What is a C-Section?
A C-section (or cesarean) is major surgery. It involves the removal of puppies or kittens from the uterus of a dog or cat.
C-sections are often performed in emergency cases where an animal will not be able to safely give birth through natural means.
The recovery from a C-section is usually quite quick and complications are rare.
Preparing for a C-Section
If it is possible to do so safely, you should consider bathing your pet in the days leading up to the surgery. It may be a while until you are able to do so again once the surgery is complete. Bathing your pet before the surgery also mean that she will already be clean for the surgery itself and once she begins caring for her new puppies or kittens.
Your pet may eat the night before a C-section, but not the morning of the procedure. Water is fine right up until your appointment, as are any medications your pet has to take along with a small amount of food to encourage her to take it. Make sure you discontinue the use of any topical flea or tick products in the week leading up to the surgery.
Your vet will provide specific instructions for pre-operation well in advance.
Home Care After a C-Section
After a C-section, the new mother and her babies should be closely watched for the first 24 hours to make sure the babies are safe.
You will need to stay up overnight and place the puppies or kittens on the teats of your pet to make sure they feed. This will also help the mother's natural hormones to kick in and encourage her mothering instincts.
You should make sure the environment around the newborns and mother is warm and dry. Ideally, this involves lots of towels and a source of warmth that is safe for them to be around. Replace the towels as they become wet.
Make sure there is always food and water available, new mothers need up to 3 times their regular amounts of food and water to produce milk for their children.
Keep a close eye on the mother's surgical wound. Monitor for signs of infection like swelling or redness and make sure the area stays clean.
Keeping their bed clean will also reduce the risk of infection, as will checking the umbilical cords for redness or swelling.