Dystocia in Guinea Pigs

Key Points

  • The pubic symphysis is a fibrocartilaginous bridge in breeding female guinea pigs. After about 6 months of age in males and unbred females, the symphysis calcifies and becomes permanently fused.
  • Dystocia is most common in sows bred and having their first litter after approximately 6 months of age because the pelvic symphysis is fused.
  • The most common pup-related cause of dystocia is large fetal size.
  • Parturition proceeds quite rapidly in the normal guinea pig. A sow that has been in active labor for more than 10-20 minutes or intermittently for greater than 2 hours is typically in dystocia.
  • The prognosis is poor to grave for guinea pigs that require caesarean section.
  • Prevention of dystocia is much more effective than treatment. Prevent obesity and encourage exercise in the pregnant sow. Closely monitor the sow at Day 65 of gestation or later for pregnancy-related problems.

Dystocia is defined as the inability of a sow to deliver her litter normally. In breeding colonies, maternal mortality and loss of the pup is an important and common problem in the guinea pig. This review article discusses the pathogenesis of disease, gestation and parturition, important differential diagnoses, diagnostics, therapy, prognosis, neonatal care, and prevention. There is also a brief quiz to reinforce learning . . .

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