Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Predisposing factors to dystocia

Dystocia is when the ewe or doe has a prolonged delivery or has difficulty delivering her offspring without assistance. It is a contributing factor in the deaths of many females and their offspring.

Predisposing factors to dystocia include:
  • Malpresentation of offspring: one or two legs back is most common.
  • Heavy offspring in relation to the breed, size, and age of the female.
  • Single offspring are heavier and more likely to be incorrectly presented.
  • In some breeds, males have more dystocia.
  • Some breeds or lines within breeds have more dystocia problems.
  • Labor is longer in first-time mothers.
  • Females which are too fat may have an over-sized fetus.
  • Females which are too thin may become exhausted during delivery.
  • Stress or disruption during labor can cause the female to stop pushing or result in prolonged labor.
Lambs and kids born after difficult or prolonged deliveries may be compromised and need assistance. Ewes and does that have been assisted with difficult births are at risk for developing uterine infections.

Source: adapted from Dystocia of Sheep, Scottish Agricultural College

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