Actually, every companion animal owner should make contact with a veterinarian as a general practice, so that in case of an eventuality, one has a knowledgeable person to whom one can turn in time of need.

With a few alterations, here is the text:

Clean the outside of the vulva and anal area with soap and water.  Put on a pair of sterile gloves (if such are available), or just wash your hands thoroughly with a disinfectant or an anti-bacterial soap.  Lubricate your finger with pHisoHex, K-Y Jelly or Vaseline.  Before inserting your finger into the vagina, be careful not contaminate your gloves/hands with stool from the anus.

Place one hand under the abdomen in front of the pelvis of the dam and feel for the puppy.  Raise him up into position to align him with the birth canal.  With your other hand slip a finger into the vagina and feel for a head, tail or leg.  When the head is deviated and will not pass through the outlet of the pelvis, insert a finger into the puppy’s mouth and gently turn his head, guiding it into the birth canal.

When the puppy is coming as a breech presentation (rump first), hold the puppy at the pelvis outlet.  With the index finger, hook first one leg and then the other, slipping them down over the narrow space until the pelvis and legs appear at the vulva.
If the mother had been unable to deliver a large puppy coming normally, insert a finger into the vagina alongside the puppy until you can feel his front legs at the elbow.  Hook them and pull them through individually.

Once the puppy is in the lower part of the birth canal, he should be delivered without further delay.  To stimulate a forceful push by the mother, gently stretch the vaginal opening.  If you can see the puppy at the mouth of the vagina, but it appears and disappears with every straining action, grip his skin with a clean piece of cloth and pull him out as described in the ‘Pet Corner’ of May 19.  Time is of the essence.  It is better to take hold and pull out the puppy even at the risk of injury or its death, because if that puppy is not removed, the others will die. You have got to attempt a solution.

Sometimes the blockage is due to a retained placenta.  Hook with your fingers and grasp it with a sterile cloth.  Maintain gentle traction until it passes out of the vagina.

When the uterus become exhausted and stops contracting, it is difficult to correct the breech presentation without instruments.  Only those experienced in the use of the relevant instruments should attempt this extraction of pups, because the risk of uterine rapture is considerable.  Caesarean section often is indicated.

(When the puppy is coming sideways, usually it is not possible to correct the problem short of a Caesarean section.  We’ll discuss this operation next week.)

Last week’s column ended with a few paragraphs trying to explain, in essence, that the vet is human too and really needs his/her rest and relaxation with friends and family, or his/her own choice of de-stressing activity.  I sort of hinted that the vet should not be called because of some frivolity, you know the observation that Rover is looking at you with bashful eyes, and you feel that 5 o’clock in the morning is a good time to share this opinion with your vet.

Well, that part of last week’s column precipitated more telephone calls than any other article in recent times.  All were sort of apologetic and explained that they were guilty of “disturbing” the vet on minor matters.  But, more interestingly, the same people were caring enough to enquire when actually they should consider the situation with the pet to be an emergency; when would they have the “right” to call the vet – irrespective of the time day or night.Well, here are some conditions that will necessitate immediate action:

Uncontrollabale loss of blood, especially if the blood is squirting out with every heartbeat. (Your vet will tell you what to do before you rush the pet to him/her.

Bloody diarrhoea
Immediately on seeing the watery, bloody stool (and especially if it is accompanied by vomiting), you must contact your vet.  Again, he/she will advise you on counteractive measures, before you carry the animal to his/her clinic.

Epileptic-like seizures (‘Fits’)
Some of these conditions might actually be ‘fits’ and the animal might have exhibited these symptoms before.  But in many cases it might be brain damage emanating from a blow, or because of ingesting poison. You must get the animal to the vet as soon as possible.

Ingestion of poison
This is when you have actually seen your pet eat the rat bait or any other poison; or when immediately (or soon) after you have placed a toxic chemical on your dog’s skin (for example, to get rid of ticks/fleas) the animal begins to convulse, walk with an unsteady gait, vomit and behave abnormally.

Cramps (stiffness)
If your dog suddenly becomes as stiff as a board, legs outstretched in a fixed cramped position and the head is thrown back.

Uncontrolled vomiting
‒ especially if the vomiting is accompanied by blood.

These are symptoms that necessitate immediate veterinary intervention.
All the best for the coming week!

Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals.  Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.

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