Most animals give birth without any complications. However, mothers occasionally need help with delivery. We usually attempt to resolve the problem using medical therapy first, but when that doesn’t solve the issue, we will perform a caesarean section.
Certain breeds such as brachiocephalics (persians and persian crosses, and bull dogs or similar breeds), tend to require more C- Sections due to the head size of the puppies, compared to the size of the pelvis in the mommy. Other complications can occur as well, just like in human births. One of the primary reasons we advise not breeding very young pets is to avoid a difficult delivery.
During a c-section, the mother is given an anesthetic. An incision is then made along her abdomen and through the uterus to retrieve unborn puppies or kittens. In some situations, we may recommend that the mother be spayed during this procedure, usually for her safety and to prevent future problems of this nature.
Dogs and cats can often become pregnant without our knowledge. There are certain times during the pregnancy where it is very easy to visualize skeletons on an x-ray or fetuses (with heartbeats) on an ultrasound. There are other times where this can be more difficult. An inaccurate history from owners is often why early pregnancies are missed, as although the pet may have been bred on one day, they actually were without the owner’s knowledge, also with their spouse days earlier or later. This means that the choice of tests we use to diagnose a pregnancy at a certain part of the pregnancy, not be ideal for that trimester, and result in a false negative. It is often very difficult for owners to know for sure and it is always important for owners to tell the veterinarian that they are not sure if their pet has been naughty when they were not around!
If you have male and female puppies or kittens growing up together, it is very important to separate them before they are 5 months of age, to prevent dangerous pregnancies in females that are still children themselves.
Ask our veterinarians about a good breeding program for your pets, and where possible avoid delivery problems for your pets.