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   Last updated: 27 Dec 2003

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2.  Community Education for pet owners and breeders

How Your Puppy Can Live Longer

A heavily pregnant bitch unable to give birth should have a Caesarean within 2 hours of labour pains and no puppy.

Which puppy to save?

Doctor, please slow down," Mr Lim,  pleaded for more time.  I had taken out 4 puppies from the Shih Tzu bitch in less than 1 minute and gave them to Mr Lim and his partner to clean up, resuscitate and revive. 

Both were veteran professional canine breeders and their help enabled me to perform a Caesarean delivery of 7 pups in less than 15 minutes.  All I needed to do was to take out the pups and stitch up. It was a pleasure to have competent help.

Emergency Caesarean - Shih Tzu, Toa Payoh Vets

Their pleas reminded me of a Chinese  restaurant which served several dishes at one go, making the diners feel overwhelmed.

This was an emergency Caesarean and time was of the essence. "I can't slow down," I replied. "The puppies are bunched up at the birth canal and just popped out of the incision of the womb." 

The bitch was having labour contractions despite being under general anaesthesia and the puppies just could not wait to be born.

"Increase the dose to the maximum," I shouted to Nurse Ann. "Just for a minute or less and put back to maintenance dose." The anaesthesia normally was sufficient for surgery but this 3-year-old healthy Shih Tzu bitch was not fully anaesthesized.  Such cases do happen to me.  There was no stability for a few of the Caesarean bitches. I would not know why they still had labour pains while under the usual general anaesthetic dose.

The best way was to quickly deliver the puppies. The fourth pup was stuck. Its neck was twisted such that the head pointed backwards when it should Emergency Caesarean - Shih Tzu, Toa Payoh Vets
The right pup would be dead much earlier. The breeder should have focused on saving the left pup.

point forwards.  "This pup might be dead," I said Mr Lim as he took over the puppy to go outside the operating room to revive it.       

Emergency Caesarean - Shih Tzu, Toa Payoh Vets

I lost count of the number of puppies as I kept a close watch on the bitch. It was not breathing well and might die of heart failure at any time. Or just wake up.

The last stitch was done and the bitch just looked at me, as if she had a short nap on Boxing Day morning. 

"2 puppies are dead," Mr Lim lamented. "One was still gasping for breath and I had to put it down to revive the other which was not breathing. Maybe, I should have continued with the first one."

All 7 puppies were of even size and would have grown up well. "Why do you delay over 80 minutes for the Caesarean?" I asked Mr Lim. 

"The bitch was in labour pain for more than 4 hours, such that she passed watery diarrhoea. I had to bathe her. In addition I had to feed the other puppies."

Of the 2 pups, one would have died due tot he delay. The gasping one had the twisted neck and the delay in getting a Caesarean done had caused great distress to the pup which had been positioned incorrectly.  It might or might not be possible to save it.

The transport the bitch to the veterinary surgery usually took less than 30 minutes. This time,  Mr Lim had phoned me to perform a Caesarean 90 minutes later. He misjudged the urgency and got his priorities wrong. He should have  delegated somebody to feed the puppies but he would not do so.  He was a hands-on breeder and was the most productive breeder with many lovely even puppies. 

Still, I felt that, in this situation, he ought to delegate the morning of puppies or let his partner bring the bitch for the emergency Caesarean section.

Extracts from the Book:
How Your Puppy Can Live Longer: 
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS.

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