American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

American Blue Lacy Dog Blog

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Doppler Heart Monitors

A layman simply can’t….and I really do mean can’t…… determine fetal
distress using a hand held doppler. There are three primary reasons for
decelerations of the fetal heart tones and two of them are benign and
common. First) head compression of the fetus causes decelerations of the
fetal heart tones and rather dramatic ones. Heads are always compressed as
they come down through the cervix. Second) Cord compression causes
decelerations of the fetal heart tones and those types are even more
dramatic than the ones caused by head compression. Cord compression is
common and is positional in nature. The only kinds of decelerations of
fetal heart tones that actually signal fetal distress are usually….. …not
always, but usually….. quite subtle and almost impossible to hear and track
with a doppler. I’ve worked with OB docs who couldn’t see them on a fetal
monitor strip because they are so subtle. It takes classses, and a lot of
experience to actually be able to tell the difference between the three
types of fetal heart tones decelerations. Working with laboring moms, fetal
monitors, ultrasound machines and dopplers was my full time career for well over 25 years. I’ve worked in normal labor/delivery, high risk
labor/delivery and have delivered more babies than I like to remember, and I
can’t determine fetal distress with a hand held monitor on a human mom with one baby, much less a litter. Another thing that is true, but surprising is that you also cannot determine the strength of a contraction by looking at
an external monitor strip. It’s the first thing you learn when you start
taking the monitoring classes. Can’t be done…not by me, a vet, an OB doc
or a company renting human fetal monitoring equipment for use on dogs. Dogs have Braxton Hicks contractions just like people do, and there isn’t an
external monitor invented that can tell the difference between a normal
Braxton Hicks contraction and a laboring contraction. I know this is going
to be hard to believe…but it is 100% factual information. However, dogs
all over the US are being subjected to unnecessary c-sections because of
these monitors and the companies that are convincing dog breeders that you can determine things from monitors that you honestly can’t determine.”
*Myra Harris

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