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    The aim of this study was to describe the characteristics of cases of feline dystocia presenting to a university emergency service. The medical records of queens presenting for dystocia between January 2009 and September 2020 were reviewed. Data collected included queen signalment, presenting complaints, treatments, and maternal and neonatal outcomes. Clinicopathologic data included serum ionized calcium concentration, blood glucose level, packed cell volume and total solids. Owing to the small sample size, descriptive statistics were used and data presented as median (range). Thirty-five cases were reviewed. Dystocia was attributed to maternal factors in 69% (n = 24) and fetal factors in 31% (n = 11). Venous blood gas data from 19 queens in stage 2 labor revealed that no queens were hypocalcemic (median ionized calcium 5.4 mg/dl [range 4.9-5.8]) or hypoglycemic (median glucose 143 mg/dl [range 78-183]). Medical management was attempted in 21/35 queens. Successful medical management was achieved in 29% (n = 6/21). Thirteen queens underwent surgical management, six of these after failing medical management. Seven queens received no treatment. Fifteen queens were discharged and one queen was euthanized while still in labor. The remaining 19 queens delivered all fetuses with medical (n = 6) or surgical management (n = 13). Maternal survival was 94% (n = 33/35). A total of 136 kittens were born to all queens, with 58% (n = 79/136) born prior to initiation of treatment, 16% (n = 22/136) after medical management and 26% (n = 35/136) after surgical management. Overall neonatal survival to discharge was 66% (n = 90/136). Feline dystocia is an emergent condition that can result in up to 34% neonatal mortality for kittens delivered via both medical and surgical means. Hypoglycemia and hypocalcemia were not precipitating causes of feline dystocia in this population.


    H Grady Bailin, Liam Thomas, Nyssa A Levy. Retrospective evaluation of feline dystocia: clinicopathologic findings and neonatal outcomes in 35 cases (2009-2020). Journal of feline medicine and surgery. 2022 Apr;24(4):344-350

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    PMID: 34124965

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