When you are a breeder of English bulldogs one has to be prepared for countless hours of dedication as well as major sacrifices of time to family and worst a lot of emotional stress and sometimes heartbreak. My husband endures loosing his wife for weeks on end as I sleep in the guest bedroom with pregnant bitches and nursing mothers. This is a very very difficult breed of dog. This cannot be stressed enough.
My last two litters with bulldogs.Malina litter
Malina is scheduled for her c-section. Two weeks prior we start watching her like a hawk. She is quite large in size to still have two weeks left. This always makes me a nervous wreck. I prefer smaller tummies and smaller litters, as it is less stressful on the bitch. We take her temperature twice a day to get a base line for a full week. She is scheduled that following Friday for a c-section. All this week she has been very uncomfortable. It is becoming increasingly difficult for her to manage getting rest. Her belly is so bug she has not been able to lie down to sleep. So I have made special stool that I lay pillows on to allow them to lean on and support their head to sleep. The toll is showing on her. She is eating less and less due to the lack of room. I am panicked because she has a large litter for a bulldog and she must eat more now than before as they grow their needs grow. So I am forced to cook for her all week to get her to eat. We break this up in to 6 small meals. I use the goat's milk to help entice her. I wrap her vitamin up in cheese. I have stacked two folded king sized comforters for her to see if it allows her to be able to lay down fro a short time without so much pressure. She has gained 15 pounds on that little body. She can't get on the comforters, as she is too big and cumbersome. I pretty much have had to carry her 65 pounds everywhere as she has given up most efforts. She does get up to eat and potty but I have to reload her on the comforter. She won't go outside to potty anymore so we now have a tarp and potty pads down for her right next to her comforters. At Vet. appts. I have had to carry her to the car and to the inside of the office. The Vet. has had to carry her back for x-rays and back to my car. I sleep with one eye open watching her every moment for any signs of possible trouble. Saturday night she starts heavy panting a possible sign of early labor. I panic again from worry. I get no sleep. I continue to see is she is willing to eat and watch her temperature. She is trying to dig, dig and dig. This is called nesting. She digs the blanket for hours and pants. By the morning she finally leans on the bench and sleeps. So it appears maybe she was having Braxton hicks contractions only. Whew. I am exhausted from the endless nights of little or no sleep but I have other dogs and young children that need me. So no time for rest or me. Next night Malina wont eat her food, she has stopped drinking water. I tried homemade turkey and ham with boiled eggs, cottage cheese and goats milk. She has no interest. I am now very worried again as it is only Sunday night.. She isn't scheduled until Friday. Oh boy here is another worrisome night. Through this night she is desperately tired. She needs to lie down and just cannot she is exhausted. I am terrible stressed out for her. I am so sad as I see the eyes sagging red, and she just looks at me as if to beg for some relief. There is only so much my love and petting can do for her. She climbs off her comforters and I watch her back her rear up to the wall. I am puzzled at her actions. She braces her back feet on the baseboard to push and prop her butt in the air and her front legs and head just collapse from exhaustion on the floor. This is her remedy to try and get some rest. She has been sleeping up for a week on her front legs. This is a sign of stress for her body for sure. 6 a.m. I wake up to peek over and find she is completely laid out on the floor. I jump up worried she is dead. She hasn't been able to lie like that for weeks. I go over and she is ok but she wont get up. She is no longer restless like before she has a calm about her. She won't even lift her head. She will look at me and kiss me if I go to her face. I take her temperature and we have a major sign. It has dropped from her normal 99.9 to 98.8. One degree is major sign. She hasn't eaten or drank since last night. I try again with home cooked food and nothing. I try to hand feed her while she lays and she spits it out. I call the Vet. He said to call again at 11 a.m. to report on her. At 11 her temp is now 98.6. He said at 2 he will call and if she is the same we must bring her in for a c-section. By two she hasn't moved from her spot and her temperature is 97.9. He said we need to act now. We are a bit worried because puppies born a few days too early wont be mature enough and will die but her body is saying that its time to go and she is the priority. The stress has Para mounted with worry for me. I get everything ready. Her crate, the box and heating pad to take to the Vet for the puppies. I carry her out and leave her on the comforter in the back. I just don't want to stress her out trying to get her in her crate. On the way there I am shaking and very worried because it's still so early. What is something goes wrong. I call my friend and I just cry on the phone all the way to the Vet. I am so worried. They get her prepped for surgery and I sit in the waiting room until they get her fully ready. I am crying and the nurses try to comfort me. Finally they come get me to attend. I