Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Busy Sunday Evening

Sunday evening turned out to be busy at the Arthur Veterinary Clinic! The three veterinarians (myself, Dr. Linda Harmon-Dodge and Dr. Scott Nebergall) take turns being on call and handling emergencies. But many times, we all chip in to help when a real critical case comes in or more than one emergency happens at the same time. Well....that's what occurred on Sunday. Dr. Linda was on call and she called Dr. Scott to assist with a possible canine c-section. Well, much to every one's surprise, when the client arrived at the clinic, he brought two female dogs for possible c-sections. So, not to feel left out, I arrived at the clinic to help along with our assistant/receptionist, Jeannie.

Those of you familiar with breeding dogs already know that a bitch can need a c-section for different reasons. For the most part, we recommend a c-section if it has been four hours or longer between puppies or if a bitch has been in hard labor for over an hour. We also recommend a c-section if we detect fetal distress with an ultrasound. Some breeds are more prone to needing c-sections such as bulldogs, Boston terriers, chihuahuas to name a few.

A c-section is performed much like an ovariohysterectomy (spay) except the ovaries and uterus are not removed. The female is anesthetized. We adjust our anesthetic protocol when performing a c-section. You have to remember that any anesthetic given to the mother can be absorbed by the unborn fetus. It is vital that the induction of anesthesia and the delivery of the pups is performed quickly and efficiently. This greatly improves your chances of delivering live, vigorous puppies. An incision is made on the ventral midline and the uterus is exposed. The number and location of the pups will dictate where the incision is made in the uterus. Most of the time, pups can be delivered through two uterine incisions but occasionally, a third incision is needed. The pups are delivered into the waiting hands of our "neonatal team".....which incidentally can be experienced veterinary technicians, veterinary assistants, receptionists, husbands, wives and children. Everyone involved and associated with the AVC has helped deliver c-section puppies! The pups are then rubbed, stimulated and if need be, resuscitated. Hopefully, the end result is live, healthy puppies. While the neonatal team tends to the puppies, the surgeon is suturing the uterus, body wall and skin.

Our c-section party was successful! The first mother-to-be was "Caramel Sundae", a three year old Chihuahua weighing a whopping six pounds! "Caramel Sundae" had one live pup on her own late Sunday morning. On examination and ultrasound, one of the pups showed a weak heart beat. Since it had been over 4 hours since her last pup, the decision to deliver via c-section was made. Three live pups were delivered but the one with the weak heart beat did not survive. The other two pups and mother recovered nicely, though. Here's a couple of pictures of "Caramel Sundae" and her three pups. All doing well and went home later Sunday evening.

And this is "Karen", a four year old Shih Tzu weighing in at 13 pounds. Karen had whelped two live pups on her own but had also failed to have any more pups. The ultrasound revealed two live pups in Karen's uterus and since she had not shown any signs of labor for over four hours, off to surgery she went. Two more live pups were delivered. These pups were healthy and strong. Mom and brood also went home later in the evening.

So, even though we had not planned to spend Sunday evening at the clinic, it was very satisfying to deliver four healthy, live puppies!!

1 comment:

  1. How sweet and what a nice ending to an emergency situation. Those tiny pups are adorable. ALMOST makes you want one! My girl, BTW, is doing very well today and recovering nicely from her stitches and her ordeal.