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Dystocia is the medical term used to diagnose a difficult birthing experience. This condition may occur as a result of maternal or fetal factors, and can occur during any stage of the labor. Abnormalities of presentation, posture, and the position of the fetus within the uterus can negatively affect the temporal relationship between the birthing offspring and the maternal birth canal.
Uterine inertia (inactivity) may be primary or secondary. Primary inertia is symptomized by a failure of the body to commence synchronous uterine contractions, and secondary inertia is symptomized by a cessation of uterine contractions due to uterine fatigue. This latter condition sometimes occurs when labor has gone on longer than the uterine muscles are capable of meeting the demands for.
There are three stages of labor. The first stage of labor entails the start of uterine contractions, relaxation of the cervix, and rupture of the chorioallantoic sac (water breaking). The female dog (bitch) may be restless, nervous and occupy herself in nesting activity.
The second stage of labor is when the fetuses are pushed out by uterine contractions. In dogs the average length of parturition (delivery), from the beginning of stage two to delivery of the first offspring is usually less than four hours. The time between deliveries of subsequent offspring is usually 20–60 minutes, but may be as long as 2–3 hours. It is important to consider this variability before intervening.
The third stage is delivery of the fetal membranes. The female dog may alternate between stage two and three with multiple fetuses being delivered. She may deliver one or two fetuses followed by one or two fetal membranes, or she may deliver a fetus followed by its accompanying fetal membrane.
Symptoms of dystocia:
Predisposing Factors to Dystocia
You will need to give a thorough history of your dog's health, including any information you have about your dog's lineage, and details of any past pregnancies or reproductive problems. Your veterinarian will palpate (examine by touch) your dog's vaginal canal and cervix.
Your veterinarian will take samples for testing; at the minimum, a packed cell volume (PCV), a total protein, a BUN (blood urea nitrogen), a blood glucose, and a calcium concentration measurement. Your dog's blood progesterone levels will also be measured.
X-rays are crucial for determining the approximate number, size and location of the fetuses. X-rays may also show if the puppies are still alive, but an ultrasound can give even more subtle measurements, such as indications of fetal stress, assessing placental separation, and the character of the fetal fluids.
A hormone that is created at the time of pregnancy
The term for the hip and related area
Labor; giving birth
To take the ovaries and uterus out of female animals; makes them unable to reproduce.
A condition of the blood in which the blood is poisoned due to the absorption of poisons
The hollow bodily organ that holds the embryo and fetus and provides nourishment; only found in female animals.
The product of protein being metabolized; can be found in blood or urine.
A type of hormone that is released during parturition that aids in the contraction of the uterus and causes milk to be released
The process of the maturation and release of eggs
The widening of something
The time between estrous cycles
Difficulty giving birth
The period that an animal is pregnant in which the fetus develops from conception to birth
The term for an animal’s young
A cut into the skin that is made by accident
A female dog that has not been spayed.