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 since the pelvic symphysis is fused.
  • The most common pup-related cause of dystocia is large fetal size.
  • Normal parturition proceeds quite rapidly in the 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 is much more effective than treatment of dystocia. 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 a common reproductive problem in guinea pigs. Many variables can increase the risk of dystocia. The most important maternal reason for dystocia is when the sow is bred too late. Female guinea pigs must be ideally mated for the first by 5-6 months, because the pubic symphysis must be open to allow normal delivery of guinea pig pups. Sows can be bred as early as 2-3 months or 350-450 grams body weight . . .

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