What is a C-Section?
A cesarean section (or c-section) is a major veterinary surgery. It involves the removal of a litter of kittens or puppies for the uterus of a cat or dog.
Most often, c-sections are performed in emergency situations where a pet isn't able to safely give birth through natural means.
The recovery from a C-section is usually quite quick and complications are rare.
Preparing for a C-Section
If it is possible for you to do so safely, you should consider giving your pet a bath in the day leading up to a scheduled c-section surgery. It may be a while before you can do so again.
Bathing your pet before their surgery also means that they will already be clean and ready for both their surgery and for caring for their babies.
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 most often conducted in emergency situations for dogs and cats when they have been laboring for too long or won't be able to safely give birth.
- 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 to keep a close eye on her to help her avoid falling onto or rolling over her puppies or kittens. Make sure she is aware and alert of her surroundings and has begun actively caring for her babies before you leave 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 the period where your dog or cat will be nursing. They will require lots and lots of food. By their first week after surgery, they should be eating about one-and-a-half times as much food as normal. After a month, she will need two or three times her normal amount. Try and make sure she is being fed higher quality food too if you can to help her babies get as much nutrition as possible.
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 have to remain awake overnight and place your pet's new puppies or kittens on the teats of your pet. This will help her natural hormones to kick in and encourage her mothering instincts.
You should make sure the environment around the newborns and mother is warm and dry. Ideally, this involves lots of towels and a source of warmth that is safe for them to be around. Replace the towels as they become wet.
Make sure your pet has food and water available to them at all times. New mothers require up to 3 times their regular amounts of food or water to produce enough 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.
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