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Henley and Twyford

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Case Notes: Bronwyn: Nine Basset Hound Puppies by Caesarean
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We all love a Caesarean Section no matter what time of day or night it is and Bronwyn was no exception to the rule! She was admitted to the surgery late one morning because she had gone into labour and had not produced any puppies. This can happen for a number of reasons including breach puppies, large puppies which get stuck in the birth canal, single puppies, or a very tired uterus that is no longer able to contract. Generally, we allow a bitch to have good, active contractions for up to a couple of hours and, if no puppies are produced, and depending on the results of a clinical examination, a caesarean will be performed.

Caesareans have to be performed with care. We have to think of both the mother and the unborn puppies. The aim is to remove them from the uterus as quickly as possible so, that they are not affected by the anaesthetic agents and also to allow the mum to recover as quickly as possible.

Bronwyn had as much preparation as possible before anaesthetising her – this included clipping her abdomen and preparing it to save anaesthetic time. When this was done she was given a very small dose of anaesthetic – just enough to get her to sleep and allow us to put her breathing tube down.

She was then set up onto intravenous fluids. This is important because during a caesarean large physiological changes can occur within the circulatory system and removing large quantities of puppies from an abdomen quickly could easily send her into shock. Once she was dripped and her final preparation had been done she was transferred to theatre for the operation. We had heat pads and plenty of towels ready to go as well as all the nurses we could find!

We always have one nurse whose sole responsibility is to look after the anaesthetic and then we find as many nurses as possible to help with resuscitation of the puppies once they are delivered.


Bronwyns operation was started and the uterus was extracted from the abdomen – it was huge and we knew there were going to be lots of pups. An incision was made into the uterus and one by one the puppies are gently removed. They were handed over to a nurse still in their sacs. The nurses then break the sacs and clear the puppies’ mouths of fluid. They were rubbed vigorously with the towel to stimulate and encourage them to breathe. This can take a while, sometimes four or five minutes or so. While one nurse deals with the first puppy, the next nurse lines up for the second and so on. Bronwyns puppies were like shelling peas from a pod – they kept coming and coming. In total we had nine puppies to resuscitate. All puppies did very well and were soon crying and crawling around. All that remained was to suture Bronwyn up. We used stitches under the skin, which meant the puppies would not interfere with her wound and then recovered her from the anaesthetic.

It took a little while for Bronwyn to recover – carrying nine puppies, going into labour and then having a caesarean had taken their toll on her. We took the opportunity while she was recovering to get the puppies onto her to have a feed. All learnt very quickly what they were supposed to do and soon all had had a good feed.

Bronwyn recovered well enough to be sent home, with all her puppies, about an hour or so later. She continued to do very well at home and the puppies went from strength to strength.


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Henley Vets and Twyford Vets
The Veterinary Centre: 271 Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, RG9 1EL - Phone 01491 574490
Also at Twycombe Lodge, Loddon Hall Road, Twyford, RG10 9JA - Phone 0118 934 0259