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.
An experienced team will gather as many supplies as possible before a C-section. Here is a non-exhaustive checklist.
- Paperwork (records, forms)
- Complete list of pre-calculated drug dosages
- Various syringes and needles
- Various endotracheal tubes
- 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
Phil Zeltzman, DVM, Dipl. ACVS
Some of the supplies you'll need for a safe pet C-section.
- 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