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Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

Uterine Inertia in Dogs

Uterine inertia presents a situation where the pregnant female dog struggles to deliver her puppies due to the lack of contraction in the uterine muscles, preventing the expulsion of the fetuses from the uterus.

Symptoms and Types

The primary indication is the failure to commence the birthing (parturition) process by the conclusion of the standard gestation period. Frequently, the patient remains lively and attentive, showing no signs of distress. Occasionally, the female dog may give birth to one or two fetuses in a normal manner, after which labor halts, despite additional fetuses remaining in the uterus.

Causes

The causes include abnormal responsiveness of uterine muscles to the body’s hormonal cues, hormonal imbalances, obesity, insufficient exercise, obstruction in the reproductive tract (such as the vaginal canal), oversized puppies, and improper fetal positioning within the reproductive tract.

Diagnosis

If your dog has exceeded her expected delivery date or has partially delivered her litter with no further progress in labor, seeking veterinary consultation is imperative to prevent complications. Your veterinarian will consider your dog’s overall health and birthing history.

The initial examination involves assessing your dog’s physical and mental well-being and providing a calm environment to encourage labor progression. Rectal temperature will be measured to determine the stage of labor; a drop in temperature indicates imminent labor onset. Routine tests include a complete blood count, biochemistry profile, electrolyte analysis, and urinalysis.

In cases of primary uterine inertia, test results often appear normal, though some animals may exhibit low calcium and blood glucose levels in the biochemistry profile. Calcium is crucial for muscle contractions, including those of the uterus, so low calcium levels suggest treatment direction.

If feasible, hormonal levels, particularly progesterone, will be assessed from a blood sample. Low serum progesterone levels aid in diagnosing uterine inertia. Abdominal X-rays or ultrasound scans will evaluate fetal number, positioning, and heart rates. Depending on the findings, labor-inducing drugs may be administered, or cesarean section may be necessary for puppy delivery.

Treatment

Upon initial diagnosis, medications aimed at stimulating uterine contractions will be administered. Multiple injections may be necessary, with continuous monitoring of the mother’s condition. Intravenous fluids may be utilized to deliver medications and supplements while maintaining hydration.

Optimal levels of calcium and glucose are essential for normal uterine contractions. If your dog shows low levels of these substances, intravenous therapy will be initiated. However, not all dogs respond positively to medical intervention. In such cases, prompt cesarean section surgery is performed to prevent fetal distress and ensure the safety of both the puppies and the mother.

Living and Management

During the period leading up to the due date, as well as during and after labor, your dog requires adequate rest in a stress-free setting. With prompt medical intervention or surgical treatment, the overall prognosis for both the mother and her offspring is typically favorable.

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