Toa Payoh Vets Clinical
Research Making veterinary surgery alive
to a veterinary student studying in Australia
using real case studies and pictures
The Single Pup
Syndrome - DYSTOCIA
IN A POMERANIAN
First written in Jun 1, 2003
Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
"How do you know she is due and how long
since the first mating?" I asked Simon, a professional dog breeder.
a Pomeranian bitch that had discharged a clear liquid more than two hours
ago when I was closing the surgery.
It was Mothers' Day and I was invited
to a Mothers' Day dinner. The Pomeranian could
not give birth naturally and was contracting for some time.
put his thumb and forefinger on the mammary glands of
the dam: "See, the breasts are flushed with milk. Therefore she was
due. Also, the dam is
61st day into pregnancy. Dogs normally give birth between 58th day to the
This dam definitely needed a Caesarean section as she could not deliver the
puppy or puppies herself. Most probably two puppies, I thought. It
should be a routine and short Caesarian section. The Pomeranian
Would she be fit to be operated on? I inserted a thermometer into her
rectum to get her rectal temperature. 37.6 deg C. That was lower
than the average 38.5 deg
C for a normal adult dog. However, the bitch does drop her rectal
temperature below the normal 38.5 degrees within 24 hours of giving birth.
So 37.6 degrees was normal.
I put the stethoscope on her abdomen to check for viable puppy heart
beats. There was one puppy heart beating silently. I put my fingers on her abdomen
and could feel one lump with my
hands. This could be a single large pup. A single pup syndrome.
The Caesarian section should be speedy.
The dam was put under general anaesthesia. As I opened the abdomen,
there was a large mass of sticky yellow fluid covering the outer membrane
of this puppy. Now, this was not normally expected. What was this alien
stuff? Would this the placenta of another puppy that had died early
inside the womb?
placenta did not develop as the mother's body was unable to stimulate new
blood vessel formation. This stopped the placenta growing
(intrauterine growth retardation).
The yellow stuff was very starchy. I checked the puppy. Was it alive or
dead? Hard to tell as all puppies look dead inside the amniotic sac as
they had not started breathing yet. I quickly broke the membrane.
Time was of the essence.
The puppy was alive and well. I snipped
off the umbilical cord. The pup was given to my assistant while i pulled
out the placenta. Then I stitched up the uterus, muscle layers and skin.
The dam was all right too.
This case is a case of the single pup syndrome.
In this syndrome, the single pup grows to a large size, So, the
dam has difficulty
in giving birth.
Caesarian section is needed if the bitch is overdue by more than 7 days.
(normal range is 59 - 63 days after breeding).
Otherwise, the puppy dies in utero and Caesarean section is still required to remove
the dead pup and to save the mother.
As to the origin of the sticky stuff, it
was not possible to know as there was no money for further research or for
laboratory examinations. For the Singapore dog breeder, he was interested
in the least cost surgery and not why and how he could produce better
litters as he had to contain his expenses and suffer losses of business as
people don't spend during this SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome)