The first question to be asked is when should one consider presenting the mother dog to the veterinarian because of a difficult labour period. In the column of June 9, we mentioned some factors associated with the consideration as to the best time to get your vet involved.
The rule of the thumb should be that if 20-24 hours of unproductive labour have elapsed, almost surely a caesarian operation should be performed. A caesarian section (operation) is the procedure of choice for any type of arrested labour which cannot be relieved by medication or obstetrical manipulation. Such an operation should be carried out even sooner, if there is a mechanical blockage (eg a puppy stuck in the birth canal) that cannot be easily corrected.
The decision ultimately rests with the veterinarian. Consideration will be given to the condition of the dam; length of labour; how many puppies can be delivered by instruments (usually not more than two because of subsequent swelling of the birth canal induced by the instruments); the size of the puppies in relationship to the pelvic outlet; failure to respond to injections of the drug which makes the muscles in the uterus contract; and whether the vagina canal has become dry.
Because of their anatomical make-up, certain breeds – such as the English Bulldog, Chi-huahuas, Toy Poodles and Boston Terriers – are prone to whelping difficulties, and caesarian section may be indicated as an elective procedure as soon as the cervix dilates. If you own one of these breeds, discuss with your veterinarian the possibility of the need for surgical intervention.
Caesarian section is an operation done under general anaesthesia in your vet’s clinic.
The risk to a young healthy dam is not great. However, when labour has been unduly prolonged, when toxicity is present, when the puppies are dead and beginning to decompose, or when uterine rupture occurs, the risks become significant.
The surgery itself is not dangerous, nor is it fraught with great difficulties. But please bear in mind what I have said in the previous paragraph. The dog or cat must be placed in deep anaesthesia. The vet would have, as best he/she can in the short space of time, prepared the animal for surgery.
Since a lot of biomass (foetuses, placenta and fluids) is being removed, blood will flow back into the space created. The animal might experience a shock (blood flowing to the abdominal/pelvic cavities and not to the brain). I would imagine that as part of the preparation for surgery, the vet would have introduced the animal to a drip.
Usually a bitch is awake and stable and able to nurse her puppies at home within a few hours of the operation.
If a bitch has a caesarian section, she may or may not require a caesarian section with her next litter. This depends upon the reason for the first caesarian section.
Many bitches who have had one caesarian section are able to have normal vaginal deliveries the next time they become pregnant. Of course, if you want to be on the safe side, you should discuss the matter with your vet. He/she might recommend that the entire womb and ovaries be taken out (ovariohysterectomy). In this way, the bitch would never come in heat again, therefore no mating, no pregnancy and no puppies.
Enjoy your week!
Please implement disease preventative measures (vaccinations, routine dewormings, monthly anti-heartworm medication, etc) and adopt-a-pet from the GSPCA’s Animal Clinic and Shelter at Robb Street and Orange Walk, if you have the wherewithal to care well for the animals. Do not stray your unwanted pets, take them to the GSPCA’s Clinic and Shelter instead. If you do not wish your pet to have puppies or kittens, you may exploit the GSPCA’s free spay and neutering programme. If you see anyone being cruel to an animal, or if you need any technical information, please get in touch with the Clinic and Shelter by calling 226-4237.