Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors

O'Neill, D G and O'Sullivan, A M and Manson, E A and Church, D B and Boag, A K and McGreevy, P D and Brodbelt, D C (2017) Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors. VETERINARY RECORD, 181 (4).

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Abstract

Dystocia can represent a major welfare issue for dogs of certain breeds and morphologies. First-opinion emergency-care veterinary caseloads represent a useful data resource for epidemiological research because dystocia can often result in emergency veterinary care. The study analysed a merged database of clinical records from 50 first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices participating in the VetCompass Programme. Multivariable logistic regression modelling was used for risk factors analysis. There were 701 dystocia cases recorded among 18,758 entire female dogs, resulting in a dystocia prevalence of 3.7 per cent (95 per cent CI 3.5–4.0 per cent). Breeds with the highest odds of dystocia compared with crossbred bitches were French Bulldog (OR: 15.9, 95 per cent CI 9.3 to 27.2, P<0.001), Boston Terrier (OR: 12.9, 95 per cent CI 5.6 to 29.3, P<0.001), Chihuahua (OR: 10.4, 95 per cent CI 7.0 to 15.7, P<0.001) and Pug (OR: 11.3, 95 per cent CI 7.1 to 17.9, P<0.001). Bitches aged between 3.0 and 5.9 years had 3.1 (95 per cent CI 2.6 to 3.7, P<0.001) times the odds of dystocia compared with bitches aged under 3.0years. Certain breeds, including some brachycephalic and toy breeds, appeared at high risk of dystocia. Opportunities to improve this situation are discussed.