current state it was a perfect candidate for pyometra (an overwhelming infection of the uterus). The owner did not, however, grant permission for the recommended spay.

After an hour of working on the pups it became clear we couldn’t maintain their hearts or respiration in the presence of all that fluid. Suction, oxygen, drugs….and then nothing. Yet this owner was undeterred. (Next time I’ll have to keep her inside when she starts to look big.) Great. You do that. We’ll look forward to your next visit.

You’re thinking: There should be a law against that! Nope. That’s not negligence in the eyes of the law. Nor is it considered animal cruelty. If you overstuff your fridge and it breaks that’s your dumb luck. While in Miami-Dade County (where I live) breeders have to obtain a license and fulfill some basic puppy care requirements, no pre-birth regulations are included in the legislation. Dogs are your property. You can f— them up any way you like as long as you don’t actively do them violence. …

Until backyard breeders stop doing their thing and until laws can be installed and enforced to make them stop, I’ll have to keep doing these disaster C-sections. There’s no point in denying any animal a life-saving surgery. But I will continue to make those responsible observe the outcome of their ignorance and arrogance. I want the “miracle of life” to be at least a fraction as painful and uncomfortable for them as it was for their pet.

This breaks my heart, and I know that it’s the kind of thing that happens all the time. Mohandas Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated, and the idea that there are people in this country who force their animals to have litter after litter of babies without adequate veterinary care simply so that they can make some extra money, or to show their children “the miracle of birth,” or simply because that animal is their property, horrifies me.

In somewhat unrelated news, if you haven’t done so already, PLEASE GO VOTE!!


1 Comment »

  1. pavlov112 said,

    Like I said in my voter supression comments, I hate people.

    Yes, a dog is your property. I don’t see any practical way to get around that. But it’s also a living being, for crying out loud!

    (Now I find myself actively hoping that whoever replaces Bob Barker continues his spay/neuter campaign.)

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