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June 17, 2009

Canine C-section

Meet Bailey. She is a 4 year old Blue Heeler. She is a miracle dog. About 3 weeks ago she was involved in an accident with a 4-wheeler and presented to us with paralysis of her hind legs. She was unable to move her legs and could feel no pain when we pinched her toes. We referred her on to WSU-CVM for possible surgery on her back. However, a few hours later, she was able to use her hind legs and proceeded to return to normal over the course of a few days. We have no answer as to her miraculous recovery, and neither does the veterinary college.

But that is not why Bailey is here today. Bailey has been in active labor for approximately 12 hrs now and has produced no puppies. It is time to make a decision. Considering the last time she whelped she had to have a c-section, the decision to cut again is unanimous. An ultrasound done at the veterinary college showed that the pups were doing well. We don't want to lose them by waiting longer.

Bailey was hooked to an EKG machine so she could be monitored for the duration of the procedure, anesthetized, and prepped for surgery. A dog's EKG looks similar to the picture you always see of a human pattern. The pattern you see in the above picture looks a little different because we are using an esophageal probe and not clip-on leads to measure the EKG. The dips in the pattern correspond with her respiration.

Bailey is covered with a sterile drape and an incision is made into the abdomen.

Bailey's owner has elected to go ahead and have her spayed during the process. You can see both horns of the uterus above --one puppy is in each horn. There can be many puppies in each horn, but Bailey only has two this time. The uterus with the puppies inside is clamped off and removed and the puppies are quickly taken out of the uterus.

The pups are cleaned up, evaluated, and stimulated to encourage breathing. They are a little sleepy because the anesthesia given to Bailey is also effecting them.

Bailey's abdomen is closed as quickly as possible so Bailey can begin to take care of her new family.

The pups get weighed-13oz each-- big girls! These are not small puppies, no wonder Baily was having troubles.

Within 10 minutes after being removed from the surgery table Bailey is sitting up proudly showing off her girls. All's well that ends well.

(All photos courtesy of J. Meek)