Greater Houston Boston Terrier Club
Houston Texas Boston Terrier Club

Folic Acid, Cleft Palates, and Whelping Problems
by Tania Coquhoun, from the Boston Terrier News

In 1981 I read an article on the use of Folic Acid, particularly in relation to pregnant women. This article was mainly concerned with the effects of Folic Acid in relieving Post Natal Depression but also referred to the possibitity of lessening labour time and easing delivery. At this time I had been breeding Boston Terriers for 9 years and had encountered a few difficulties with whelping and therefore thought that with my next litter I would try Folic Acid. "Dusty" went to Australia for mating and as this was a very important mating I decided to try anything to increase the chances of healthy pups. "Dusty" still had a ceaser but the 5 pups thrived and seemed to do better than any other litter and the most surprising aspect was that in a litter of 5 there were no Clelt Palates. I continued using Folic Acid with the bitches from that litter and noticed a difference. The death of pups in the early days decreased dramatically. Ceasers continued with "Silva" for no apparent reason, but her litter sister free whelped one litter and had a ceaser for the other two. With the next generation of "Silva's" daughters, we had a ratio of 5 free whelpers to 3 requiring ceasers. One of them. "Melody", had an 11oz. pup naturally but had a ceaser for the remaining pup as she was exhausted. The next time she had one large pup also which required a ceaser delivery. This was now the third generation to have Folic Acid during the nine weeks of pregnancy and in the mothers milk for the next three weeks, then again from the first day of mating for another 12 weeks "Tempo" has whelped five litters:
  1. 5 pups in 2 hours
  2. 4 pups in 1 hour
  3. 5 pups in 1.5 hours
  4. 7 pups in 2.5 hours (last 3 in 20 minutes)
  5. 3 pups in 1 hour

and in all these litters not one clef palate or hare lip. "Shadow" who is only a small bitch has also free whelped 2 litters with no cleft palates. With the fourth and fith generation the story continues with free whelpings out numbering the ceasers. The labours are very much shorter and so far in the last five years I have had only 2 cleft palate pups. I have noticed that if the pups make the first 48 hours they seem to do better and thrive. My veterinarian is so impressed with my results that she has passed them on to other clients. I also discussed the use of Folic Acid with a Naturopath and he showed me a book containing test results on the use of Folic Acid in labour and also on cleft palates. The results emphasized the effects that I achieved with my bitches. Labour time was reduced 30-50%. Tests on white rats showed that even using cleft palate inducing substance that Folic Acid decreased the incidence to almost nil. Last year on the TV News there was an item on research into Spina Bifida carried out at St. Bartholomews Hospital in London. The Doctors found that women who had already had a spina bifida child and therefore almost double the chances of another, if given Folic Acid during pregnancy the risk was decreased dramatically. They recommend that all women of child bearing age should be taking Folic Acid supplements. It appears that most women are deficient in Folic Acid so it follows that the same would apply to bitches. Spina Bifida is the non growth of Bone and lack of closure which also applies to cleft palates. I have been trying to obtain direct from St. Bartholomews the results of their research, but as yet have not been successful, I shall keep on trying! Betty Swick asked me to write this article for Coast to Coast as she was interested in its uses. But I do hope this article will be of use to many fellow Boston Breeders. I should also be interested to hear any comments on its use from those who try it. However, don't forget that it takes u p to 3 generations to achieve the free whelping strain. Dosage: 1.5mg Folic Acid daily from 1st day of mating until 3 weeks afte r whelping. However if cleft palates are a real problem increase dose to 2.5mg tablets daily for the first 3 weeks of pregnancy.



Folic Acid, Cleft Palates, and Whelping Problems.  1992.