Emergency vet comes to the rescue during Joy's difficult labour

A late-night dash for help saved a mum and her litter when a birthing went seriously wrong.

Flat-coated retriever Joy needed urgent help when a puppy got stuck last month. But thanks to our team in Milton Keynes she now has NINE beautiful pups to nurture.

Owners Phil and Jill Butter, from Buckinghamshire, have long been lovers of the breed, with Joy their sixth flat-coated retriever.

They’ve bred twice some years back with their other pets, but this was three-year-old Joy’s first litter.

Image of flat-coated retriever with her pups for Vets Now article on dog gives birth to nine puppies
Flat-coated retriever Joy needed urgent help from our emergency vets when a puppy got stuck

“We hoped it would go well and when she had five puppies without any trouble, we thought it was all going smoothly,” said Phil, 56.

“But then it all stopped and we were getting really concerned when it got to two hours and Joy was pushing but nothing was happening.”

The couple had turned to Vets Now when one of their previous dogs had got into difficulties and needed a Caesarean section, so they knew exactly who to call.

They rushed Joy straight to Vets Now in Milton Keynes, one of our nationwide network of hospitals and clinics open every night, and day and night at weekends and bank holidays for pet emergencies.

Because of strictly followed Covid-19 restrictions, they were met in the car park by vet Iva Nikolova who took Joy inside to carry out a full examination.

Image of Joy the flat-coated retriever for Vets Now article on dog gives birth to nine puppies
Joy's owners rushed her to Vets Now in Milton Keynes as they had used our service before

“I could feel that there was a puppy which I feared was dead,” said Iva. “I administered some medication and then carefully managed to get it out.

“I was doing an ultrasound scan when things started to move again and I delivered another male, very much alive and active.”

An anxious wait in the car park ended for Phil and Jill when they found out about the new arrivals, and more were to follow.

“We had been pretty distressed, but it was such a relief when Iva came out with Joy and this new puppy,” said Phil. “We were so happy. Then, while Iva was still there with us, Joy went on to have another two puppies.

“I’m so glad Iva was around while all this was going on as we were so worried about Joy. We knew she was in good hands.”

The couple were allowed to take Joy and the puppies home and a final, ninth, puppy was born soon after they arrived back.

Image of Joy's nine puppies for Vets Now article on dog gives birth to nine puppies
All nine of Joy's pups

“Even when the puppies are born, you are always concerned, but they have put on weight and come on really well,” added Phil, 56.

“Joy has been a great mum and we’ve been feeding her up as it obviously took a lot out of her. We’ve always kept a pup from each litter and we’ll keep a girl again, so this will be the first of a new generation.

“They’re so friendly and playful and just great family pets. They are a bit naughty, though, and we had the police here once when Joy somehow managed to dial the emergency services on the phone!”