What is a caesarean?

A caesarean, also known as a c-section, is a surgical procedure that is performed to deliver puppies or kittens. This type of delivery is usually necessary when the mother is unable to deliver naturally due to various reasons such as small pelvis, malpositioned babies or weak uterine contractions. The procedure involves making an incision in the abdomen and uterus to remove the offspring. In Australia, veterinary clinics offer caesareans for dogs and cats alike. Typically, they are done under general anaesthesia and involve both pre-operative and post-operative care. During the preoperative stage, blood tests are performed to ensure that there are no underlying medical conditions that may affect anaesthesia. Additionally, we will monitor the mother’s vital signs closely during surgery while ensuring her comfort at all times.

The necessity of caesareans

As pet owners, we want to ensure that our furry friends are healthy and protected. When it comes to the safe delivery of puppies and kittens, a caesarean section may be necessary. In fact, we recommend this procedure when natural birth becomes too risky for the mother or her offspring. During a caesarean section, the veterinarian makes an incision in the abdomen of the animal and removes the young through this opening. This ensures that both mother and babies are safe during delivery.

Caesareans are particularly common among brachycephalic breeds such as:

  • Bulldogs
  • Pugs
  • Persian cats

Their body shape often makes it difficult for them to give birth naturally. While some may argue against caesareans due to their cost or perceived invasiveness, they remain a necessary option for many pets who would otherwise suffer during childbirth or even lose their lives.

How is it performed?

The procedure involves making an incision through the abdominal wall of the mother and then into the uterus. The veterinarian carefully removes each puppy or kitten from its sac and clears its airways to ensure it can breathe on its own. The umbilical cord is clamped and cut, and each newborn is passed over to an assistant who ensures they are breathing well before wrapping them in a warm towel. Caesareans are usually scheduled in advance, allowing time for preparation such as monitoring the health status of both mother and offspring leading up to surgery.

How to prepare for surgery:

Consult with us to determine the best time for the surgery. We will assess your pet’s health condition, evaluate the pregnancy stage, and recommend when to schedule the operation. Make sure your pet fasts before surgery as eating food can pose risks during anaesthesia. The veterinarian may give specific instructions regarding fasting duration depending on their health condition. Additionally, keep your pets hydrated by providing water until 2-3 hours before surgery but avoid giving too much as it can cause vomiting or regurgitation under anaesthesia.

Recovery and aftercare

While it may be concerning for pet owners to see their furry friends go through surgery, the good news is that pets can recover quickly from the procedure with proper care and attention. If your pet has undergone a caesarean section, you must ensure that they receive proper recovery and aftercare to avoid any complications. Here are some tips to help you take care of your furry friend:

  • Keep them in a quiet and comfortable area where they can rest undisturbed for at least the first 24 hours.
  • Monitor their behaviour closely, including eating, drinking, urinating and defecating, as well as any signs of pain or discomfort.
  • Administer medications prescribed by us on schedule and in the correct dosage.
  • Ensure that they have access to fresh water at all times and offer small amounts of food frequently throughout the day.
  • Avoid bathing them until their sutures have been removed or dissolved completely.
  • Limit their activity level for 10-14 days following surgery to allow time for healing.

Healing post-surgery for pets that undergo a caesarean can vary depending on factors such as age, breed, health status, number of babies delivered, and complications during surgery. Generally speaking, healing time for pets that undergo a caesarean ranges from two to four weeks. During this period, it is essential to provide proper care and attention to both mother and offspring to ensure optimal recovery.