Clinical and pathological findings for rabbits with dystocia: 10 cases (1996-2016)

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OBJECTIVE: To characterize clinical and pathological findings of rabbits evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital because of dystocia. DESIGN: Retrospective case series. ANIMALS: 9 client-owned rabbits and 1 wild rabbit with signs of dystocia evaluated at a veterinary teaching hospital from 1996 through 2016. PROCEDURES: Medical records of rabbits were reviewed to collect data on signalment; medical history; physical examination, laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and procedural findings; treatment; final diagnosis; and outcome. Data were summarized. RESULTS: Dystocia in 7 rabbits was successfully managed through medical treatment, assisted vaginal delivery, or both (n = 6) or surgery alone (1); 3 rabbits were euthanized. Primiparous does, does ≤ 4 years old, and does of small breeds (< 2 kg [4.4 lb]) were most common. All client-owned rabbits had clinical signs of abnormal second-stage parturition, whereas the wild rabbit had only hemorrhagic vulvar discharge. Imaging was used to identify the number, size, and state of fetuses in most rabbits. Overall, 35 fetuses were accounted for, 25 of which were dead or later died. The cause of dystocia was determined for 8 rabbits and included fetal-maternal mismatch (n = 4), uterine inertia (2), fetal death or mummification (1), and stress-induced abortion (1). CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Obstructive dystocia from fetal macrosomia with or without secondary uterine inertia was the most common cause of dystocia in the evaluated rabbits. Although medical management was successful for many rabbits with dystocia in this study, surgery could still be required in other affected rabbits, particularly when fetal-maternal mismatch is involved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)953-959
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American Veterinary Medical Association
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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