Okay, well, no puppies for me. Or at least, not from Naamah. She had pyo and is now recovering from an emergency spay.
This is the third young bitch I’ve had who had pyo. I caught it relatively early and I don’t think Naamah will be as sick as some.
As a public service message, let me just mention that roughly 25% of all intact bitches do get pyo. A significant number die because the owner doesn’t recognize what’s happening fast enough. Untreated, pyometra is always fatal. If the treatment — an emergency spay is by far the preferred treatment — is delayed, the bitch will be very, very sick. Some will die despite everything the veterinarian can do.
More common in older bitches, in fifteen years, I’ve had a three-year-old with pyometra twice and a five-year-old once. I know someone whose puppy had pyo after her first season, when she was seven months old, and very nearly died. Every single pet owner who has an intact bitch needs to look up the signs of pyometra and keep a close eye on their bitch from two to eight weeks after she’s been in season. If she goes off her food, watch her very carefully. If she starts to act sicker and/or starts drinking more water and/or has a discharge as though she’s going back into season, take her in right away. Don’t make an appointment for two weeks later. Take her immediately, the moment you think she could have pyo. Pyometra is always an emergency. Always.
So … yeah, after fifteen years, I’m pretty inured to bad luck. This was a disaster in terms of losing Naamah’s reproductive potential without ever getting even a single puppy, and of course it was a financial disaster, but disasters of all kinds are not uncommon and I’m always prepared for pet medical emergency expenses. But this is why I sound so sincere when I advise pet owners not to breed their pet. I am extremely sincere.
We actually need a lot more knowledgeable, responsible people breeding. Contrary to popular opinion, we don’t have nearly enough well-bred puppies to go around; we don’t even have enough badly bred puppies to fulfill the demand; we don’t even have enough dogs in shelters to begin to fill the demand for young dogs. Shelter intake has absolutely crashed over the past 50 years, so for decades shelters in some areas of the country (the Northeast) have been importing impounded strays and puppy mill dogs from other areas of the country (the Midwest) and, prior to 2021, from developing countries, in order to keep shelters full. That shortage is what keeps puppy mills in business and incentivizes backyard breeders to thoughtlessly and carelessly breed dogs when they have no clue how to evaluate structural soundness, never mind type. But it takes a lot of time and effort to learn how to breed responsibly, and even if you’re knowledgeable and experienced, terrible things happen all the time. One of those terrible things is pyometra.
It could have been a lot worse. At least Naamah is recovering well this morning. I’ll go get her this afternoon and, although she’ll be much sicker than any bitch after an ordinary spay, she’ll be fine. The only question now is whether I’ll keep her or place her as a pet. She’s got a demanding temperament for a Cavalier and would need just the right pet home, and after all I have plenty of room in MY home at the moment, so we’ll see.