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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 10265
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I have a 3 year old chihuahua, who is pregnant and has

Customer Question

I have a 3 year old chihuahua, who is pregnant and has issues, so we have decided to do an elective C-section. My vet has not done a lot of these and can't give me answers to the servival rate for the pups, she has 4 for sure. she will be 63 day on July
21. Her C-section is on her 62nd day. We are praying she will wait until then. It was the best we could do with the vet. Can you give me any advise as to the servival right for the pups? And anything else I should know. Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about Mitzi hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.
I can understand your concern about her pregnancy and the elective c-section. This is one of the hardest times when breeding: waiting and/or trying to figure out when she might be due to deliver.
To address your specific question about survival for the pups, regardless of whether she delivers naturally or via a c-section, the general rule of thumb is that we can expect about a 10% loss in any one litter. That's not to say that a breeder will lose any pups for any one given delivery since they could all do just fine. But it's also possible that the entire litter could be lost. There's just so many variables to consider and so many things which can go wrong, that 10% is generally what I tell owners and what most breeders have come to expect as "normal".
As to the risks of a c-section, hopefully, your vet will have researched the anesthetic protocol since it's somewhat different than for most surgeries.
I don't advise any pre-op medication for one thing; an IV catheter is placed and fluids started, shave the abdomen as much as possible before surgery, use of IV Propofol to induce anesthesia and then switch to gas once the puppies are out.
The biggest risk to the puppies' survival is the timing of the c-section, not necessarily the c-section itself (if the above protocol is followed): if you're too early, then they may not make it (they aren't developed enough) or if you're too late, they may have separated from the placenta. Hopefully, your timing has been determined 62-65 days from when she ovulated (as determined by testing when she was in heat).
I'd also monitor her for milk production and a decrease in temperature (which typically occurs 10-14 hours prior to natural delivery).
I hope this helps and that all goes smoothly; again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 2 years ago.
I'm just following up on our conversation about Mitzi. How is everything going?
Dr. Deb