What is a C-Section?
A C-section (or cesarean) is major surgery. It involves the removal of puppies or kittens from the uterus of a dog or cat.
C-sections are frequently performed in emergencies when an animal cannot give birth naturally.
The recovery from a C-section is usually quite quick and complications are rare.
Preparing for a C-Section
If it is possible to do so safely, you should consider bathing your pet in the days leading up to the surgery. It may be a while until you can do so again once the surgery is complete. Bathing your pet before the surgery also means that she will already be clean for the surgery itself and once she begins caring for her new puppies or kittens.
Your pet may eat the night before a C-section, but not the morning of the procedure. Water is fine right up until your appointment, as are any medications your pet has to take along with a small amount of food to encourage her to take it. Make sure you discontinue the use of any topical flea or tick products in the week leading up to the surgery.
Your vet will provide specific instructions for pre-operation well in advance.
- Why does my pet need a c-section?
C-sections are usually done in emergency situations for cats and dogs when an animal has been laboring for too long or will otherwise be unable to give birth naturally.
- Are there any risks associated with c-sections?
Complications as a result of C-sections are rare, but there are always risks involved with surgery. Potential complications could include:
- Pyometra: Uterine infection
- Post-operative hemorrhaging
- Anesthetic death
- What can I expect during the immediate recovery period?
Anesthesia should wear off shortly after the surgery. By the time most cats or dogs have returned home, they will have fully recovered from the effects of the anesthetic, however, it is possible for recovery to take up to 6 hours.
During this recovery period, keep a close eye on your pet to make sure that she does not hurt herself or her puppies by falling down or rolling over. Make sure she is fully aware and alert, has begun actively caring for her new babies, and can stand unassisted before leaving her alone.
Your new mom should begin eating within the first few hours of returning home. Make sure she is only having a small amount of food or water at a time, but offer them to her every 15 minutes to a half-hour for the first 24 hours post-surgery. If she eats or drinks too much, however, she could vomit.
During their nursing period, a dog or cat will require lots of food. For the first week post-surgery, she will need around one-and-a-half times her regular amount of food. By the time she's nursing for around 4 weeks, she should be eating anywhere from two to three times her normal amount of food. Make sure she is being fed a higher quality food too in order to give her and her new babies enough nutrition.
Home Care After a C-Section
After a C-section, the new mother and her babies should be closely watched for the first 24 hours to make sure the babies are safe.
You will need to stay up overnight and place the puppies or kittens on the teats of your pet to make sure they feed. This will also help the mother's natural hormones to kick in and encourage her mothering instincts.
You should keep the newborns and mothers in a warm and dry environment. This should ideally include plenty of towels and a source of warmth that is safe for them to be around. As the towels become wet, replace them.
Make sure there is always food and water available, new mothers need up to 3 times their regular amounts of food and water to produce milk for their children.
Keep a close eye on the mother's surgical wound. Monitor for signs of infection like swelling or redness and make sure the area stays clean.
Keeping their bed clean will also reduce the risk of infection, as will checking the umbilical cords for redness or swelling.