This pictures shows a female dog having a cesarean section. The vet cut the dog open and pulled out the uterine horn full of pups and then cut the pups out of the horn. There was a dead pup in this litter inhibiting a natural birth.
There were also 6 healthy puppies. A cesarean section was needed because of one dead puppy in an otherwise healthy litter.
The mother dog (dam) had been in labor for a long time. It became apparent that something was wrong. After the vets spent about 4 hours of water breaking and internal examinations an experienced mid woof was asked to do an internal. She could feel the puppy. When applying pressure to the pup she could press and make an indent, but like play-doh, it did not pop back out as it would in a live puppy. She was pretty sure the problem was a dead pup inhibiting normal delivery and she was correct. A c-section was needed to save the other healthy puppies.
The pup had been cleaned up for the photo. She was in a sack full of meconium and was not a pretty site. This photo shows the head of the dead pup bent down. The dead puppy was very very stiff. On a normal whelp the nose would come out first, or feet for a breech birth. Usually when a dam pushes out a puppy the pup is long, skinny and somewhat flexable. This puppy had its head bend down and it was stiff, making it 2 to 3 times thicker as a live puppy as the head, neck, front paws and the chest were stiffened together.
This puppy was not flexing like the others. It was like pushing out a brick vs. pushing out a water balloon. The circumference of the head coming out bent down like that is MUCH larger around than a head coming out nose first. A stiff puppy is very hard for the dam to push out, where as a wiggling soft, flexible puppy helps with the delivery.
Although this section is based on a whelping of an English Mastiff, it also contains good general whelping information on large-breed dogs. You can find more whelping information in the links above. The links below tell the story of Sassy, an English Mastiff. Sassy has a wonderful temperament. She loves humans and adores children. An all-around mild mannered, wonderful Mastiff, Sassy, however, is not the best mother toward her puppies. She is not rejecting them; she will nurse them when a human places them on her to feed, however she will not clean the pups or pay any attention to them. It is as if they are not her puppies. This litter is getting mom’s milk with major human interaction, manually giving each and every pup what they need. In return, the pups will be super socialized and will make remarkable pets, however the work involved is astounding. It takes one dedicated breeder to keep this situation healthy. Thankfully this litter has just that. Read the links below to get the full story. The pages within include a wealth of information that everyone can appreciate and benefit from.