At our Germantown Animal hospital, we perform both scheduled and emergency c-sections for Cordova and Memphis cats and dogs.
A c-section (caesarean section) is major surgery during which puppies or kittens are removed from the uterus of a dog or cat.
We perform c-sections in emergency cases where the animal has difficulty giving birth naturally.
Most animals recover quickly and without complication from this procedure.
You must monitor the new mother and her puppies/kittens constantly in the first 24 hours after surgery to ensure the safety of the babies. This will require staying up overnight and placing the puppies or kittens on the teats to ensure that they feed, and that the mother’s natural hormones become activated to induce her mothering instincts.
Keep the environment warm and dry using plenty of towels and a safe source of heat. Replace towels regularly if they become wet.
New mothers need lots of fluids, and up to 3 times their normal dietary intake to produce all the milk for the new babies. Ensure ample food and water are always available.
Monitor the surgical wound. Check for signs of infection, like redness or swelling, and keep this area clean to avoid infection.
Keep the bed clean to minimize infection risk.
Check the umbilical cords to ensure that they are clean and not swollen.
C-sections in cats and dogs are usually preformed in emergency situations, where the animal has been labouring for too long.
A day or two prior to her surgery, you may wish to bathe your pet if you can do so safely, as it may be some time before you can do so again. This means she will be cleaner for surgery and for taking care of her puppies/kittens.
You can feed her the evening before, but not on the morning of her surgery. She may drink water on the day of the surgery until it is time to go to the vet. If she is on any medications, you may give her those the morning of her surgery as well, with only just enough canned food or cheese to coat the tablet. Do not use any topical flea and tick products on her within a week of her due date.
Your vet will give you specific pre-operation instructions well in advance.
Complications during a c-section procedure are rare. That said, there are risks with any surgical procedure, Cesarean section included. Complications of c-section include:
The anesthetic should wear off quickly after the surgery. Most cats and dogs are fully recovered from anesthesia by the time they go home. Complete recovery from anesthesia may take two to six hours.
During anesthesia recovery period, closely monitor your pet so that she does not fall and hurt herself, or roll over on top of the newborn puppies. Before leaving her alone with the puppies/kittens, ensure that she is completely awake, able to stand on her own, and that she has taken an interest in caring for her babies.
Your pet should begin eating within a few hours of arriving at home. For the first 24 hours after surgery, offer her small only amounts of food and water at frequent intervals (every 15 to 30 minutes). If she eats or drinks too much or too quickly, she may vomit.
You'll find your dog or cat needs to eat a lot of food during the nursing period. For the first few weeks, she should eat about one-and-a half times her normal amount. By the third or fourth week of nursing, her food intake may be up to two to three times the normal amount. She should be fed a premium, high-quality food during nursing in order to provide sufficient nutrition for her and her litter.