21 Sunday July 2019
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C-Sections of Dogs and Cats

Fig.3

What:

  1. C Sections ... also known as a Ceasarean ... is where we surgically remove babies from the uterus.
  2. Usually because the momma dog or cat is having trouble with a normal delivery.
  3. When: usually at 2am.  We, of course, do the surgery when ever it needs to be done in hopes of saving the lives of momma and all her pups if possible.

 

The advantages:

  1. This surgery will often save the life of the momma dog or cat and the babies.
  2. Without this surgery, many dogs and cats die a likely miserable death.
  3. Doing the surgery early enough might save puppies and kittens that would otherwise be born dead.

 

The disadvantages

  1. This is a high risk and expensive surgery.
  2. If we do it too early it may be that if we had just waited a few hours the delivery might have been natural.
  3. On the other hand, wait too long and both the babies and maybe the momma become to weak or toxic to survice the surgery.

 

Consent Form:

  1. At our clinic we will ask you to sign a consent form. Anesthesia and surgery is serious business.
  2. A responsible adult will be asked to sign a consent form designed to inform you that of course there are some risks and expenses involved.

 

Here's What To Expect and Consider:

 

Exam:

  1. to evaluate general health and to check for fever, infection, dead fetus', and hydration status.
  2. A vaginal exam in those pets large enough.
  3. An attempt to determine if the cervix is dilated.

 

Oxytocin Injection: we often try to stimulate contractions in hopes of avoiding a C Section by using combination injections of calcium and oxytocin.

Pre-Anesthetic blood work:

  • Highly recommended to reduce the risk of anesthetic problems in case of undetected diabetes, immune problems, kidney disease or liver disease:
  • All these problems can be associated with late pregnancy.

 

Radiographs:

Needed if we need to know how many fetus' are present.  It can help us tell if there are dead fetus' present.  If dead babies are present, this tells us we should do the surgery quickly.

Radiographs are often done if the momma dog or cat has already delivered but we suspect that one or more babies may be left inside.

Hospitalization: Depends ... may or not be needed.

Bathing and parasite control: only required if your pet is filthy or covered in fleas or ticks.  Having babies can be messy.

Pre-anesthetic sedation and pain medications:

This is a careful subject because of the sensitivity of the babies.

Our goal is to get the babies out fast before they absorb too much anesthesia, sedation, and pain medications from the mother's blood.

If the fetus' are dead or once the babies are delivered, THEN we can certainly use pain medications.

Anesthesia:

Fig.2

 

Anesthesia

for this procedure is especially tricky. Late pregnacy is a time when the immune system is suppressed, hormones are running wild, and many C-Section patients are toxic.  We need good anesthesia and muscle relaxation but we also want Momma awake as quickly as possible to nurse.

Luckily we have some great anesthetic agents that can be reversed.

 

The Surgical Procedure:

       Fig.3Fig.4Fig.5Fig.6

 

  1. I'll keep this description basic; we open up the abdominal cavity, inspect the uterus for tears, adhesions, and necrosis.  We inspect the abdominal cavity for infection and other problems.
  2. We open up the uterus wall and start extracting puppies or kittens, which our assistants take to clear the airways and stimulate.
  3. Once the babies are out, we take special care to suture up the uterus ... or we can remove the ovaries and uterus to prevent future pregnancies.
  4. In our clinic, there is no extra charge to spay at the same time.  Free or not, consider spaying your pet if it needs a C section.
  5. IV Fluids for the Momma: This step saves a LOT of lives. This is a major, major surgery and a lot of fluid is lost. Doing this surgery without fluids is risky.
  6. Post Op Antibiotics: May or may not be needed.
  7. Vitamin and mineral supplementation: May or may not be needed.
  8. But pregnancy, surgery, recovery of the reproductive organs, the hormone changes taking place for nursing, and nursing itself are very stressful and demanding on the body.
  9. Discusssion and Instructions for taking care of the surviving kittens and puppies.
  10. Recheck if there are any problems. Sutures out in 10-14 days.