Caesarean sections and planed caesarean sections

Need for caesarean section in some breeds approaches 100% and in those breeds (brachycephalics, Scottish terriers and many others) an elective caesarean section is planned. In addition, caesarean section is often also planned in bitches carrying high risk pregnancies. High risk pregnancies are those pregnancies; of large litters (11 particularly in the Boerboel breed), in large breeds carrying singleton or two pup litters, bitches with a history of dystocia and puppy losses and bitches that delivered a litter via caesarean section in their previous pregnancy.

Although properly planned caesarean sections result in good outcome in any breed, caesarean section should best be avoided in bitches that do not really require a caesarean section because a caesarean section in the current pregnancy may increase the need for a caesarean section in the next pregnancy.

Singleton Litters And Two Pup Litters In Large And Giant Breeds

There is ample evidence to suggest that the survival rate of singleton litters and two pup litters in large and giant breeds is vastly reduced. This is because either the bitch does not show any signs of labour of because the pup is compromised or dead by the time she does. These are easy to deal with if we have available an accurately determined predicted day of delivery and are very difficult when we do not have this date. It is best that the breeder discuss the matter once they have discovered  these litters. One big step ahead is to make sure whether the bitch in whelp has a one or two pup litter.

Preparturient caesarean section for bitches with high risk pregnancies in which an accurate predicted day of delivery has been determined using vaginal smears

The timing of an elective caesarean section has conventionally always been done by the bitch starting to show signs of first stage labour. By then in many cases there is already foetal demise and the so called planned caesarean section ends up as an emergency caesarean section with reduced puppy survival. The other problem is that the breeder may either not be available to spot the early signs or the bitch does not exhibit signs of labour or only shows them at night when their owner is sleeping. By then there might be foetal demise. In addition the breeder may then struggle to get hold of after hour veterinary assistance. Even if they do, there is inadequate help to perform the caesarean section making the rendering of a professional service impossible. For these reasons we have developed a unique approach to this problem by planning a preparturient caesarean section. This is only possible if we have established the day of cytological dioestrus which can only be done if we have had access to the bitch to take vaginal smears daily starting from late heat she is confirmed off heat. From this we determine the predicted date of whelp. Assuming we determined that the predicted date of whelp is 13 September 2017, then we will advise that the bitch be admitted for observation from morning of the 10th of September for observation of labour. This is because about 30% of bitches will enter labour one or two days before the predicted date. Those bitches will undergo a caesarean section as soon as it is determined that her cervix has dilated using six hourly examinations. All other bitches that did not enter labour before the predicted date will undergo a caesarean section on the morning of the predicted date. The owner must plan their day such that they are at the clinic about two hours after the caesarean section to collect the bitch and her puppies and ensure that the puppies start drinking colostrum before 4 hours after delivery. If they stay too far away from the clinic then the puppies may be allowed to suckle from the bitch under strict supervision of the owner. These preparturient caesarean section results in better puppy survival at birth and does not affect the bitch’s ability to lactate or raise the litter till weaning age. It does also not affect their future fertility.

Caesarean Section In Bitches For Which There Is No Predicted Date Of Delivery

For bitches in which there is available no timing of ovulation performed by us, we can manage the timing of the caesarean section based on observing the cervix in the days before delivery or by performing progesterone tests during the days before a rough estimate of the delivery date. This is slightly more risky , time consuming and costly but still scores better than waiting until there is an emergency.