Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Guinea Pigs

Dystocia

Synonym(s): Delayed parturition, Difficult parturition, Difficulty giving birth

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, David Perpinan

Introduction

  • Cause: usually due to incomplete relaxation of the pubic symphysis due to its fusion and ossification.
  • Signs: labor contractions with no results, bloody or greenish-brown discharge.
  • Diagnosis: signs of contraction followed by cessation.
  • Treatment: if uterine inertia: subcutaneous fluids with supplemental calcium, oxytocin at 1-2 U/animal IM; if due to overlarge/malformed fetuses or lack of symphysis spreading, the caesarean section.
  • Prognosis: usually good with caesarean section.
Print off the Owner factsheets on Breeding from your guinea pig and The pregnant guinea pig to give to your clients.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • Usually due to incomplete relaxation of the pubic symphysis due to its fusion and ossification.
  • In guinea pigs, the pubic symphysis fuses after 7 months of age. If the sow has not had a litter prior to that time, the fusion may make it impossible to pass full-term fetuses; it is recommended that sows be bred at 5-6 months of age to prevent this narrowing from happening.
  • Additional reasons:
    • Obesity; lack of abdominal press.
    • Pregnancy toxemia Pregnancy toxemia, either metabolic or ischemic.
    • Large litter.
    • Malformed, usually abnormally large or large heads fetuses.
    • Uterine inertia.

Predisposing factors

General

  • Obesity.
  • First time sow - may be nervous, restless.

Specific

  • Bred after pubic symphysis has fused.

Pathophysiology

  • May be impossible to pass pups if pubic symphysis has fused and birth canal too narrow; should be at least 2.5-3 cm spread.
  • If pregnancy toxemia has developed, may not be able to complete parturition.
  • Uterine inertia due to large numbers of fetuses, malformed fetuses, calcium deficiency to the uterus (preeclampsia type of metabolic condition), pregnancy toxemia Pregnancy toxemia.

Timecourse

  • Usually 2-24 h prior to parturition the symphysis separates.
  • After contractions begin, pups should appear within 2-3 h at most.
  • May be in distress as early as an hour after contractions start or discharge develops.

Epidemiology

  • Herd management that leads to obesity in sows may have more dystocias.
  • If breeders are disturbed frequently, may see more of this problem in stressed sows.

Diagnosis

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Treatment

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Prevention

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Outcomes

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Minarikova A, Hauptmann K, Jeklova E et al (2015) Diseases in pet guinea pigs: a retrospective study in 1000 animals. Vet Rec 177 (8) PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Carpenter J W (2013) Exotic Animal Formulary. 4th edn. Saunders.
  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Johnson-Delaney C (2010) Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Degus and Duprasi. In: BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets. 5th edn. Eds: Meredith A & Johnson-Delaney C. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 28-62.
  • Hrapkiewicz K & Medina L (2007) Clinical Laboratory Animal Medicine an Introduction. 3rd edn. Blackwell Publishing. pp 175.


ADDED