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Planning Your Bitch’s C-Section

What should I do before her surgery?

Three days before her surgery, please apply an Adaptil (DAP) collar. These come in 2 sizes, and emit a pheromone that we believe helps with maternal skills, for 4 weeks.

A day or 2 prior to her surgery, you may wish to bathe her if you can do so safely. This means she will be cleaner for surgery and for taking care of her puppies. You may also wish to shave part of her abdomen; we will shave only the additional coat required for a sterile surgery field.

Please feed her dinner the night before her surgery but no food the morning of her surgery. She may have access to water until she is ready to travel to our office. If she is on any medications, she may have those the morning of her surgery, with only enough canned dog food or cheese to coat the tablet. Ask if you have questions about specific meds. Please do not use any topical flea and tick products on her within 1 week of her due date. She should have her Adaptil collar placed on her 3 days prior to her c-section.

What should I bring along the day of her surgery?

Please bring the following with you to her c-section, for safe transport of your bitch and new litter home: 

1. Your cell phone.
2. A tarp to cover the seats or floor of the car/van.
3. A large crate for the bitch.
4. Blankets and towels.
5. Heating pad and inverter to run the heating pad.
6. Laundry basket or ice chest to take the pups home in.
7. DeeLee mucus trap in case she whelps en route.

What happens the day of my bitch’s c-section?

She will have the following procedures done by our highly trained technical staff: 

1. Evaluation for active labor.
2. Radiographs (x-rays) and/or ultrasound.
3. A small area on her front leg will be shaved for this.
4. Medications ordered by the veterinarian caring for her.
5. Shaving for her surgery.
6. Blood tests drawn and ran
7. Wrapping her tail

What happens during her surgery?

You are welcome to stay throughout her time with us. At times, she will be moved to areas of the hospital for her care; however, you may be with her as much as possible based on her needed care and that of other patients and clients in our hospital at the time. If you prefer, you may leave and return after the pups are delivered to take all home. We do not provide attended overnight care for bitches or puppies so will require you to make arrangements for this care in your home.

Our highly trained staff is very skilled at neonatal resuscitation and care and we ask you allow the staff to do what they do well without interference as the first few minutes of life require specific and well-orchestrated care for maximal puppy survival outcomes. We have developed systems and protocols that are highly effective in assuring the best possible outcomes for your puppies and bitch. Once the pups are stable and thriving, you may participate.

pet c section & pet hospital in Florida

After the pups are resuscitated, the staff will remove placentas, begin umbilical cord care, proceed with record keeping, and treat any pups with medical conditions as directed by the veterinarian. They will be moved to one of our incubators.

After the bitch’s surgery is completed, she will be moved to our surgery recovery area. She will be on IV fluids, a heart monitor and will be monitored by our staff until she is recovered. If possible, we will assist you in helping her pups nurse for their first meal.

What do I need to prepare before surgery?

In advance of your scheduled c-section, we recommend you have your whelping area ready.

This includes:

• Having a quiet warm area of your home for the nursery.
• Whelping nest or other heated area.
• Wading pool.
• Whelping and neonatal care supplies:
• Rectal thermometers.
• Room thermometer
• Heat source, avoiding heat lamps as they're fire hazards.
• Puppy formula.

• Tincture of iodine for umbilical cord care.
• Puppy scale.
• Record keeping system for weights, temps, urine, etc.
• Marking system for puppies – avoid neck bands.
• Feeding tube.
• Medi-nurser baby bottle.
• Bulb syringe and DeeLee Mucus trap.
• Disinfectant for the whelping box. m. Dewormer.

Thanks to Dr. Marty Greer for sharing this valuable content from her Breeder’s Library
Her book “Canine Reproduction & Neonatology” is invaluable to breeders and is available on Amazon.