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In most cases, dogs and cats deliver their puppies or kittens without issues. However, there are rare situations when delivery does not go as planned.
Several weeks ago, in the early hours of the night, a local family’s dog was in a critical point of labor. The dog, Molly, was in labor for several hours during the day delivering a litter. Molly’s family was in desperate need of assistance to help their dog as she struggled painfully to deliver her litter of puppies. Molly’s family brought her to the veterinary hospital for evaluation. After a sonogram, it was determined that all but one of Molly’s puppies had passed away but the survivor still needed help.
The veterinary team was called to the hospital to help care for Molly and her deceased puppies. Molly was taken to emergency surgery and had an ovariohysterectomy (spaying). Molly is an older dog, and because of her age and the long period of labor, her uterus was severely stretched and strained. During the surgery, there was an excessive amount of bleeding, which extended the surgery time. Molly lost a tremendous amount of blood in the process; her heart nearly stopped. Molly was so weak after surgery that she did not have the ability to clean or nurse her puppy. With Molly in critical condition, she required an emergency blood transfusion in order to restore the critical blood volume she needed. Thankfully, our practice has several dog donors as part of our blood-donor program. After being called in at 1 a.m., a donor dog named Brody was brought to the hospital to help Molly.
Following the blood donation—and around the clock care by the veterinarians at Catskill Veterinary Services—Molly and her puppy survived the night. Molly returned for a one-week recheck following her surgery and she was doing excellent. C-sections happen in all animals and are not something that should be put off or not taken seriously. Once an animal starts labor, their offspring should be born within one to four hours, depending on the species. If you know your dog, cat, horse, goat, cow, or otherwise is pregnant, it is very important to have a birthing plan. You should have a discussion with your family veterinarian so they can provide you with the proper information about caring for the mother and babies. You should also be prepared for an issue, and decide what you’ll do to save the life of a loved pet like Molly.
Joseph A. D’Abbraccio, D.V.M.
Catskill Veterinary Services, PLLC