Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pyometra update

It's early yet to hear back from the doc and I'm sure she's getting bombarded with questions after the seminar.

But I did find a study online.

And another case study of a colony of beagles: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11515096?dopt=Abstract

My understanding is that even if progesterone levels are kept minimal (through the use of steroids I imagine) there still is a 15% risk of pyometra in bitches less than 3 years old, the risk gradually increases to 25% by age 6 and more than doubles the following year.

It seems to me that use of mibolerone might do very little as preventative.

Since the risk is there for less than 3 years of age I don't know if there's that significant an increase of risk by waiting another year or two to breed. And when I say I don't know I mean I don't know. By age 2 a bitch can have a few cycles (not counting the very first which is often "silent" as there are no visible signs). I imagine Sedona had at least 3? Celie did and she has the standard 6 month cycle. That is already quite a bit of built up gunk to cause a problem.

As far as the breeding often part? Hmmm. Does it work like this? Once there's a cleaned out uterus from whelping is the bitch basically starting with a clean slate percentage-wise? The numbers going back down and gradually increasing as they age without being bred?

These are questions that may not be answered while I'm involved in dog reproduction. But I think I am going to rely on building and maintaining a good, strong immune system.

A healthy immune system is always a factor in fighting any disease, any infection. There's no blame. It's just life as we know it. Pyometra may result from an ideal breeding ground resulting from the bitch's inability to clean itself out without whelping but the immune system that is kept in peak condition has a reasonably good chance of fighting it off. This take no doubt hasn't been studied at all and I would hazard to guess that the dogs in the studies had conventional and hence poor nutrition.

What I do:
- I am continuing to provide the best diet I can for my dogs. Variety. They are omnivores.
- I avoid antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. They kill the good bacteria in the gut which helps digestion of all those good nutriants. When I use an antibiotic I provide probiotics to re-establish the good guys.
- Exercise. Get them out of their crates and into the fresh air. Let them RUN!!
- Let them get dirty. Okay. They also get cleaned up. But sometimes we stay too clean. A healthy immune system is like a muscle. It needs a stimulus to stay strong and not atrophy. Just staying balanced about the cleaners we use and how often.

Now given enough space, time, and MONEY I might opt to breed "often." I make no judgements about what others do with their resources. But I'm not going to push the envelope for fear-based reasons that may never be realized.


Kate said...

The "breed often" thing is something I'm struggling with. It's very hard to shake the notion that "only bad breeders" do that sort of thing, because that's the WISDOM that has been hammered into me, even before I started in dogs. Yet it's hard to argue with the research.

I've seen a lot of bitches look AWFUL when nursing puppies. I fully expected the same of this bitch. But she looks as glossy and healthy as she always has, and if not for the swinging utters you wouldn't know she had a litter of 8. ;)

GRANTED, I do pour the food down her. She gets all the kibble she can eat and tons of supplementation and goes out for several runs a day and gets to roll in the sheep poop when we do chores. She gets a real chicken lunch and a burger and oatmeal porridge morning and night. She doesn't have much of a chance to get depleted.

Same for when she was in whelp, except that I kept her on the thin side, as it makes sense to me that a fat bitch means fat (read: big and harder to whelp) puppies.

On as side note, I did raspberry leaf from the third week of pregnancy on. It is supposed to produce free whelpings and....well, you know how that went! A puppy every half hour, the only problem being the stillborn one, who couldn't help itself be delivered. Was it because of the raspberry leaf or because she would have free whelped anyway? Impossible to say.

Léo said...

I agree with the wisdom of keeping a bitch well nourished but leaner. Being overweight makes our births harder so it makes sense it would for dogs as well.

The breed often thing: As long as someone has the means to care for all those dogs, with all the love and attention they deserve, including ones that come back due to health issues... well as the saying goes ain't nobody's business but their own.

Waiting for that winning lottery ticket. Then I'll set up a trust for my kids. Both kinds.
Meanwhile I'll probably keep my numbers down.

Interesting about the raspberry leaf. I've used it with my own pregnancies. Are you using any other herbs now? For lactation say?

Kate said...

I'm not, but I would. Suggestions?

Léo said...

I don't have any experience with using herbals with dogs. And some things are toxic to them that are fine with us. I would recommend getting an herbal book specifically for them. No use guessing when others have tested what works.

I should look into that. I'm going to see what's available through the library...