In dogs and cats, a caesarean section can be performed for many reasons – including maternal-fetal disproportion and uterine inertia – as an elective or emergency procedure. Several different surgical techniques have been described and the dam may undergo an ovariohysterectomy at the same time. Regardless of the situation, the outcome for both the dam and the offspring should be positive if there is an understanding of the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and their impact on anaesthetic management, good preparation before the procedure and a neonatal resuscitation protocol in place. This article outlines the physiological changes that have the greatest impact on anaesthetic management for a caesarean section and describes anaesthetic protocols for use before, during and after the procedure.
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