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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It's been a little while since I have been on the site, but I wanted to share some information and some photos. For any other members that breed their Beagles, I want to let you know what can happen to a seemingly healthy momma and her babies. I can't stress enough that it pays to be prepared and to be knowledgeable to the possibilities of problems in whelping a litter.

Our 3.5 year old Beagle, Jasmine was bred for the first time on her last heat cycle. She gave birth on 10/06/08. I have never had such a difficult time in helping a bitch whelp a litter. Our other female, Maya, delivers like a pro with no assistance needed. Jasmine, Maya's 1/2 sister, however, didn't seem to have been born with what I always believed to be instinct. Here's our story...

After 25 hours of labor, Jasmine gave birth to her first puppy. She did everything she was supposed to do with Pup 1. When Pup 2 started on it's way, we discovered rapidly that it was presenting breech. It ended up getting stuck in the birth canal so we had to help it out. Jasmine showed interest, but did not appear to be moving fast enough to remove the sac, clean the pup, etc.. so we took care of this little one and then gave it to her to continue to stimulate. Pup 3 delivered and Jasmine again did nothing to help it. Once again we took care of the necessities. Pup 4 (also breech) came out in what I describe as a monstrous water balloon. There was at least 3 times more fluid than puppy in this sac. The puppy was very small in comparison to it's siblings and we struggled to revive it and get it breathing. After about 40 minutes of stimulation, suctioning, blowing into the nose and mouth, etc...it seemed to be doing fairly well. During the delivery of #4 we became concerned that we might lose the momma. She just laid there perfectly still, her eyes started rolling back into her head, and she made no movement towards assisting with the puppy at all. She acted as though she didn't realize one just delivered. I actually think I was more afraid for her than the puppies at this time. After we did what we could for Pup 4 - we gave the puppy to Jasmine and she wouldn't even lick the pup or anything. We put the pup up to a teat, but she couldn't seem to latch on so for several hours we would put her back to a teat whenever possible trying to encourage her. Pup 5 was the 3rd puppy to present breech. Jasmine helped a little more on this one. Pup 6 also presented breech and finally Jasmine was back to acting like a mother again, cleaning it, biting the umbilical cord, etc. We were finally done and Jasmine was settling right down and resting while the babies all nursed. This was a very rough delivery and I think we were as happy to be done as momma was. Thankfully I was fully prepared and had every supply needed right on the table next to the whelping box. Had I not been prepared, we may have lost several of the pups and possibly mom.

By the way, Jasmine will be getting spayed after this experience. I won't put her (or me) through that again.

Now here is the sad part of this story. Pup #4 was affectionately named Hope after all the struggling we did to bring her into this world and get her breathing. We noticed immediately upon placing her up to a teat that she was not seeming to latch on. She'd mouth it and act as though she was starving, but just couldn't seem to really suck on it. After the first 12 hours or so, I began feeding her with an eye dropper. She would take the formula very eagerly. At 24 hours, I weighed each pup and discovered that while all of them had gained at least 1 oz in their first day, our little Hope had actually lost an ounce. This really concerned me. I started checking her out more thoroughly to see what was causing this problem and discovered that not only had she been born with a deformed tail, she also was born with a cleft palate. Unfortunately we had to put Hope to sleep at 32 hours of age. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I've attached a photo of Hope and also of the cleft palate. I have spoke with our vet and done much research. It appears that there are a multitude of reasons that a puppy or puppies would be born with a cleft palate. Beagles are evidently quite susceptible to this birth defect also. Our vet does not believe this to be genetic in Jasmine's case, just something environmental most likely. As for the breech deliveries she states these are becoming more and more common. While she doesn't think it mandatory to avoid breeding Jasmine again, she completely understands my concerns and agrees to perform the spay surgery.



