Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost
39 Veterinary Answers
Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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What are Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems?

If your dog is displaying signs of labor and it is close to her due date, you should monitor her for a while. If she produces a dark green liquid (placental fluid) from her vagina make an appointment with your veterinarian right away. Similarly, if your dog has already birthed at least one puppy, but stops for an hour or more even though she has more puppies to birth, you need to call your veterinarian right away. In some cases, a stalled labor can be due to your dog’s individual situation, such as having been ill or stressed, or if she is a toy dog breed. No matter what, if you feel your dog is having trouble giving birth it is best to call your veterinarian.

Stalled labor and delivery problems (primary and secondary uterine inertia) is defined as the lack of successful contractions by the uterus during labor, making delivery of the fetuses difficult or impossible. The two kinds of uterine inertia are primary uterine inertia and secondary uterine inertia. In the case of primary inertia, the bitch does not start contractions at all and the only way to notice she is in labour is the appearance of placental fluid. If the mother dog originally has strong contractions and they decrease in strength or disappear, this is considered secondary inertia.

 

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Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

Symptoms of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

The symptoms of stalled labor and delivery problems depend on the type of inertia the bitch is experiencing.

Primary Uterine Inertia

  • Failure to go into labor within 70 days after ovulation
  • Signs of pain or being uncomfortable, though these may be subtle
  • Appetite loss
  • Pale gums if the bitch is in shock
  • Dark green vaginal discharge

Secondary Uterine Inertia

  • Prolonged labor
  • Straining without producing a pup
  • Longer than two hours between pups
  • Delivery of a dead pup
  • Distress or illness of the mother
  • Pup visibly stuck in the birth canal
  • Dark green vaginal discharge

 Types

There are two kinds of stalled labor and delivery problems in dogs.

Primary Inertia is failing to go into labor in the appropriate time range.

Secondary Inertia is the failure of progression of labor and contractions during birth.

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Causes of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

The causes of stalled labor and delivery problems in dogs depend on which type of inertia is involved.

Primary Inertia

  • Single puppy syndrome – if there is only one puppy, it may not make enough ACTH and cortisol to start the labor and contractions
  • Inadequate amount of calcium in the mother
  • Large litters can stretch the abdominal muscles too far so they cannot contract properly
  • Toy breeds can become too excited or nervous at the beginning of labor, stopping it from progressing enough to cause contractions

 Secondary Inertia

  • Poor muscle tone can slow or stop the contractions because the muscles are not able to provide enough strength; this is usually caused by obesity or age
  • Improper placement of puppies in the birth canal
  • Large litter can exhaust the mother so she cannot continue without assistance
  • Extra-large puppies can get stuck in the birth canal
  • Birth canal blockage such as from previous injury or infection
  • Exhaustion. Hypocalcemia and/or hypogylcemia are common
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Diagnosis of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

Your veterinarian will first give your dog a thorough examination to determine if there is an underlying condition causing the stalled labor or delivery problems. Be sure to give the veterinarian as much information as you can about the situation. For example, when the contractions started, if they are intermittent or consistent, and if they have gotten worse. Your veterinarian will also need your dog’s complete medical history and any recent changes in her health or behavior. Some tests will be necessary to determine what is causing the uterine inertia, such as:

  • Blood chemistry panel to check oxytocin, albumin, calcium, and glucose levels
  • Urinalysis
  • Vaginal examination to check for amniotic sac, presentation of the fetus, tone and dimensions of the vaginal canal
  • Ultrasound to find the number and health of the puppies and to assess their heartbeat
  • Radiographs (x-rays) of the abdomen to check for position of puppies and any blockages that may be causing the inertia
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Treatment of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

The treatment for primary uterine inertia is usually hospitalization and cesarean section right away. It is important to the health of your dog and her puppies to deliver them right away to avoid more stress and shock.

In the case of secondary uterine inertia, the veterinarian may try to restart the labor and contractions in some specific cases. Depending on the progression of the labor and length of gestation, calcium and oxytocin will be administered, but only if your dog and her puppies are in good health and not in distress. If the labor and contractions do not start on their own, your veterinarian will perform a cesarean section.

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Recovery of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

If your dog is able to birth the babies on her own, she will be able to go home after a short observation time. Once at home, she will need to be placed in a comfortable and quiet place where she will not be bothered by others. The prognosis for her and the puppies is excellent.

If a caesarean delivery had to be performed, the veterinarian will probably want to keep her overnight for observation. Once she is allowed to go home she will need rest in a quiet and stress-free area. She will need to have help caring for her puppies while recovering, but will usually be back to normal within 24 hours.

It is important to follow the veterinarian’s instructions and bring your dog in for a follow-up visit.

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Cost of Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems in Dogs

While straight forward cases of a stalled labour can be rectified with medicine alone (such as an injection of Oxytocin), other dogs will require an emergency C-section. Cost depends on what treatment is needed but can be up to $2,500.

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Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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Written by a Pugs lover Grace Park

Veterinary reviewed by: Linda S.

