One Vet's Opinion: Why Do We Breed Dogs Who Can't Give Birth Naturally?

For Some Breeds, It's the Rule

In most cases, however, it’s because the pets in question possess an exaggerated cranial conformation — so much so that their heads can’t breach the birth canal. Bully dog breeds, flat-faced cats and others whose heads are disproportionately large, broad and shortened are the most common candidates for mandatory C-sections.

Which raises the question: Why are we propagating any breed of dog or cat whose very survival requires a procedure most veterinarians agree isn’t the preferred approach?

Not all veterinarians harbor a distaste for the procedure. To wit, I once attended a conference at which a board-certified reproductive specialist made the case for routine C-sections. In her presentation, she effectively claimed that it was a widely accepted and scientifically verifiable truth that both pups and human babies are better off getting cut out rather than being delivered vaginally.

Theoretically, it’s debatable. But this point of view isn’t the norm, I assure you. Most of us would prefer to stay out of the cesarean business. And we mostly would if not for medical emergencies, mismatings or pets so genetically challenged they can’t give birth without human intervention.

To be sure, C-sections save lives. Whether we’re talking about humans or pets, getting babies outta there fast is imperative in some instances. But do we really need to actively breed pets who can’t live without them?

I think not. But then where would civilization be without all those super-cute Bulldog puppies to adorn ads, T-shirts and sofas?

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