A Cesarean section involves cutting through the walls of the dam's abdomen and uterus to remove the puppies and is usually resorted to after the dam has been in hard labor for several hours without producing a whelp. The fruitless labor is often the result of a pelvis that is too shallow to allow passage of the whelp, an unusual presentation of the whelp, or a toxic or life-threatening condition for either the dam or her whelps. In recent years there have been great advances in the types of anesthetics used and the methods for administering them, making the risk to the dam minimal, provided she is not in an overly exhausted condition.
During a Cesarean birth, the puppies are affected by anesthetic given to the dam and they are often slow to begin breathing once removed from the womb. Should this occur, artificial respiration, as well as brisk rubbing, will induce breathing, It is imperative that the puppies be kept warm after birth, and it is advisable to place a heating pad set on low or a hot water bottle in the whelping box with the mother and whelps to provide a little extra warmth. The puppies should not, however, be allowed to return to the mother until she is alert and free of the affects of the anesthetic.
Despite a discomfort in the now-stitched abdominal region, the new mother will want her pups near her and nursing to begin. While the milk flow may be temporarily delayed after a Cesarean section, the suckling of the puppies will quickly stimulate milk production. The mother should be closely monitored for the next few days, her temperature taken twice daily, to make sure an infection does not occur. Should he temperature rise to over 102°F, a veterinarian should be consulted immediately. The stitches should be examined daily for signs of inflammation and she should be kept very clean during the healing process. The bedding should be removed and laundered daily.