What is a C-Section?
C-sections (or cesarean sections) are a relatively common major surgery. It involves the removal of kittens or puppies from the uterus of your dog or cat.
We will often perform c-sections in emergency cases where it becomes apparent that an animal will not be able to give birth safely through natural means.
Recovery from c-sections are generally quite quick and complications associated with these procedures are quite rare.
Preparing for a C-Section
If it's possible for you to safely do so, you should consider bathing your pet in the time leading up to their scheduled c-section. It may be a little while before you are able to do so once again after their procedure. Bathing your pet before their surgery also means that they will already be clean for the procedure itself and once she starts caring for her kittens or puppies.
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?
Both emergency and scheduled c-sections are done in situations where dogs and cats aren't able to give birth safely through natural means. The difference between the two is how early we are able to identify potential issues or concerns.
- 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 your pet's recovery period, make sure you keep a close eye on her to help ensure that she doesn't hurt herself or her puppies by rolling over or falling down. Make sure she is fully aware and alert of her surroundings, can stand on her own and has begun caring for her babies before leaving her alone with them.
Your new mom should begin eating within the first few hours of returning home. Make sure she is only having small amount of food or water at a time, but offer them to her every 15 minutes to 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 round 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 your pet's c-section procedure, the new mother and her babies should be closely monitored for the first 24 hours after the surgery in order to ensure that her litter stays safe.
You will have to remain awake with your pet overnight and manually place the puppies or kittens onto the teats of their mother to ensure they get fed, This will also be able to help the mother's natural hormones to kick in and encourage her mothering instincts.
You should make sure that the environment around your pet and her newborns is dry and warm. This will ideally involve a lot of towels and a source of warmth that is safe for them to be in proximity to. Make sure you replace each of the towels as they become wet or soiled.
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.
Always Welcoming New Patients
At Newkirk Family Veterinarians, we always accept new patients into our veterinary family. Our veterinarians are passionate about the health and well-being of Egg Harbor Township pets. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment.