Whippet Dog Photo Contest: Kara the Miracle Puppy
by Sharyn Hutchens
Walt and Kara
Kara was the second puppy in a litter of ten. The first puppy was huge and we believe Kara's umbilical cord was compressed during the final part of her growth in utero.
At any rate, the first puppy's birth was difficult for the mom and Kara just sort of slid out behind him. She was dead on arrival, but we rubbed her and gave her oxygen and got the fluids out of her lungs and she came around eventually. She wouldn't nurse, however, and we had to tube feed her.
We were so sure she wouldn't make it that when we had the pups' dewclaws removed at three days, we skipped her, thinking the stress would be too much.
When she was finally big enough for a thorough vet exam, we discovered she had a cleft palate, a broken hind leg, and had also developed aspiration pneumonia.
She was a fighter though, and we didn't have the heart to put her down, so we kept trying. She was so small that we put her in with a litter of pups who were two weeks younger, and even they outgrew her before long.
She remained weak and small, so we took her down to the vet school at Virginia Tech to see a nutritionist, an orthopedic surgeon, and a general surgeon.
They were not very optimistic but sent us home with a new diet and directions to keep her quiet and see if the leg would heal on its own. She would never have survived surgery at this point. Xrays showed her bones were weak and she had at least one fracture, possible more. But she was still determined to live.
By the time Kara was five weeks old, she was over the pneumonia, her leg had healed, her bones were better calcified, and she was growing strong. But we were still tube feeding her four or five times a day, as she was unable to eat.
At 12 weeks, we took her to the vet school at Virginia Tech and she had surgery to repair the cleft palate. She came home ready to dig into real food and when she went back for a re-check at 15 weeks, the vets were amazed at her progress.
She still has a small opening in her palate and so snuffles and snorts a little sometimes, but unless it gets worse, we're not going to put her through more. She has been my husband's baby from the get-go and this picture is of them playing on the kitchen floor.
Kara is far from the most beautiful or correct whippet we've ever bred, but she may be the smartest and toughest!