Published: 03/10/2016, edited: 03/16/2021

Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Shih Tzu

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9 Years

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Started signs of labor over 24 hr ago and hasn't produced a puppy.

Feb. 24, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Maureen M. DVM

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7 Recommendations

Hallo, Labour in dogs can go up to 48 hours however in that period of time, the labour has to be progressive with at least a few puppies born. Your dog may have what we call dystocia which means difficulty giving birth. This can be cause by either an obstruction in the birth canal where a puppy can be facing the wrong direction, puppies being too big to pass through or in other cases they could experience what we call uterine inertia. This where the uterus is not contracting enough to expel the puppies. Caesarian section is advised in such cases or assisted birth where the vet pulls out the puppies manually if they are close to the vulva. Please rush your dog to the vet asap to avoid any birth complications that can occur with prolonged labor. Good luck

Feb. 24, 2021

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miniature chihuahua

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Giving Birth

This is our first time having puppies. So far waffles has had to puppies but I think there’s still one in her belly. It’s been one hour since the last PUP came out. Also one of the puppies has a hole in their back. Is this something that will heal on its own? I will send a picture

Feb. 17, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Gina U. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello If you believe that Waffles may have another puppy left in her uterus, I recommend that you take her to a veterinarian for an exam and x-ray. The doctor will be able to see if there is one puppy left. Also, I recommend taking the puppies to get checked out also, because that wound needs to be looked at and possibly cleaned or stitched. Good luck.

Feb. 17, 2021

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Pug

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Four Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

We found out she was pregnant, and she started to release fluids this morning at 7. Then we saw a bag of fluid release around 2pm. We aren’t sure if we need to take her to vet

Jan. 21, 2021

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Hello, Pugs can have issues having puppies and may need help. It does sound like she is in the beginning stages of labor. if you notice contractions and no puppies within an hour it would be best for you to take her to the vet right away.

Jan. 21, 2021

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Chihuahua

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4 years

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Unknown severity

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7 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

This is my dogs second litter. She gave birth to 5 puppies the first one was dead at birth wasn't fully developed the second one was also dead also not fully developed. The other 3 are good they are eating crying & doing puppy things. My dog is eating & drinking water. She is using the bathroom. She is attentive to her pups. However she has what looks like black discharge coming from her vulva nothing major I just don't remember seeing this last time she had puppies. This litter is bigger than the previous. She doesn't seem to be in pain. She is almost back to normal.

Dec. 20, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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7 Recommendations

Hello, this could be parts of the placenta that she is passing. If this continues for more than just a few days after the birth of the puppies it would be best for your vet to look at her. They can give her a shot to help her pass these easier and quicker. If mom and puppy are otherwise healthy, you can just monitor her for now.

Dec. 20, 2020

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mix

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7 Years

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Unknown severity

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8 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Been in labor for about a day and a half. 2 still born puppies. No appetite, trouble urinating. Lathargic. Depressed

Dec. 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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8 Recommendations

Thank you for your question, I'm sorry that your dog is having problems. From your description, she needs to be seen at the ER immediately. She may have puppies that are still inside, she may be septic, she may be going into organ failure, without seeing her it is difficult to say. She needs veterinary care right away.

Dec. 16, 2020

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Remy

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Labrador Retriever

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Restless
Labor
Whelping

My dog is on day 63 of pregnancy. On Day 60 her temp dropped- we are at 48+hrs after temp drop. She appears to go into early labor (panting, restlessness) for about two hours and then sleeps and repeats the cycle and has done this about four times. I have called her Vet and they advise to keep waiting. Anything I can do to aid the process or help her along? I keep her hydrated, go for walks, rub her belly. She is still eating also.

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Shadow

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Red heeler

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Restless
Nesting
Steering Into Space Glazed

I just don't know if I am being paranoid or there is a labor problem. My dog has been panting almost constantly since yesterday morning (almost 24 hours).... Last night, she began nesting an all signs of labor are there except vaginal licking. She is acting VERY uncomfortable and has to go outside and potty many times today. I saw a very small about of clearish/cream discharge a few hours ago, and she has been acting like she is having contractions for hours. I know some say stage one can last up to 18 hours, but I don't know if that is where we are still or if something is wrong. The amount of panting is what has me so worried since it has gone on for so long.

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Malana

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maltipom

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3 Years

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Fair severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Has Symptoms

I have a Maltese/Pomeranian she started labor at 8 this morning she’s given birth to 3 puppies 1 every one she’s resting now she’s been drinking water now she’s sleeping no signs of any more contractions but she tends to shake just a little bit how long after do you think and if she still has more puppies will she give birth again

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Payton

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Great Dane

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Three Years

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Fair severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Panting
Still Born Pups.
Delayed To Little Contractions
Sleeping Through Contractions

My dog Payton has been in laybor for about five or six hours now but had only delivered two puppies that were both still born, I have no clue what to do and I currently don’t have enough money to get her to a vet. I can still see some puppies moving but I’m still concerned on if they will make it or not due to how long I have been waiting with her. It’s a very large litter and I’m worried.

Stalled Labor and Delivery Problems Average Cost

From 367 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$1,800

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