Not uncommon, mainly in the bitch but occasionally in queens. This was a BIG one! Read more case studies under "Interesting Cases".
Caesarian sections can be necessary due to a pup being wrongly presented and blocking the birth canal, though more commonly in bitches it is done because of "uterine inertia", where contractions stop, despite hormone injections and the pups cannot be pushed forward naturally. This always an urgent operation as pups can die and it is often at night, as with this Irish Wolfhound. She is lying in a "cradle" to keep her straight, due to her very narrow body shape.
You can see her prepped, after anaesthesia (shaved and the skin thoroughly cleaned), then you can see a part of the womb with pups inside. This part only has 3 pups, while the other 5 are still inside. This shows the enormous size of a pregnant womb.
Next, all 8 pups have been delivered and very lively and the womb is being sutured. The nurse has to work hard to clean and stimulate every pup and ensure they are all breathing steadily. They are vigorously rubbed with dry towels for this.
Then you can see the op finished with the bitch sown up! The last photo is of two of the eight pups determined to escape from their heated tub, while we were finishing.
There is always lots of waters, blood and dark staining from "leucoverdin", a greenish black stain produced in the afterbirth by dogs and cats which tends to make everything even more gory! The table and dog need washed down afterwards and even the floor has to be mopped and dried.
The anaesthesia is always special for caesarians so that the pups are least affected by it and start to breathe quickly. We will ask an owner to come back after the op to take everyone home as quickly as possible so that feeding can carry on. Quite a shock for some bitches!