Friday, November 24, 2006

Caesarian fun!

Today at work I had a scheduled C-section. This doesn't happen often in our world, but when it does, its usually a bulldog (as was the case today). Bulldogs have been selected by their breeders to have large blocky heads that get stuck on the way out. Most puppies are like little fusiform sausages and are easily pushed out. Bulldogs are more like humans with big noggins that are likely to get stuck. All the c-sections I've done in my career were either bulldogs or little tiny dogs like chihuahuas or yorkies, who don't have the energy to push their puppies out. They usually need emergency c-sections due to uterine inertia.

I had not previously met the owners of today's patient, but apparently they have bred Cairn terriers before and had been to many whelpings. They were very reluctant to turn their dog over to me for the c-section; they wanted to watch. However we are not at all set up for an audience in our little surgery room. Besides, I knew there were 5 puppies, which meant at least 5 nurses in there reviving them. While I am pretty open about doing procedures in front of clients, the last thing I needed was these 3 people in the room, questioning everything ("Is that good or bad? Are you supposed to do that?"). Its not like a human delivery room where the dad (or which ever SINGLE support person) is standing by the mom's head - this would be lots of people who view this dog as their child, and I could tell already they would be touching my sterile field.

I assured them I would keep them as involved as possible and that I would take good care of their baby.

The poor mother-to-be was quite uncomfortable and already in the early stages of labor - pacing, nesting, gagging, grunting. Soon we got her under anesthesia and rolled her on her back to prep her huge protruding belly, the many nipples huge and prominent standing up on the surface.

I had an audience anyway. All the staff stopped by to see the enormous gravid uterus once I pulled it out of the abdomen. Humans have a T-shaped uterus, with one baby (occasionally more) in the main part. Dogs and cats have a Y-shaped uterus with fetuses packed in a row along the "horns." This girl's uterus was about 3 feet long end-to-end, full of pups. I made an incision in the middle and milked the puppies out, one by one, dropping them into the arms of a technician, who revived them.

In short order, all the "quintuplets" were out, squirming and breathing and mewling. Now I was all alone, sewing up her already shrinking uterus and closing the long line on her deflated belly.

Momma woke up after snoozing for about 45 minutes after surgery. She was sitting up looking at me, more relaxed than before the surgery. "Look what I have," I told her, as I brought one of her pups out of the heated padded box they were incubating in. As the pup was aloft in the air it squeeked out. As soon as she heard her baby's cry, that momma stretched out on her side, exposing all her big teats. Soon all 5 pups were attatched and nursing, and momma closed her eyes contentedly. Three boys and two girls.

10 comments:

EdamameMommy said...

Okay, Dr. Martin, now I'm crying. Got great visuals from your descriptions the whole way through. All things bright and beautiful...

chickenflicken said...

That is fantastic!! Those must be the moments that make all that schooling worthwhile. Lucky duck!

Leah said...

I loaded the pictures into the clients hx if you would like to post them as well. I wanted to be more involved but I was not sure what to do. So when you handed me one pup I quickly took it to a more experinced tech and stood back and waited for the little whimpers from each one and cheered to myself.

Emily said...

Wow. Great story.

A.Norma said...

WELL DONE AGAIN!!! clap,clap,clap!! Hooray! xx

peter said...

I am not a dog person, so forgive my naiveté - what exactly do you mean by "reviving" them? Literally bringing tiny newborn puppies back from the brink of death? Or, just getting them free of sacks, and whatnot?

Jennifer said...

Peter, some of these came out kicking right away, but others were a little groggy from the anesthesia. I broke them out of their sacks and passed them to a tech, who vigorously rubbed them down and aspirated fluid out of their noses with a bulb syringe. We also "sling" the puppies - holding them tightly and carefully, using centrifugal force to get the fluid out of their lungs. Its kind of hard to describe without demonstrating it.

Fortunately, none of these guys needed any heroic measures to start breathing on their own. We had dopram, a drug that stimulates respiration, nearby but didn't use it. No mouth-to-snout resuscitation needed this time, either (thank goodness). These puppies were big and vigorous!

Funny, the first time I read your comment I read "getting them free snacks, and whatnot..."

paula said...

Brought a tear to my eye, so lovely.

Stone Island Lady said...

Hi,

My name is Deborah Skipper and I have a 1 lb. 11.4 oz. chihuahua puppy who was 9 months old 3/26. She has her puppy teeth in and her permanent teeth are mostly in. Her mouth looks like a little shark. I'm trying to find someone who has removed chihuahua's teeth before. I'd like to have her spade and the teeth pulled at the same time. My sister lives in Menard Texas and I'm going there for a visit. I'd like to know what you charge for removing a set of baby teeth and the spading. And is it safe for her and can she come home with me afterwards? She is in good health and had her shots to date. She is so small I just want her to be ok. I'd appreciate any input you might have.... Sincerely, Deborah Skipper

Stone Island Lady said...

You just sound like you care about the animals so much and are concerned for their well being and I really want someone to do this that has this trait.... I love her soooooo much and I want what's best for her... thanks again. Deb