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. Multivariable logistic regression modelling was used for risk factors analysis. There were 701 dystocia cases recorded among 18,758 entire female dogs, resulting in a dystocia prevalence of 3.7 per cent (95 per cent CI 3.5–4.0 per cent). Breeds with the highest odds of dystocia compared with crossbred bitches were French Bulldog (OR: 15.9, 95 per cent CI 9.3 to 27.2, P<0.001), Boston Terrier (OR: 12.9, 95 per cent CI 5.6 to 29.3, P<0.001), Chihuahua (OR: 10.4, 95 per cent CI 7.0 to 15.7, P<0.001) and Pug (OR: 11.3, 95 per cent CI 7.1 to 17.9, P<0.001). Bitches aged between 3.0 and 5.9 years had 3.1 (95 per cent CI 2.6 to 3.7, P<0.001) times the odds of dystocia compared with bitches aged under 3.0years. Certain breeds, including some brachycephalic and toy breeds, appeared at high risk of dystocia. Opportunities to improve this situation are discussed.
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Provenance: Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed
Funding D.G. O'Neill was supported in this work by an award from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. The Kennel Club Charitable Trust took no role in the study design, in the collection, analysis and interpretation of the data, in the writing of the report or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Competing interests D.G. O'Neill is funded at the Royal Veterinary College by an award from the Kennel Club Charitable Trust. A. O'Sullivan and A.K. Boag are employed by Vets Now.
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