 

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Donna, my heart aches for you. It brought back a lot of memories of the first litter of beagle puppies born here. My Princess had 7 fat puppies after a long labor, but easy delivery. She cleaned them all but we noticed that 2 of the 7 weren't nursing. I'd put them on a nipple and she would often push them away - then she pushed them completely aside. Naturally they went to the vet and two of the babies had to be put to sleep. They were both born with cleft palates. Princess was spayed as soon as the pups were weaned. It's strange in a way - my vet had put 2 of my dogs to sleep - and had never seen me cry - (I cried a LOT but no one saw it). I bawled like a baby in his office when we had to have those two beautiful babies pts.
Last week I cried too, when my beautiful JoJo lost the single tiny pup she was carrying! Her last litter she had 4 pups, but only one survived. One was stillborn, two were very small, and the bigger male was suffocated the same night his little brother died - when JoJo rolled over on him. The surviving female was very small, and had to be bottle fed, but survive she did - we consider her our little miracle, and and a year and a half she is a PISTOL!
I'm so sorry for your loss - because I know how it feels! I'm sitting her crying now for you!
Big hugs my dear!
 

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I'm so sorry to hear that!! We've never done any breeding so I can only imagine what you're going through. I am however glad to hear that the other pups survived and that momma is doing better!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It is really strange how different my experiences have been with Maya and with Sparky in comparison to Jasmine. Even though the remaining 5 puppies are doing great, Jasmine just doesn't seem to be an attentive mother either. She does what she has to and then she wants away from them. They are still so young and I am so used to Maya never wanting to leave her pups for 5 minutes in the first 2 weeks or so. Oh Maya did start leaving her pups more and more as they grew, but she never got far. Jasmine will go outside and not even think about the puppies for long periods of time. I often have to make her come in and take care of them. How sad. I am keeping a close eye on them and they are all growing by an ounce to 2 ounces per day so they are getting fed enough (that's for certain). Perhaps this is just the Good Lord's way of saying not ALL people or dogs should reproduce. lol



 

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Princess was a good mom UNTIL her babies were getting those little sharp teeth - THEN she pretty much stayed away after they were weaned. She'd come into the family room - but if the pups went after her she'd RUN (can't say I blame her - those TEETH ARE SHARP). JoJo, on the other hand is an absolutely awesome mother, just as her mother and grandmother were - so it's doubly sad that she has had such bad luck with her last 2 litters. JoJo STILL plays with her kids - and the boys are 3 years old, and Angel is a year and a half! She's a great dog - with an awesome pedigree, but as you say, some dogs perhaps just shouldn't be parents (some people too). My human kids are adopted, but my daughter was fertile myrtyle and never wanted kids - she abandoned my grandkids for me to raise when they were 5 and 6 years old. She's still a wonderful mom - and daughter. Yes I'm being sarcastic! I always said if God was as fussy as adoption agencies there wouldn't be a population problem!
 

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I am sorry for what you and Jasmine are experiencing right now but also thankful for the beautiful pups that you have. Winston's momma was not the textbook perfect momma either, and he turned out OK (so far). I'm sure his two-footed momma (namely me) could use a little tweaking too.
 

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That sounds like a really trying experience for all involved - and glad Jasmine and the remaining puppies are doing okay now. Jasmine's lack of interest in her puppies sounds a lot like what Booker's old owners told us about her mother - she would do everything she could to escape from the barn where the puppies were to go into the house and get away from them... she really wasn't interested in them at all. But Booker turned out just fine - she actually exhibits some very sweet maternal qualities with the younger hounds in our pack and puppies we meet along the way... I think she might have been a good mother had she had the chance.

Hugs to you, Jasmine and the puppies - hope everything goes fine from here on.
 

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So sorry to read about Jasmine's tough delivery and Hope's short life -- kudos to you for being so prepared and handling everything that came your way. Jasmine and her pups are very fortunate to have such a great beagle Mom!
 

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I'm so sorry that Jasmine had such a hard time with birthing this litter, and for you losing poor little Hope. How sad. They sure are such cute little babies, though!

