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Dystocia in breeding bitches - a welfare concern -


    Dystocia (difficulties in giving birth) frequently requires veterinary intervention.
    Breed-specific characteristics can impact breeding and whelping ability;  dystocia occurs more commonly in some breeds of dogs than others.  Elective caesareans are not uncommon; neither are emergency caesareans, especially amongst large-headed/narrow-pelvic breeds and many toy breeds.
     

    A May 2017 paper, Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors (https://bvajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1136/vr.104108) published in the Veterinary Record provides evidence and insights.

     

    (See more information on this latest VetCompass research below as well as an overview of BVA, BSAVA, RCVS and The Kennel Club's initiatives to gather evidence-based information to be used in creating welfare-conscious breed health management strategies.)

     

     


     

    Background

    THE KENNEL CLUB / BVA / BSAVA / RCVS gather data on cesarean procedures...

     

    In 2010 an article appeared in Vet Times: Vets urged to engage with cesarean reporting system

    Quote

    "Veterinary associations are asking vets to start reporting caesarean operations to the Kennel Club in the new year as part of the profession's commitment to improving dog health and welfare."

    2010 Research

    Proportion of litters of purebred dogs born by caesarean section at:  https://www.researchgate.net/publication/41411612_Proportion_of_litters_of_purebred_dogs_born_by_caesarean_section which describes the frequency of caesarean sections in a large sample of pedigree dogs in the UK. The article states: "The 10 breeds with the highest caesarean rates were the Boston terrier, bulldog, French bulldog, mastiff, Scottish terrier, miniature bull terrier, German wirehaired pointer, Clumber spaniel, Pekingese and Dandie Dinmont terrier. In the Boston terrier, bulldog and French bulldog, the rate was > 80%. These data provide evidence for the need to monitor caesarean rates in certain breeds of dog."

     

    BVA: In 2012 the BVA provided further guidance for veterinary professionals Conformational changes and caesareans: reporting to the Kennel Club.

     

    In May of 2017 a paper, Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors was published in the Veterinary Record.   
        

    Quote

    "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."

    Vet Record: O'Neill, DG., O'Sullivan, AM., Manson, EA., Church, DB., Boag, AK., McGreevy, PD., Brodbelt, DC.
        (2017) Canine dystocia in 50 UK first-opinion emergency-care veterinary practices: prevalence and risk factors
        Veterinary Record 181, 88. (http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/181/4/88)

    From the  Discussion... this...

    Quote

    "study provides strong evidence for pronounced breed predispositions, especially in brachycephalic breeds to dystocia, and highlights some opportunities for veterinary surgeons to become more involved. It has been suggested that there may be financial disincentives for veterinary surgeons to reduce the incidence of inherited diseases because they are paid to diagnose and treat them (McGreevy 2007). However, amid the broader debate about the ethics of breeding morphologically compromised dogs (McGreevy 2009, McGreevy and Bennett 2010), there is increasing evidence of multiple disorders affecting brachycephalic breeds (O’Neill and others 2015) and current veterinary interest in calling for changes to breed standards (Wedderburn 2016). So, it is timely to consider what general veterinary practitioners can do to reduce the welfare impacts of dystocia in high-risk breeds.

     

    2022

    UK: KC: Reporting C-sections and surgeries

     

    Caesarean Bulldog.jpgEditor's note: Cesarean sections remain a concern for many breeds and for breeders - scheduled c-sections are quite common in many breeds. It's no joke; and tackling the problems associated with bitches that cannot deliver pups due to their conformation, age, litter size or for any other reason is a challenge. C-Sections obviously involve acute risks to dams and pups. In humans recent research has shown that, "C-sections were identified as a contributory risk factor for several immunological conditions, including not only childhood maladies but also other disorders that develop later in life (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/how-we-do-it/201705/the-rising-tide-caesarean-births). The human research findings are by no means unequivocal at this point in time. But the human research does give dog breeders yet another aspect to consider when making decisions about breeding dogs that require c-sections or routinely scheduling sections. The long-term effects on dog health for those pups born via c-section, to my knowledge, has not been investigated.


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