Reproductive nightmares and backyard breeders - this vet's day was a bitch
Yesterday was among the busiest and most annoying days I’ve managed in well over a year. I had to deal with three repro-related nightmares and some fallout from a fourth. You should know that, much as I love to treat the pets in these cases (I love reproduction work immensely), my backyard-breeding parents are the worst of my clients.
To make matters worse, I worked yesterday alone (since one of my guys is out of town and the other needed to save up his strength for this weekend’s solo stint while I get out to the Keys for a couple of days). So when the first patient arrived (at 8 AM) in full-blown hysteria with a seizuring dog in her arms, I knew I was in for it.
Mama, aptly named for her oversized mammaries, had recently delivered herself of six ginormous pups. Together, the puppies weighed more than she did—and they were only five days old. Mama was seizuring due to an overwhelming depletion of calcium—one of her milk’s most abundant nutrients. These big pups had sucked the life out of her in less than a week—and her useless owner had no clue that this might be a problem for a little bitch with a big litter.
Decrying her time and financial constraints—all the while plaintively voicing her “Mama” fears—this owner was making no friends fast. I have no patience for whiny, ignorant owners who want something for nothing after everything goes sour through no one’s fault but their own—and my staff has even less sympathy for her type.
I fixed Mama up and fed the pups all day. Don’t you know this owner absconded during my busy afternoon discharges without paying a dime of her $500-plus bill? (Cheap, considering I’d saved her life and managed her pups, to boot.)
The next owner was equally odious. A widow and ersatz breeder who assuaged the loss of her husband with the “love of dogs” was my next morning appointment. Her Havanese litters had been a continual thorn in my side for months. They’d all had issues: last minute C-sections, breeding date discrepancies, health certificate shenanigans—the whole nine yards. And now she’d brought in an overlooked pup out of an inexperienced bitch who’d been mauled by mom because “she was doing so well with them so I didn’t think she’d eat a second one.”
The pup was missing half a face and three out of four legs—yet it was still wriggling and squealing. It was easily the most impressive bit of nastiness I’d been subjected to in years. I euthanized it without hardly looking—and punitively charged full-price on euthanasia and cremation for a creature that weighed less than half a pound.
A Yorkie breeder’s prize bitch was next up. After failing to show for an appointment last week (without calling, of course), he yelled at me to get him in quick because he had a baseball game to get to. (Do these people know how awful they sound?)
While I examined his dog (after complaining that his dog didn’t need a physical just to get a county license) I’d asked about her spay status. He then proceeded to belt out an overlong statement on why no dog should be spayed or neutered, next boasted about the thirty-five pups this eight-pound bitch had borne.
When I found four tiny nodules in her mammary glands his next question was: “So she can’t have any more pups, doc? This dog was nearing nine years of age. What she really needed went well beyond a break in her capacity as a breeder—she clearly required a new home. After another half hour discussing the need to spay and remove the masses, he let fly with, “I can’t understand why people put their dogs through surgery when some of them don’t even live another year!”
A year (the way low end, on average, even if the worst kind of cancer’s detected) sounds like a long time to me after a relatively routine surgery, but perhaps I’m just someone who likes her dogs. I resolved never to see this a------ ever again and called it a day.
I’m so tired after explaining all this to you, my sympathetic readers, that I’m not going into the fourth repro disaster of the day (a sick pup out of an accidental breeding). I’ll leave that character for another day. Let’s just say that my day…it was a bitch.