Definition of Dystocia
Dystocia, also referred to as ineffective labor or difficult or prolonged birth, is defined as a difficulty in the normal vaginal delivery of a baby or babies. The birthing of dogs is called the “whelping” of a litter. Whelping of puppies can take a very long time, and the time between when puppies are born can vary considerably between different breeds and mothers. However, when the interval between puppies or the duration of labor is too long, the situation is called dystocia and the bitch is in distress and needs help. Dystocia is uncommon in well-conditioned, healthy, young to middle-aged females. It is more common in overweight or older mothers. Dystocia can be caused by many things, including some physical obstruction of the birth canal or something that causes uterine inertia such that the dam’s uterine muscles do not contract forcefully enough to push the puppies out. Owners of a bitch showing signs of dystocia should get her to a veterinarian immediately.