Aronson L. Small Animal Surgical Emergencies:Reproductive System.Oxford: Wiley Blackwell; 2015

Chapman A. Anaesthesia for caesarian section in the bitch: Induction. The Veterinary Nurse. 2011; 2:(1)20-5

Overview of management of the neonate in all animals. 2016. (accessed 10th November, 2017)

Labour and delivery in small animals: Normal Labour. 2018. (accessed 11th February, 2018)

Dugdale A. Veterinary Anaesthesia: Principles to Practice. Pregnancy and Caesarean sections.Oxford: Wiley blackwell; 2010

Anaesthesia for caesarian section in dogs and cats (online). 2016. (accessed on 10th November, 2017)

Canine Dystocia: Medical and Surgical Management. 2007. (accessed 20th July, 2017)

Greer M. Canine Reproduction and Neonatology: Managing the Whelping and C section.Jackson: Teton New media; 2014

John M, Ford J, Harper M. Perioperative warming devices: performance and clinical application. Anaesthesia. 2014; 69:623-38

Lloyd J. Minimising stress for the patients in a veterinary hospital: why is it important and what can be done about it. Vet Sci. 2017; 4:(22)

Lopate C Management of pregnant and neonatal dogs, cats and exotics: Reproduc-tive Physiology of canine pregnancy and parturition and conditions of the periparturient period.Oxford: Wiley Blackwell; 2012

The whelping bitch and paedatrics: Dystocia and anaesthesia of the caesarean patient. 2014. (accessed 22/07/2017)

Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors. 2018.

Patient warming in anaesthesia. 2016. (accessed 10th Vovember, 2017)

Anaesthesia considerations and techniques for caesarean section. 2015. (accessed 9th February, 2018)

Anaesthesia for the caesarean in the dog and cat. 2016. (accessed on 18th July, 2017)

An in depth look: Caesarian section in dogs: Anaesthetic management. 2006. (accessed 9th February, 2018)

Slatter D. Reproductive Complications: Textbook of Small Animal Surgery, 1st ed. Philidelphia: Saunders; 2002

WSAVA. Caesrean section. 2014. (Accessed on 10/11/2017)

Dystocia resulting in Caesarean section of the bitch

02 April 2018
11 mins read
Volume 9 · Issue 3


This article highlights key areas of interest to the veterinary nurse that may deal with a bitch Caesarian section. Prior to the procedure the preparation area for the induction of the bitch and the theatre for surgery should be prepared, and consideration given to the area in which the recovering puppies will be placed. It is important to understand the pathophysiology of the bitch and that her body systems will be compromised during the anaesthetic which could result in morbidity if she is not monitored with vigilance. This condition is not alleviated once the puppies are removed. While resuscitating the puppies it is important to remember that the anaesthetised patient is still undergoing vast systemic changes, and these need to be closely monitored.

Dystocia is the inability to expel neonates through the birth canal (O'Neill et al, 2018). The problem can manifest for a variety of reasons, such as anatomical abnormalities or the inability to perform contractions any longer. In the recent study by O'Neill et al (2018) of 18 758 bitches attending 50 veterinary clinics, there were 701 dystocia cases identified, giving a dystocia prevalence of 3.7%. The most common breeds diagnosed with dystocia cases were Chihuahua (10.7%), Staffordshire Bull Terrier (8.4%), Pug (6.1%), Jack Russell Terrier (6.1%) and crossbred (5.7%). The brachycephalic and toy breeds appeared to be at higher risk of dystocia.

Age was also shown in the O'Neill et al (2018) study to be a risk factor for dystocia: there was increased odds of dystocia among 3 to 6-year-old bitches compared with those aged under 3 years.

Register now to continue reading

Thank you for visiting The Veterinary Nurse and reading some of our peer-reviewed content for veterinary professionals. To continue reading this article, please register today.