Sunday, April 15, 2012

Brother Sister Love Association

“We rescued them from someone who weren’t taking good care of em.”

She seemed a nice lady, and her two little children were quiet and well behaved. The kids weren’t dressed up at all, but they were clean. The two pups looked adequately fed, and they were well behaved and social. I can work with this. Few of my clients come in stylin’, and that’s OK by me. A long time ago, I chose to practice in a place populated with common folks. I’m comfortable with this. But it means I face a different set of challenges than my colleagues on the ‘good’ side of town. 

The female pup was old enough to be in her first season, and her brother was old enough to notice. And yeah, they had spent some considerable time alone with each other, and nobody knew if they’d done the dirty, or not. I couldn’t tell the owner yet, for it was far too early to determine if she was pregnant. I offered to spay her, even though she was still in season, for the slightly increased difficulty and risk of performing the ovariohysterectomy while she was still in heat overrode the risk of her dropping some really messed up puppies on an earth well overdosed with healthy puppies. And it beat doing the same surgery much later, when the pregnancy was confirmed, and everybody would be condemned to the knowledge that we were killing puppies instead of just bumps.

I’d seen the pups of a brother/sister mating more than once.  Some were actually OK, as far as we could tell, but the rest suffered from an assortment of birth defects. One litter of six all had hare lips, and the surgical repairs kept failing, as if the powers had decided that this bunch was not to survive. And I’ve seen cleft palates and cardiac problems that killed the pups shortly after they landed on earth. The issue of brother/sister matings as adults often just don’t seem to be as hardy as they should. 

And then there was that brief discussion I had with a client who was intent upon breeding her little bitch with the dog’s own father. The “breeder “who was advising her stood at her right shoulder as she spelled out her plan to me in the exam room. I mentioned the usual reasons why we don’t recommend such foolishness, what with the assortment of disasters which can result from such extreme 
inbreeding. The “breeder” of course, knew better, and spewed her delusional justifications at me, with the statement that, “I’ve done this many times before, and the results have been just fine.”

As doctors, we cannot guarantee a bad outcome from such an endeavor. All we really know is that the incidence of genetic disasters increases with the degree of inbreeding. We cannot say that it happens every time. So my response to this breeder’s logic was my own version. I pointed to the four lane street in front of my clinic, the one with the cars and trucks roaring past, and I suggested to the breeder that she could blindfold herself and walk un-aided back and forth across that street, and she might get away with it for a while…but please don’t ask me if I think it’s OK, for you might get the answer you don’t wish to hear.

 You see, I’ve done the surgery to remove the diseased uterus full of dead inbred puppies from the bitch dying due to the deadly toxins, and I’ve opened that nasty tube after we’d assured ourselves that our patient would survive, and I’ve removed those “things” we call teratomas, those odd shaped egg shaped sorta puppies, and quarter sized pieces of parts of puppies, or bits of bone and hair, or that unidentified tissue that wasn’t meant to be. Now, I’ve been steeled by decades of medical horrors that even callous ole I won’t introduce you to, and it takes something pretty nasty to get to me, but puppy parts still do. And so no, I don’t think you should breed your little girl to her daddy or her nice brother. I don’t care what your breeder says.

I rarely quote the Bible, but if those folks figured this out 2000 years ago, why should somebody trust a breeder who thinks she is smarter that those folks?

Well, this client with the maybe bred dog maybe bred to her brother decided she couldn’t afford to actually spay this girl, so I’m not real sure why she even bothered to ask me. But they headed home with the maybe pregnant dog maybe filled with yet another horror show. And maybe someday soon I’ll get to see if I was right. Or not. If I ever find out, I’ll let ya know.


  1. If you can't afford to spay a puppy, don't get a dog, let alone two!!!! I think that pisses me off more than the potential inbreeding.

  2. Another big believer in NOT getting dogs you can't afford the basic care for...and yep that includes getting fixed!!

  3. This is just SAD in a very sickening way.
    Call me selfish but a spayed/neutered dog is a far better pet. All of my dogs are 'fixed'. All of my past dogs have been neutered/spayed.

    Yep, know the two Doxies would have made gorgeous pups with nice price tags but both 'fixed' within the earliest guidelines. Could I SELL a pup for profit? No. The money may be good but wondering what happened to cute pup too much for me to bear. No idea how dog breeders can do it actually.

    Send a pup out and hope for the best I suppose. Could and will not do it ever. Dogs are not disposable means to making money. Not at all.

  4. i had a lhasa apso pup who died at 5 months...and i didnt know till *after* we'd gotten her papers that the parents were littermates, as were the grandparents and great-grandparents. just an ugly situation.

    then there's my current fuzzbutt...rescue, had been a mama in a puppy mill for the first 5 years of her life. now she's an indulged housedog, fixed, gets regular vet visits and thinks life is too amazing to consider. turned around and saved MY life a couple of times by being able to detect when i'd taken too much insulin and my blood sugar dropped too low.

    i think i won this time.

    1. Sounds like a HUGE win for you and your fuzzbutt :) She gets a loving home for life and you get a watch dog for your insulin levels. Good Dog!

    2. Your post made me teary. I'm sorry you suffered through the loss of your first pup but I'm glad that it encouraged you to rescue and that you found a perfect companion.

  5. Don't hare lips and cleft palates go hand in hand? My relative's kid had a cleft lip and it's basically considered a variation of the same abnormality in gestation, with the lip being an interruption in the formation of the primary palate and the cleft palate being an interruption in the formation of the secondary palate. His was primarily cosmetic, but they fixed it as a newborn (maybe 4 or 6 weeks of age) so that he'd look normal and he'd also avoid any speech issues. His was considered a microform cleft, with just a dent in his lip but the muscles behind it needed a bit of repair.

  6. These pups were "rescued" from someone who wasn't taking good care of them?? Frying pan, ya go.

    Makes me angry.

  7. a client who was intent upon breeding her little bitch with the dog’s own father.

    I guess biology is no longer required in high school?