Anyone who has plans on breeding their dog needs to be aware that it is not uncommon for certain breeds of dogs to require a cesarean section, or C-section. The correct medical term for a caesarian section is hysterotomy. In fact, while more common in some dogs, any dog could need a cesarean section to aid the delivery of her puppies, so this should always be considered as a risk of breeding.
Reasons Why Some Dogs Need a Cesarean Section
If a dog is delivering puppies in a breach position (this being a position where they cannot pass through the birth canal on their own, such as being presented back first), she will require a C-section as otherwise she would die in labor.
Dogs having large headed puppies, such as apple-head chihuahuas, pugs, and so forth, often require a C-section.
C-sections are more common in the toy breeds than in larger dogs.
Some dogs, such as bulldogs, are sent for C-sections automatically, these dogs have small hips, and large headed pups, as well they have a high pain tolerance so it may be hard to tell if a bitch is in trouble until it is too late.
Any dog having distress when trying to whelp (have puppies) should be taken in for an emergency cesarean section.
Dogs who are very young, or very old, are more likely to require a cesarean section.
How Much Does a Canine C-Section Cost?
The cost of a c-section will depend on many things, including where you live, and potential complications. Within the United States and Canada, costs for a canine C-section tend to be $500, to $1,800.
Complications After a Cesarean Section
The bitch must be anesthetized for the procedure and this could affect the pups so the procedure is always done as fast as possible.
Survival rates in healthy dogs are better than 98%, however this is lower in younger dogs, older dogs, and underfed dogs. Mortality rates in the pups are also affected by the mothers condition and how long she was in labor before the C-section was performed, however it averages better than 75% in healthy dogs.
Hemorrhaging is a concern and the dog should be well monitored for signs of this which could include swelling of the stomach, and/or blood shot eyes.
Other risks are mastitis, pyometra, and infection.
Dark green, or bloody discharge, for a few days is common, if there is a strong foul odor, you may want to call the veterinarian.
In most cases the mother dog can nurse her puppies after the anesthesia wears off, however sometimes they cannot, or do not, and the pups must be bottle fed. It is vital they get colostrum which the veterinarian can arrange, after that they require puppy milk replacement. Bottle feeding pups is costly and time consuming.
Some people may opt to have their female spayed (ending her heat cycle and ability to reproduce) at the time of the cesarean section rather than going through this for every subsequent litter.