Patient in Focus: Lily’s Emergency Caesarean” 

Lily is a 4 year old American Staffordshire Bull Terrier that presented to AdelaideVet in active labour. She had managed to pass one puppy herself in the early hours of the morning but it had been more than 5 hours since the first puppy and Lily was exhausted! She wasn’t showing any signs of trying to push any more out but Lily’s owner knew that she had at least 2 more puppies inside as they had done an x-ray earlier on in the pregnancy that showed multiple puppies.

With this in mind, Dr Susan Hepburn recommended the best way to treat Lily would be to go ahead with an emergency caesarean as there was a high risk that the puppies wouldn’t survive much longer if they were even still alive at this stage.

Dogs, just like people, can be faced with high-risk pregnancy situations and if concerned you should always take your dog to the Vet to be examined.

If we hadn’t gone ahead with this emergency procedure, there would be a high chance that Lily wouldn’t have been able to birth the puppies and that they would have died inside her. This would cause a serious infection causing Lily to then fall ill and need emergency surgery herself to remove them and save her. Dr Susan and the owner did not want to risk this and so decided to proceed with the emergency caesarean immediately.

Dr Susan did a quick ultrasound check to confirm there were more puppies and to determine if they were alive. As suspected, she could see the two puppies the owner had expected Lily to have, but there was no obvious movement. We warned her owner that the pups may have already passed away and we were now focusing on making sure we could save Lily.

Dr Susan took Lily into theatre and proceeded with the surgery. When removing the puppies, Dr Susan could feel faint heartbeats and our fantastic Veterinary Nurses quickly went to work on reviving them.

Much to everyone’s delight both puppies started breathing and were placed in an incubator with the first puppy while they finished up the operation on Lily. The owners decided to desex Lily at the same time as they were not planning on breeding her again.

Once Lily was in recovery, we reunited her with her puppies and all 3 puppies were quickly latched and feeding like little pros.

Lily has been an amazing mother and the puppies are all thriving and are already on the move.

Both Dr Susan, Lily, and Lily’s family are grateful for the successful outcome.

Breeding can sound like fun but there are a lot of responsibilities involved. Owners need to be aware of all the potential risks and costs involved with breeding before deciding to breed their beloved pets.

Routine desexing is vital if you are not planning on breeding your pet. Not only does it prevent accidental pregnancies but also has some medical benefits.

Female dogs are susceptible to a pyometra (womb infection) or mammary tumours (breast cancer) if not desexed early in life. These can result in emergency high-risk surgeries.

Male dogs are also prone to testicular cancer and prostate issues if left entire.

The most responsible thing to do when owning a pet is to have them desexed. If you are a breeder, or are thinking of breeding, research thoroughly and once you have decided not to use your pet for breeding again, desex them as soon as you can.