Neonatal resuscitation in the puppy and kitten | VETgirl Veterinary Continuing Education Videos

In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education video, we discuss neonatal resuscitation in the puppy and kitten. If you just performed a Caesarean-section in a dog, learn how to help save these critically ill, tiny neonates with supportive care. VETgirl’s mantra? Remember the 4H’s with neonates: hypoxemia, hydration/hypovolemia, hypothermia, and hypoglycemia.

Puppies delivered via C-section must be delivered quickly to minimize hypoxia and respiratory depression secondary to dystocia and anesthesia. When a C-section is being performed, the team should be ready and prepped to immediately stabilize the puppies. Ideally, one puppy per team member. Staff should help minimize nosocomial infection by wearing gloves and using precautions. As hypoxia is one of the leading causes of neonatal death, oxygen supplementation is warranted. The puppy should be handed off quickly, provided flow-by oxygen supplementation, and stimulated with rigorous thoracic massage. Doxapram historically has been used, but is no longer recommended, as it will increase the oxygen demand of the respiratory muscles. In hypoventilating puppies, the acupuncture point in the nasal philtrum can be stimulated with a 25-gauge needle. The oral cavity and nasal passages should be cleared of secretions using a bulb syringe. Swinging a puppy is no longer recommended, as this can lead to dangerous head and neck trauma. Puppies should be quickly dried off and provided heat support (e.g., Bair huggers, Hot dog, etc.), being careful not to overheat the puppies. In poor-doers, puppies can be given a drop of 50% dextrose under the tongue. Those puppies who are persistently bradycardic can be given a drop of epinephrine under the tongue. Lastly, the umbilicus should be tied off with suture and dipped in iodine to reduce the risk of infection.

The puppies should be monitored frequently, and allowed to nurse off the mother (if available) once she is fully awake and recovered. The mother and puppies should be discharged to the owner as quickly as possible once stable, to help minimize risk of infectious disease. Check out our other VETgirl videos to learn more!

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