Sandy is a 9 year old Terrier who came to see us after getting into difficulties while giving birth to her first litter of puppies. Sandy began labour at home and had given birth to two puppies when the third puppy became lodged in her birth canal. Her owners called us for advice and we recommended bringing her straight down to the clinic.
When Sandy arrived, Dr Raj sedated her and removed the trapped puppy from her birth canal but sadly the puppy did not survive. Sandy was given a dose of oxytocin to encourage contractions to see if there were any more puppies to follow. When no more puppies were suspected to arrive, Dr Raj recommended x-rays to confirm. The x-rays revealed two more puppies were still to come, one of which was in breach position. The best option for Sandy and her owners at this time was for a caesarean section to be performed. This involves anaesthetising Sandy and surgically removing the young ones from her uterus. Sandy's owners agreed so Dr Raj and Dr Tanya, assisted by nurse Sommer, proceeded with the surgery.
Nurse Sommer monitored Sandy's vital signs and anaesthetic depth while the veterinarians removed the two puppies. As they were removed they were handed to nurses Dee and Rebecca. Newborn puppies need to be stimulated to breathe, normally the mother does this by licking them vigorously. The nurses had to simulate this by continuously rubbing them with soft warm towels for several minutes until they started to breathe and to cry. These can be a nervous few minutes but eventually the two puppies began to breathe on their own. They were then fed puppy milk replacer until they could feed from their mum.
The rest of Sandy's surgery went smoothly and she was allowed several hours to recover before being introduced to her new babies. The puppies were introduced gradually, one at a time to have a feed to minimise stress to the new mother.
Sandy and her four babies are doing very well at home and have come in for regular check ups. Sandy is turning out to be a very good mum despite her age and inexperience. Reservoir Veterinary Clinic recommends desexing all cats and dogs to avoid unplanned litters and to minimise the risks associated with pregnancy and birthing.