Objectives: To describe the frequency of caesarean sections in a large sample of pedigree dogs in the UK.
Methods: Data on the numbers of litters born in the previous 10 years were available from a cross-sectional study of dogs belonging to breed club members (2004 Kennel Club/BSAVA Scientific Committee Purebred Dog Health Survey). In this survey 151 breeds were represented with data for households that had reported on at least 10 litters (range 10-14,15): this represented 13,141 bitches which had whelped 22,005 litters. The frequency of caesarean sections was estimated as the percentage of litters that were reported to be born by caesarean section (caesarean rates) and are reported by breed. The dogs were categorised into brachycephalic, mesocephalic and dolicocephalic breeds.
Results: The 10 breeds with the highest caesarean rates were the Boston terrier, bulldog, French bulldog, mastiff, Scottish terrier, miniature bull terrier, German wirehaired pointer, Clumber spaniel, Pekingese and Dandie Dinmont terrier. In the Boston terrier, bulldog and French bulldog, the rate was > 80%.
Clinical significance: These data provide evidence for the need to monitor caesarean rates in certain breeds of dog.