For women, giving birth through caesarian section is not unusual. But a dog getting surgical assistance to give birth or whelp is certainly not common.
As CityBiz discovered, veterinary clinics are licensed to perform C-sections on dogs at the request of their owners or in case of emergencies. The professional term is ‘Canine Caesarean Section,’ which is not new according to vet Michael Simiyu. He says it is a similar procedure as the one performed on women.
“It is delivery through opening up of the womb. If a person knows how to do it well, then there is no risk. This is nothing new,” said Simiyu, adding that it is merely an operation to remove puppies from the uterus, and is mostly an emergency procedure when natural birth is risky.
“A dog’s gestation period is usually 58-63 days. If it goes beyond that and the dog does not show any signs of labour, then you can take it for a C-section,” he advised.
Simiyu adds that when a dog is in painful labour but is unable to push out the puppies, the owner should do something.
A dog’s C-section takes around 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the dog’s breed.
“The dog should not struggle to push. While performing a C-section can save the bitch and puppies in an emergency, it should never be done as a matter of convenience. It’s not only the surgical risk you would rather not face, but there are also important psychological reasons to avoid pre-emptive caesarean section if possible,” warned Simiyu.
So how is it done? After anaesthesia, the dog is placed on a surgical table, back down. The hair is clipped over the lower abdomen, the skin is scrubbed with surgical soap to disinfect the area and a sterile drape is placed over the surgical site. The vet then performs a mid line incision using a scalpel, similar to that used to spay a woman. However, the incision line will be relatively longer. The uterus will be exposed and then incised to remove the whelps. The puppies are handed to an assistant who clears the airway, stimulates breathing, and administers drugs if necessary. The uterus may be contracted with a hormonal drug and then the incision is closed with stitches that dissolve over time. The dog may stay at the clinic for a day or may leave the same day.
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George Obiero, another vet, told CityBiz that some C-sections are planned if a bitch has a history of delivery problems, such as when one or two puppies are delivered naturally, but the next pup cannot be pushed out for some anatomic or physiologic reason. “Take it to a vet clinic; any qualified vet can do it, because they are trained. But it must be a qualified vet,” insisted Obiero. Price ranges from one vet to another and can cost anything from Sh15,000 to Sh20,000.
If you think you can perform the surgery alone at home, you should tink again. American Ana Berta Ayala-Morales was charged with cruelty to a non-livestock animal after she performed a C-section on her dog at home using a paint utility knife-type blade as she couldn’t afford the vet bill. After removing six puppies, Ayala-Morales sewed up the wounds with standard needle and thread. Five puppies survived.