After giving birth to a staggering 21 puppies, a senior black Labrador is slowly recovering from a traumatic experience. Although the large litter, which almost broke records, may seem like cause for celebration, her journey is filled with pain but also the compassion of an animal-loving community that wants nothing but the best for her.
A black Labrador, estimated to be between seven and eight years old, was brought to the Boone Area Humane Society in Boone, Iowa, on October 24. She appeared to be in septic shock and in labor. She was flown by plane to the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine for additional treatment.
“She arrived in the back of a pickup truck, unresponsive,” said Vanessa Heenan, director of Boone Area Humane Society, to the Ames Tribune. “Her abdominal area was swollen, her teats engorged; it was apparent she had recently nursed puppies, at least in the recent past.”
The dog gave birth to two puppies after approximately 24 hours of labor. One was stillborn, and the other died shortly after birth. Veterinarians realized that she needed an emergency cesarean section immediately. While veterinarians continued providing attention and trying to save puppy after puppy, the cost kept rising.
It was a cost the shelter couldn’t afford, so they sought help from their community. They have raised around $20,000 so far. Unfortunately, all the puppies died on October 26. Despite receiving a transfusion from her mother, half of the puppies were born dead, and the surviving ones were not advanced enough to live.
Heenan doesn’t believe she was a victim of a puppy mill or hormone use, but she could have been impregnated by numerous male dogs. The shelter knows the owner of the dog and has stated that they are in contact with a lawyer to see what can be done, but “with Iowa’s weak animal protection laws, it’s always an uphill battle.”
Veterinarians are now focused on helping the dog on her journey to recovery. She showed signs of progress a few days after the extraordinarily painful birth. She is still “weak,” but “she’s much better.” According to a Facebook post, ISU veterinarians will begin to wean her off painkillers and water.
She will be discharged from the hospital once she has fully recovered and will be placed in a foster home to complete her recovery. If you want to contribute to this mother dog’s recovery, you can do so through the Boone Area Humane Society’s Facebook page or by contacting ISU College of Vet Med at 515-294-4900. It breaks my heart to see an animal in such distress. How could someone have allowed this innocent animal to suffer in this way?