Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Retention of fetal membranes and fetus

Synonym(s): Retained placenta / fetus

Contributor(s): Autumn P Davidson, Carlos Pinto

Introduction

  • Cause: failure of expulsion of fetal membranes during third stage of labor. Fetal membranes usually follows birth of each puppy but several may be expelled at once because puppies may be born from one horn before some fetal membranes have left the contralateral horn.
  • Unusual problem, but true prevalence unknown.
  • Suspect if there is a copious, dark greenish vulvar discharge 24 h post-partum.
  • Most bitches do well despite retention of one or more fetal membranes; some affected bitches, however, will need treatment to prevent toxemia, metritis and death.
  • Treatment: antibiotics, ecbolics (oxytocin, PGF2alpha).
  • Conservative management usually successful.
  • Hysterectomy essential if conservative management fails.
  • Occasionally dead fetus retained as well.
  • Prognosis: good for life and future fertility.

Pathogenesis

Pathophysiology

  • Little is known of the pathogenesis in dogs.
  • May be an association with large litters ( → prolonged parturition → secondary uterine inertia); or fetal oversize (single puppy → dystocia Dystocia → secondary uterine inertia).
  • Hypocalcemia Hypocalcemia could predispose to condition because of relative uterine inertia.
  • Metritis may rapidly ensue → toxemia.

Timecourse

  • Diagnosed and resolved within the first week after whelping.

Epidemiology

  • Unknown.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references fromPubMed.
  • Grundy S A, Davidson A P (2004)Theriogenology question of the month. Acute metritis secondary to retained fetal membranes and a retained nonviable fetus.JAVMA224(6), 844-847PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Johnston S D, Root-Kustriz M V, Olson P N S (2001)Canine and Feline Theriogenology.Philadelphia, W B Saunders Co.


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