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Distocia – Difficulty Giving Birth

In most potential emergencies, we will want you to bring your pet in for us to triage and determine the severity of the condition and how we can help. If your pet is in labour, please call the hospital BEFORE coming in. The reason for this is simple — if your cat or dog is not in distress or having issues, by bringing her into the hospital will create potential problems for the safety of the mother and her litter. If you call first, we can triage over the phone and determine if your pet needs help.

The following are some examples of issues that may arise:

  1. My pet has a green discharge — It is perfectly normal, and you should see this. Green is good! Smelly and pus-like are not good.
  2. My pet has been pushing for 30 minutes — The pet may deliver a puppy or kitten very quickly, but it may take 30 to 60 minutes for the little one to show its face. Be patient and give the Mom a chance. Any hard pushing over 60 minutes needs to get to the hospital immediately.
  3. I have seen a pup in the birth canal for 15 minutes — it is not normal if this occurs get to the Veterinarian immediately.
  4. It has been 3 hours since she delivered the last kitten — that is okay. The mother may take up to 4 hours between deliveries as long as she is resting and not contracting or pushing.
  5. The animal is chewing at herself aggressively. The birthing process is painful, but at no point should the animal self-mutilate. It is a sign there is something very wrong.
  6. The temperature and/or progesterone level dropped 24 hours ago, and nothing has happened yet. Not all people will be testing for these things, but if you are anything past 24 hours is a sign for alarm.
  7. My pet is having tremors. Any fever, tremors or vomiting is a clear sign that your pet is in distress and needs help from the Veterinary Team.

If your birthing pet does need to come in, we will do our best to assist the natural birthing process but be aware 70 – 80% of animals that come to the hospital will need a Cesarean Section. Be sure to bring all puppies that have already been delivered with the Mom to the animal hospital. No pup is to be left behind.

Written by: Darlene Cannon, RVT

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