Dystocia refers to abnormal or difficult birth. The condition occurs more commonly in certain breeds. To determine the appropriate therapy, the cause of dystocia obstructive vs nonobstructive must be determined and the condition of the animal assessed. A thorough history regarding breeding dates, previous parturitions, pelvic trauma, etc, is desirable.
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Dystocia refers to abnormal or difficult birth. The condition occurs more commonly in certain breeds. To determine the appropriate therapy, the cause of dystocia obstructive vs nonobstructive must be determined and the condition of the animal assessed. A thorough history regarding breeding dates, previous parturitions, pelvic trauma, etc, is desirable. The animal should be examined for signs of systemic illness that, if present, may necessitate immediate cesarean section.
The normal vaginal discharge at parturition is a dark green color; abnormal color or character warrants immediate attention. A sterile digital vaginal examination should be performed to evaluate patency of the birth canal and the position and presentation of the fetus es.
Radiography or ultrasonography can determine the presence and number of fetuses, as well as their size, position, and viability. Medical management may be considered when the condition of the dam and fetuses is stable, when there is proper fetal position and presentation, and when there is no obstruction.
If no response follows, a cesarean section should be performed. Surgery is indicated for obstructive dystocia, dystocia accompanied by shock or systemic illness, primary uterine inertia, prolonged active labor, or if medical management has failed. From developing new therapies that treat and prevent disease to helping people in need, we are committed to improving health and well-being around the world. The Merck Veterinary Manual was first published in as a service to the community.
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Dystocia in Small Animals
Canine dystocia is a common problem that increases the risk of mortality to the dam and stillbirths for the pups. Understanding the risk factors for dystocia and stillbirth can help guide decision making to improve outcomes of whelping management. This study aimed to 1 evaluate risk factors for canine dystocia; and 2 assess risk factors for stillbirth in puppies, by examining all whelpings and puppies born in two breeding populations of guide dogs for a defined period of time. Dystocia risk factors were evaluated using a repeated measures model on 2, litters with an overall dystocia rate of Risk factors identified for dystocia were colony, litter size, and age of dam.
Identifying Risk Factors for Canine Dystocia and Stillbirths