Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Dystocia

Contributor(s): Adam Dunstan-Martin , Paul Wood

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Introduction

  • Dystocia is a subjective term used to describe abnormal parturition.
  • Dystocia has a high cost both economically and in terms of animal welfare.
  • Calves experiencing dystocia have an increased risk of death and disease compared to those born without problems.
  • Cows experiencing dystocia have in increased chance of culling, disease and reproductive failure as well as having lower milk yields.

Normal birth

  • 95% of calves are born in anterior presentation.
  • 2% of pregnancies in cattle involve multiple births.
  • Progression of a normal birth is as follows:
    • Stage 1: dilation of the cervix, duration approximately 24 h.
    • Stage 2: expulsion of the fetus, duration - up to 2 h in cows, up to 3 h in heifers.
    • Stage 3: expulsion of the fetal membranes, should occur within 8 hours of the fetus being born.
  • Dystocia is characterized by problems in the first, or more commonly second stage of labor.

Causes of dystocia

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Incidence of dystocia

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Approach to dystocia

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Mutation (obstetrical manipulation)

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Traction

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Medical treatments available to the obstetrician

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Fetal dystocia

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Maternal dystocia

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Fetomaternal disproportion

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Barrier A C, Haskell M J, Birch S, Bagnall A et al (2013) The impact of dystocia on dairy calf health, welfare, performance and survival. Vet J 195 (1), 86-90 PubMed.
  • Mee J (2008) Prevalence and risk factors for dystocia in dairy cattle: A review. Vet J 176 (1), 93-101 PubMed.
  • McGuirk B J, Forsyth R & Dobson H (2007) Economic cost of difficult calvings in the United Kingdom dairy herd. Vet Rec 161 (20), 685-687 PubMed.
  • Wittum T E, Salman M D, King M E, Mortimer R G et al (1994) Individual animal and maternal risk factors for morbidity and mortality of neonatal beef calves in Colorado, USA. Prevent Vet Med 19, 1-13.


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