Cesarean section is the treatment of choice for all dystocias that can’t be relieved by drugs or obstetrics. Common reasons for C-section include primary uterine inertia associated with postmaturity, physical blockage, and death of puppies in utero.
The decision of when to proceed with an emergency C-section rests with your veterinarian. It is based on the condition of the dam, the length of labor, results of X-rays, the size of the puppies in relation to the pelvic outlet, the dam’s response to oxytocin, and whether the vaginal canal has lost its lubrication.
Because of anatomical make-up, certain breeds are prone to whelping difficulties. These include the Bulldog, Chihuahua, Pekingese, Toy Poodle, and Boston Terrier. C-section may be indicated as an elective procedure in these breeds as soon as the bitch goes into labor.
The operation is done under general anesthesia in the veterinary hospital. The risk of an elective C-section to a healthy dam is small. However, when labor has been prolonged, when the puppies are dead and beginning to decompose, or when the uterus has ruptured, the risk of surgery becomes significant.
Most dams are awake and able to nurse puppies within three hours of surgery and can be discharged from the hospital shortly thereafter.
A dam who has had a C-section may or may not require one with her next litter. This depends upon the reasons for the first C-section.