So… today we decided to perform a c-section on a rescue dog. She was aready carrying when she was picked up by the rescue, so we had to guess how far she was. Her amniotic fluids were basically gone today and the heartrate of the puppies started to slowly decrease, so we decided to go for the c-section since mom didn’t look like she was willing to give birth anytime soon. It’s always a huge disadvantage not knowing when exactly she started her pregnancy and all the puppies were facing the wrong direction, too.
You never want to perform unneccessary c-sections and usually you try to leave them inside of mom as long as possible. Heartrate and amniotic fluids are the key factors in the decision against or for a c-section. … Well, and knowing which day of pregnancy mom is, but running out of amniotic fluids and a decreasing heatrate usually go hand in hand with going over term.
We got 5 puppies, all of them alive. 2 girls and 4 boys and no cleft palates.
Unfortunately that’s about as far as the good news go. All 5 puppies are unusually small and underdeveloped for the amount of amniotic fluids mom had. So either mom didn’t produce enough fluids or the puppies didn’t develop properly. They definately look slightly preterm, would’ve needed about a week or so more, but probably wouldn’t have made it that long inside of mom.
Furthermore 2 of the puppies (both girls) have defects. One has a crooked front leg. The other one has a crooked hind led and is missing her eyelids on the left. Like I said: all of the are alive, all of them started breathing on their own properly after waking up from anesthesia, BUT if they’ll actually make it… nobody knows.
It’s actually quite interesting both puppies from the left side of the uterus where noticably bigger and stronger than all 3 puppies on the right side. Both deformed puppies are the smallest of the bunch, but not neccessarily the slowest – the one with intact eyes was actually very much moving around while she was still at out clinic, more so than two of her siblings. The big boy might have the best chances of survival: he seems to be the furtherst developed, is the largest and has no deformities.
If mom accepts the puppies chances of survival are going to increase, but it’s very uncerain if at least some of them will make it. We don’t know what exactly went wrong, but it’s pretty save to say something definately went wrong during development. You see defects every once in a while, but having 2 out of 5 puppies with deformities is actually quite a lot and keep in mind all them were more or less underdeveloped for their estimated age and stage of progression.
C-sections are usually our preferred type of operation, because it’s a wonderful feeling to bring life into the world. I assisted this operation, I gave them their first injection to wake them up from anesthesia (since mom is sleeping from the drugs, the babies inside her are obviously sleeping as well and need to be woken up, too) and I saw them taking their first breath, rubbed them awake and felt their very first kicks not even minutes old. It’s very heartbreaking seeing one deformed puppy after the other, but all we can do is take them as they come and do out best to help them survive.
You always remember the babies you helped to bring into the world. We have some dogs visiting our clinic that were born via c-section years ago in our operating room and you can’t help but smile when you remember that you saw them the very second they were born, that you were part of the reason they were able to live in the first place.
C-sections are not common practice and should never be, but every birth is special.