When Cassie had her first litter, she was scared and I didn't realize when she went into labor. The first pup she had was in our closet and when I realized she was back there, I found her in the closet, standing up, with the pup hanging from it's cord as she tried to whip around to get it off. I had the tools, so dealt with the situation and gave her the pup to clean when she nipped at it! I freaked out, called the vet, who told me to calm down so that Cassie would calm down. I then went in the living room, laid on the floor and got her down next to me. She was perfect with delivering the rest of the litter (11 pups!) and also with the first one. She was trying to care for it, just didn't realize she was too rough, because she was scared. She ended up being a wonderful mommy and still treats any puppy that comes around like she's the mommy.

Hopefully, Jasmine will find her mommy skills soon. If not, I have no doubt you will make a wonderful surrogate beagle mommy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Maya is more than willing to help Jasmine out. I probably wouldn't have to at all. It's kind of funny how she sits outside the whelping box and whines because she wants to be in with the puppies. When we open the gate to the whelping box, Maya jumps in and Jasmine couldn't care less. She lets Maya lick them and help keep them clean. I think in reverse Jasmine would have been told off real quick, but Jas knows that Maya is part of her pack and she allows this. I try not to let Maya do too much of the mothering for fear her mammary glands will start filling up again since she only weaned her litter in April. Besides I want Jasmine to remember that she is indeed the mommy and needs to behave like one. Maya is just being a concerned Auntie. As long as Jasmine continues to feed them I think we will be fine.

Oh by the way...she lets Maya help her, but believe me when I say no other female is allowed around her pups. She is protecting them from potential threats so she isn't a complete failure as a mommy, that's for sure.
 

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Quote:I started checking her out more thoroughly to see what was causing this problem and discovered that not only had she been born with a deformed tail, she also was born with a cleft palate. Unfortunately we had to put Hope to sleep at 32 hours of age. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done.

I've attached a photo of Hope and also of the cleft palate. I have spoke with our vet and done much research. It appears that there are a multitude of reasons that a puppy or puppies would be born with a cleft palate. Beagles are evidently quite susceptible to this birth defect also. Our vet does not believe this to be genetic in Jasmine's case, just something environmental most likely. As for the breech deliveries she states these are becoming more and more common.

So sorry about that poor little pupper
Breeding has it's ups and downs, but the downs can really break your heart into a million pieces ...

Cleft palate is a congenital problem, meaning it's not necessarily genetic, although it certainly can be inherited! Something goes wrong in utero and the palate never closes - lack of folic acid and overabundance of synthetic Vitamin A are just two of the more prominent causes. I honestly can't say if it's helped, but all of my bitches are supplemented with 200-400 mcg of folic acid from the start of their heat cycle until the whelping. I'm too afraid to not give the folic acid and experiemnt with the pup's health. But we have had 100% survival rate and no defects, save for a kinked tail in our last litter ... that was a close breeding tho. If you're ever going to breed again, my best advice would be to give folic acid supplementation a try, it's very inexpensive and it can't hurt, as it's a water soluble B vitamin.

As for breeched births, they are 50/50. A bitch will have just as many true breech pups as she will ones in the proper position. The breeched births are SCARY! Especially when a pup seems to be stuck in addition to the breech. You did good by the pups and momma! Not everyone can keep their cool on the outside (inside I think we're all a mess, lol) when in those kinds of situations.
 

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Christine, thank you for the advice about the folic acid. I had asked my vet about it when Prinny had 2 pups born with cleft palettes (6 years ago), at that time they didn't recommend it (I had read that it helps prevent birth defects in human babies), but I do think I WILL try that if and when I breed Bella and Angel. And yes, the breech births can be scary. You are so right about the downs breaking your heart. Everyone seems to think that breeders are all puppy mills, who just over breed their dogs and rake in $$. They don't take into account the responsible breeders who do without so their dogs can get what they need - and who sit up all night with their dogs waiting for puppies, and who rush them to the vet with any problems (like a $900 c-section).
 
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