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Categories: Breeding

Q. I have a comment on one of you questions on breeding about calcium deficiency and how a mother behaves.

My name is Carolyn and I breed Belgian Shepherds (Tervuren) in Canada.

I have been reading a lot of your section on breeding most of the day today, and I must commend you on your excellent website. You are a such a prince to put so much time and effort into educating others

So far, I have been fortunate to not have any problems with breedings and whelpings, though I feel I may have a problem with the next bitch I plan to breed to get her to accept the male. Time will tell, may have to do an AI.

Some of these people that are breeding dogs and have written you with problems appear to be soooo bloody stupid, it blows my mind. Imagine some of the worst ones are backyard breeders and pet owners who don't really have a clue what they're doing. Hopefully your website, answers, articles etc will help some of them to make the responsible decisions they should be making.

But I have noticed something that you may or may not know.

I just read one letter about a GSD bitch with a bad temperament who killed it's Westie housemate before she whelped and then killed most of her pups after she whelped.

I agree, this bitch has a poor temperament and should not have been bred. But I wonder if you know that a bitch with a excellent temperament normally, can savage and kill her pups within a couple weeks of whelping due to a severe calcium deficiency?

I have never had this happen to me, thank god, but I hear it happens, and that if after whelping, you notice your bitch to be abnormally agitated and doesn't want to settle in with her babies and mother them, that you should take her in and have her calcium levels checked and that if they are really low, the vet will give them shot to correct it.

Apparently these calcium shots must be given by a vet. They must be dangerous if improperly administered.

I suspect that most of us don't have a problem with this as we feed a good well balanced diet. But it's something I am aware of and when a bitch whelps, I watch her closely for the first week to make sure everything is normal.

Thanks for all your hard work,

A. Hi Carolyn,

Thanks for your email.

I am familiar with eclampsia and the symptoms. I worked for a vet for many years, and saw quite a few cases of this. We have never seen this in one of our own females but I have done some reading about it in the past also.

There is no comparison between the behavioral changes with eclampsia and aggression towards their own litter. Bitches I have seen with eclampsia seem confused and uncoordinated, almost like a mild seizure. If you suspect eclampsia then a vet is needed and calcium is given IV. Aggressive behavior and bad temperament is quite different.

Thanks again for the kind words.

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