Objectives: To estimate the incidence and breed predilection for canine dystocia using data from insurance claims. The risk factors for cesarean section (CS) were assessed for bitches with dystocia.
Study design: Retrospective, longitudinal study.
Sample population: Insurance claims records (1995-2002) from a Swedish animal insurance database (Agria), including approximately 200,000 bitches.
Methods: The overall incidence rate of dystocia in insured bitches was calculated by dividing the number of reimbursed dystocia claims with the number of dog years at risk. Subsequently, incidence rates were stratified by breed, region, and habitat. The proportion of bitches with a dystocia claim that had CS were calculated, and risk factors for CS were assessed using a logistic regression model.
Results: Between 1995 and 2002, 3894 (2%) of 195,931 Swedish bitches included in the study had a reimbursed insurance claim for dystocia. The overall incidence rate of dystocia was 5.7 cases/ 1000 dog years at risk. Some breeds like the Scottish terrier were at increased risk of dystocia. Among bitches with dystocia, 63.8% were treated by CS.
Conclusion: Dystocia in the bitch is more common than reported earlier. The risk of developing dystocia varies by breed, and a high percentage (63.8%) of affected bitches undergo CS. Clinical Relevance- Breeders and veterinarians could use this information to better predict which bitches are likely to experience dystocia and/or CS.