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By Dr. Sherry Weaver

It is best for pets to be spayed or neutered. It makes them healthier and happier.

Signs of difficulty may include:

  • More than two days past due date (if known) or a dark vaginal discharge with foul odor.
  • Active labor for more than four hours with no puppy.
  • More than a half hour of active continuous straining between puppies or kittens with no puppy produced. Active straining is seen as an obvious contraction with the dog or cat trying to push.
  • Puppy at vulva, but mother unable to push them out within 20 minutes.
  • Mother looks weak, sick and depressed.
  • Bloody discharge before birth.

It is a good idea to check on the animal, but do not be overly attentive. If the dog is in active labor for four or more hours with no puppy, or if more than two hours pass between puppies, or she has any of the above signs, speak to a veterinarian immediately for an assessment. Be prepared to get her to a veterinary hospital. At the veterinary hospital, the veterinarian may attempt to treat her with medication to increase the force of contractions. Otherwise, a cesarean section may be performed.

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