One afternoon in Vetwest Currambine, Pip was presented by her owners for having labour difficulties after her first puppy was sadly stillborn. Having done their research, Pip’s family knew of the problems which could occur during birth and they brought her straight in to be assessed.

As she entered the clinic doors Pip gave birth to her second puppy! Our vets examined both Pip and her pup and were delighted to find they were both healthy. The vets then performed an ultrasound which showed Pip still had two more puppies to come.

Pip’s dedicated owner stayed with her throughout the day and that afternoon Pip had her third pup, luckily without any issues. Everything was looking good, however, as time passed, Pip had still not delivered her last pup. Another ultrasound was performed and revealed that the last pup was stuck in the birth canal. After failed attempts to gently manipulate it out of the birth canal, a decision was made to undergo an emergency caesarian section to attempt to save the last puppy.

A caesarean section (C-section), is surgery performed to remove puppies from the uterus. Often the uterus may also be completely removed if damaged or to prevent repeat pregnancies in the future. For the anaesthetic, the drugs used have to be chosen carefully as to not affect the foetus still in the uterus and to not contaminate the mum’s milk.

The surgery was successful and the team were able to retrieve the last pup successfully. Pip was then reunited with her first puppy upon her recovery and all pups were safe and healthy with their mum. Pip’s owners report that they are all going well at home.

It is important to be able to recognise birthing problems early. Signs that a dog’s labour is not going well include contractions which have gone on for more than twenty minutes without a puppy born, straining for eight minutes with the puppy in the birth canal, green vaginal discharge, or longer periods between births. If these problems occur then a veterinary assessment is required.

We always recommend to contact your local veterinary team if your dog is due to give birth so we can provide appropriate care and support throughout and after the birthing process.

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