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C-Sections in Dogs

Watching your dog give birth can be an awe-inspiring experience, but what if she needs a c-section? Today, our West Salem will discuss c-sections in dogs, such as signs of birth complications, how to prepare for the procedure and more.

When should I seek emergency help if my dog is in labor?

If it's been approximately 64 days since your dog became pregnant, it's now time for her to give birth. There are a few signs to watch for that can indicate that your dog is in labor. 

You might notice that your dog is more restless than normal and she may begin to paw or nest at her bed when it's time for her to give birth. 

She'll likely have limited to no appetite starting about 24 hours before going into active labor. Your dog may start to vomit and you might notice mucus discharge. She may also start to lick her vulva. All of these things are normal for natural labor and are not symptoms to be concerned about. 

Signs of Complications

While your dog may be able to give birth with little to no help from you, but sometimes complications can occur and you'll need to bring your dog to our West Salem vets. To determine if your dog needs extra help from you and the vet, we'll share some symptoms to look out for. 

If she has been pushing for extended periods, this is one of your first clues. While pushing can take time, it should not take your dog more than 45 to 60 minutes to deliver each puppy. Contractions should not last more than 45 minutes before the first puppy. 

Is your dog exhibiting signs of extreme pain or fatigue, vomiting and excess bloody discharge? It may be time to seek medical attention as your puppy could be stuck in the birthing canal, blocking all other puppies from being delivered as well. 

Though the amount of time between each puppy may vary, these intervals can last as long as 4 hours. If you know, can see, or feel that your dog has more puppies to deliver but it's been more than 4 hours since the last puppy was born, it's time to head to our animal clinic as soon as possible. 

When are elective c-sections recommended?

While it's very common for dogs to go through healthy pregnancies and birth generally goes unassisted, an elective c-section surgery may be recommended in some cases. Your dog may need a scheduled c-section if:

  • Puppies are larger than average,
  • She is only having one puppy. If there is only one puppy, your dog may not produce enough cortisol to induce natural labor,
  • Your dog suffers from any health conditions that can affect labor,
  • If your dog needs a c-section it should be scheduled 63 days from her ovulation which would put the procedure about 24 hours before your dog's due date.

How many c-sections can a dog have?

When it comes to how many c-sections a dog can have, there is no set answer but many breeds believe that a dog should not have more than 2-3 c-sections in a lifetime. Having more than 3 could affect the health of your dog and their future puppies.

How to prepare your pet for a c-section? 

There are a few things that you should do leading up to your dog’s c-section;

  • Stop using flea/ tick medications 1 week before your dog’s c-section,
  • Apply an Adaptil (DAP) to her collar 3 days before the c-section,
  • You're going to want to bathe your dog a few days before the c-section (2-3 days). It is better to have your dog as clean as possible for the surgery. Also, it could be a while before you can bath her after the surgery,
  • Your dog can not eat on the day of the c-section,
  • If your dog is taking any medications you must speak with your veterinarian before the c-section for instructions on how to proceed with them, 
  • Your dog should only have water before the c-section.

What to bring to the surgery? 

You will need to prepare a doggy "go-bag" before you take your dog for her c-section. This bag should include;

  • Your cellphone and cellphone charger,
  • A tarp to put down on your car seat for the drive to the vet's office, 
  • Blankets and towels, both for comfort and cleaning,
  • Your dog's crate,
  • A heating pad for the puppies,
  • A basket or box to carry to the puppies' home afterward.

What happens on the day of the surgery? 

When you take your dog to the vet’s office the staff will be ready to start and your dog will be taken in for surgery. Once in the surgical suite, your dog will be given general anesthesia. Then the vets will start your dog’s c-section.

After the puppies are resuscitated, the vet will remove the placentas, then begin taking care of the umbilical cords, they will take notes on each puppy as they are delivered, and treat any puppies that appear to have medical conditions. The puppies will be moved to an incubator or warming area for a short time. Once the puppies have all been cleared, you can take them home.

How much can a c-section cost?

The cost of your dog's C-section can change due to several factors including the dog pet's size and breed, your dog's age, and if they have any health issues that could cause complications.

What should you expect during the recovery period?

When you take your dog and the new puppies home, you will need to monitor your dog and her puppies carefully. The vet will provide you with detailed instructions on caring for and monitoring the puppies and mom, as well as any pain medications prescribed for your dog. 

It is important to follow your vet's instructions carefully! They can help you spot any issues right away and prevent any further complications.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you suspect your dog is having problems during labor or may need a c-section? Contact our vets at West Salem Animal Clinic.

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West Salem Animal Clinic is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of West Salem companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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