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4 Vets Share Their Opinion About Hindlimbs’ Tying In Pregnant Bitches

Posted on 5 m read 268 views

The first time I saw a pregnant bitch’s hindlimbs tied was during my service year in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. To say I was shocked, was an understatement. All through six years in vet school, I never saw or heard of this practice. I remember asking the bitch’s owner why her limbs were tired, he explained that he was trying to prevent her from stretching and having a miscarriage.

Over time, I’ve seen many more cases like this. I’ve also had many people ask me if this method works, any risks involved, if this is medically acceptable, suitable alternatives etc. In answering these questions, I ask 4 vets to share their opinion on this common Nigerian practice.

Hear what the experts have to say.


Dr. Rachel Nwosu-Nwaike

♦ Veterinary pharmacologist by training.

♦ Presently into private practice.

HER VIEW:

Though undocumented with little or no scientific backing, this practice is quite common among a lot of dog owners and dog breeders. It is done most especially to seemingly hyperactive rottweilers and Russian shepherd pregnant bitches. It is said to reduce excessive jumping, prevent excessive hindlimb stretching / extension and in general decrease hyperactivity of the pregnant bitch so as to increase the chances of the pregnancy surviving to term.

Some dog owners and breeders even go as far as making incision at the coxofemoral joint area, hence causing pain which forces the bitch to avoid stretching its hind limbs. [DrGbaks’ note: I think this is simply cruel and unacceptable!]

I dissuade these practices, all sorts of ropes, bands and even chains are used to tie the bitches cruelly. Most times they become very restless, uncooperative, struggle greatly and even injure themselves, thus posing increased risk and damage to their health and also their pregnancy.

Personally, chaining and tight cage confinements are less severe and more preferable.


Dr. Damilola Isola

♦ Specializes in small animal medicine

♦ Has a veterinary outfit called DePaws Consult.

HIS VIEW:

Well, this is my view. It’s done here because most people think by doing that they are actually restraining the bitch for excessive jumping or running about. I personally haven’t had reasons to do so and I won’t ever do that. My reason is simple: prolong use of ropes will definitely cause wounds on the leg which if not properly attended to, may get contaminated. Also, tying is a form of cruelty to dogs.

I would suggest doing the following in cases of frequent abortions due to restlessness:

  1. Restrain the bitch in a well ventilated and small kennel at any other time aside feeding or defecating. The kennel should able to prevent the bitch from jumping or excessive stretching.
  2. The bitch should be allowed out of the restraining kennel after the second trimester.

Dr. Moses Olusola Ilugbo

♦ the head, Diagnostic Unit, PetCare Animal Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.

HIS VIEW:

Medically, this is a myth. The only logical reason, in a lay man’s view, for tying the hind limbs of pregnant bitches is either to restrict movement or prevent stretching to avoid losing the pregnancy. We don’t have to tie their hind limbs when we can keep them in a quiet place if need be (for instance, when there is evidence of threatening abortion).

In my few years of practice I have had cases where clients complain of their bitches either miscarrying or over due for whelping without confirming that they were pregnant in the first place. They assumed that the bitches must be pregnant following mating.

There are, however, a number of factors that can initiate miscarriages or abortion in a bitch but I will mention just a few.

  1. Poor management practices; this involves housing, nutrition and hygiene as well poor control of ecto-parasites and endo-parasites.
  2. Endocrine disorders e.g hypothyroidism, hyperadrenocortism (Cushing’s diseases);
  3. Pharmaceutical agents e.g Chloramphenicol, glucocorticoids,
  4. Poisoning: ingestion of toxic entity
  5. Infection which could be bacteria, fungal or viral in origin such as Brucellosis caused by Brucella canis, Parvovirus, Neospora caninum, Toxoplasma gondii etc.
  6. Neoplasm (Cancers): Neoplastic conditions have been incriminated in canine abortion.

Sometimes breeders and/or clients are fooled by pseudo-pregnancy also known as false pregnancy. Bitches with pseudo-pregnancy exhibit same signs a pregnant bitch will such as mammary gland enlargement, lactation, digging and nesting. It is therefore necessary to confirm the pregnancy before our hope is dashed through hormone assay (Progesterone assay) and ultrasonography.

A visit to your vet before mating for proper mating plans and after mating for confirmation of pregnancy, recommendation and monitoring is always highly recommended and advised.


Dr. Folayemi O. Adefemi

♦ 4 years of veterinary practice

♦ 1 year of practice at the renowned Truthmiles Animal Hospital Lagos, Nigeria.

♦ She is a small and exotic animal vet

♦ Is currently is on a post-graduate study.

HER VIEW:

From my experience ‘Tying up the Hind limbs’ of pregnant bitches as a prophylaxis for canine miscarriages is a myth with no true bearing.

First, miscarriages in bitches can be caused by several factors which can be grouped broadly into two; Intrinsic factors or Extrinsic factors and sometimes a contribution of both.

Intrinsic factors could be hereditary or genetic, whereby the pet is just not fit to carry fetuses to term; it could be hormonal or can be due to acute or chronic infectious agents such as Brucella canis that is often acquired from breeding.

Extrinsic factors could be poor nutrition, trauma, ectoparasitic stress like tick infection or any form of stress that disturbs the quality of life of the bitch.

Most pregnant bitches I have encountered in practice that had their legs and even sometimes abdomen tied up always miscarried and suffered injuries of contact dermatitis that transcended into ascending infections eventually.

So when you think about it really ‘tying up the bitches’ legs is a real stress factor which in my opinion has a greater chance of contributing to miscarriages than actually preventing it.


So, there you have it. 4 experts have shared their opinions. What do you think? Do you agree with them? Have you ever had to tie your pregnant bitch’s limbs? If yes, why? Did it work? I would love to know your thoughts.

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