walk in and they have started one puppy is out and I can see her, she looks good. The Vet starts handing puppies off to everyone one by one and then it's my turn to get one. When you get a puppy you have to wipe them down first, syringe their mouths and noses and rub them in a frisk manner and shake them down. Once you see they are screaming and breathing well they go in the incubator and we work on the other puppies. Once the yare all out we turn to mom. She has to be sewn up. I usually tend to the puppies at that time. When they get her sewn up I go in and talk to her to try to get her to come out of anesthesia. This takes about ½ to 1 hour depending how long the dam had to be under. When she comes to they take her to a special sink and wash all the blood off her bottom and then she goes into a kennel run with blankets and she is on IV. Still groggy I sit on the floor and speak to her until she is coherent enough to respond. Then we need to try to get the puppies to nurse. This is a task because some times mom doesn't understand that the yare her babies. She went to sleep and when she woke up there are these screaming babies and now we have them on her belly sucking and scratching her. So they have no idea what has happened, what these babies are and why are they here with her. Some times they wont let them nurse. Malina is still so exhausted she doesn't care thank goodness. Puppies nurse and after an hour we go home. We carry her out and take the puppies out after I have warmed the car up well. Now its up to me to help these puppies get fed every two to three hours. My real work begins.Lucy Litter
Lucy is now due in ten days. She is very tiny she has maybe two or three babies in there I assume. She is very small in her size; she is not taking this hard and is handling all very well. She is ale to lay and sleep and I am happy. She is eating well, actually runs around like she isn't pregnant at all but you can see her little round belly and teats are starting to fill up with milk. Days go by and I can start to feel puppy kicks. Everything has been a breeze this time for her and me. We have 5 days to go. Around 2 p.m. I go to let her outside to go potty. She stands up and I see a huge thick string of green mucous discharge hanging from her vulva. Any breeder know green is a sign of serious problems. I go catch it with my hand to verify the color and yes it is green as grass. I go outside with her she seems fine. But she is dripping green fluid everywhere. The Vet that does my c-sections is out of town so I call my back up Vet. She is short staffed and cannot do a c-section if she needs one. She tries to calm me on the phone and tell me what she would do in this case if she could see her. I decide to go with another Vet at the main office. I really only like my one Vet. there but he is out of town and this is an emergency. I have to bring her in. I am just so upset. I am crying again. I get stuck in construction on the way to the Vet. I argue with the lady that I need help to get through there or maybe to supply me with an alternative route. I explain I have an emergency and I have been sitting there for 5 minutes and I have to get out of this delay. She is rude and wont help so I have to turn around and find another route. I have now wasted so much time driving this far and sitting for 5 minutes. I have to go back and go another way. I am very upset and worried and crying. My friend is on the phone trying to reassure me Lucy will be ok. The Dr says that a placenta prematurely separating and that she is 5 days early so we will likely not have surviving puppies. We can try to give her antibiotics to hold out and see if you can get her to go a couple more days to save babies possibly. But the risk is that she becomes toxic and infectious and dies. No she comes first. So we do and emergency c-section. I go in and the first puppy is a huge, massive 1.5 pound water puppy. Very severe there is no chance that puppy will survive. Next baby has all the green discharge in her sac. She is the puppy that sent off the signal that there were problems. There were no other puppies. She had two. The water puppy was so severe its was dying and started releasing toxins into the fluid. This other puppy was getting stressed out from these toxins and also had her placenta attached around her middle. So we work on this puppy. For her age she is fabulous. She has no hair on her ears or mouth but shockingly she is feisty, screaming and loud. A very good sign. I go focus on this huge water puppy we see her gasping for air and I need to hold her before she dies. I want her to know how sorry I am this happened to her. I hold her kiss her and caress her and after about one hour she said good-bye. I cry and the nurses hold me. I know its part of breeding but it's so sad to see this innocent puppy suffer. No one knows the reason water puppies occur. Vets all have their own theories but there is no science that has been able to detect why. Sometimes you get one in a litter and other times it could be the entire litter or none at all. All I know that it is a very horrible thing. Even with a fabulous pregnancy there is never a guarantee as you see. The remaining puppy seemed to be doing very well for two weeks. Thriving and growing. I exhausted being mom to this puppy for two weeks but thrilled by the progress seen in my hard wrok as this baby flourished. Two weeks one day after feeling so much hope she dies. No reason or warning! I am devastated and angry but it is the breed! The breed I also love!