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Companion Animal Practice
Normal parturition and management of dystocia in dogs and cats
  1. Angelika von Heimendahl

    Angelika von Heimendahl qualified from Berlin in 1991. She runs the Veterinary Reproduction Service, a private referral clinic in Cambridge. She is a diplomate of the European College of Animal Reproduction and is a board member of the European Veterinary Society for Small Animal Reproduction.

  2. Matthieu Cariou

    Matthieu Cariou graduated from Maisons–Alfort in Paris, France, in 2003. After completing a rotating internship and a surgical internship, he spent a year in private practice in Essex. He is based at the Royal Veterinary College where he is undertaking a threeyear residency in small animal surgery. He holds the RCVS certificate in small animal surgery.


THIS article describes the normal stages of parturition and discusses how to recognise and manage dystocia in dogs and cats. In each case, it is important to have a good understanding of normal parturitic parameters and to maintain good communication with the client. Intuition will also play a part in knowing when to wait and when to intervene, and once it has been established that a birth is not progressing normally, successful management will depend on quick, decisive action to ensure the safety of the bitch or queen and their offspring.

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