Pet C-Section Checklist

Find out the secrets to a happy and safe pet C-section with this checklist.


Phil Zeltzman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS

This article first appeared in the July 2013 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Read the first part here.

Secrets To A Happy C-Section

  • Be prepared and work quickly. Preparation and speed count.
  • Correct hypotension and any acid-base and electrolyte imbalances.
  • Create two or three teams: surgery/anesthesia and “baby resuscitators.”
  • Withhold analgesia until after babies have been delivered.

C-section Risk Factors

A large study found seven factors that negatively affect survival of canine neonates. They are:

  • emergency (as opposed to elective) surgery
  • brachycephalic breed
  • more than four puppies
  • a few puppies had a natural delivery
  • some puppies were malformed
  • xylazine was used
  • some puppies had difficulty breathing spontaneously or didn’t cry at birth

Factors that improved the outcome included using propofol and not using halothane.

C-section Checklist

An experienced team will gather as many supplies as possible before a C-section. Here is a non-exhaustive checklist.

Anesthesia Team

  • Paperwork (records, forms)
  • Complete list of pre-calculated drug dosages
  • Various syringes and needles
  • Various endotracheal tubes
  • Laryngoscope

Surgery Team

  • Surgical blades
  • Scrubbing supplies
  • Extra gauze squares and lap sponges
  • Sterile towels
  • Suction (machine, hose and tip) Warm irrigation fluids
  • Towels on the floor to help cleaning up
  • Suture material
  • Retractor


C-Section Surgical Supplies

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS

Some of the supplies you'll need for a safe pet C-section.

Nursing Team

  • Neonatal stethoscope
  • Neonate sized mask attached to small Ambu bag
  • Heating pads
  • Oxygen source for babies
  • Bulb syringes or “snot sucker”
  • Extra sterile hemostats (1 or 2 per neonate), suture and needle holder to tie off umbilicus
  • Comfy box or laundry basket for the newborns
  • Warm towels
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