37 Dystocia

Telephone enquiries regarding possible cases of dystocia are relatively common in companion animal emergency practice. Owners are often anxious and distressed at these times and veterinary staff must have a good understanding of normal gestation and parturition in order to provide sound logical advice.

Theory Refresher

Normal gestation and parturition

The bitch


Labour is divided into three stages.


The incidence of dystocia in dogs and cats is reported to be approximately 5% and dog breeds that may be at increased risk include chondrodysplastic and brachycephalic breeds, especially Pugs and Bulldogs, as well as Scottish terriers, Boston terriers, Yorkshire terriers and the Chihuahua. Dystocia is most common in short-faced breeds as well as Devon Rex and Siamese cats. Primary uterine inertia is the most common cause of dystocia in dogs and cats and is a maternal cause. Other maternal causes include mechanical obstruction (e.g. due to narrowing of the pelvic canal secondary to healed fractures), maternal anxiety and systemic illness. Foetal malpresentation is the most common foetal cause of dystocia in dogs and cats. Others include foetal oversize, malformation and death.

Clinical Tip

Sep 3, 2016 | Posted by in SMALL ANIMAL | Comments Off on Dystocia

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