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Fura, Maria, 2022. Guinea pig dystocia in the Nordic countries : a survey study comprising Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)



This study focuses on veterinarians’ and breeders’ experiences of guinea pig dystocia in the Nordic
countries. The countries included in the survey are Finland, Norway, and Denmark. The data for
Swedish veterinarians and breeders was acquired from a previous study by Sandra Stolzenberg.
The new data collected from Finland, Norway and Denmark largely resemble the results from
the Swedish study.
Veterinarians feel that they need more training in treating guinea pig dystocia. Opportunities to
gain experience are scarce and collegial support is not always available as these cases often present
during on-call hours. This may lead to a further reluctance to attempt treatment, especially more
complex treatments such as performing a caesarean section. Most veterinarians who had performed
a caesarean section had done so only once, which is scarcely enough to feel confident in the procedure.
Many veterinarians also reported that guinea pigs were a very small part of their patient base.
This makes it less motivating to seek further education in this species as compared to the other
species one treats more often. Furthermore, guinea pig anaesthesia is notoriously difficult and there
is a 30-fold risk of mortality during anaesthesia as compared to dogs and cats.
The breeders who participated in the survey seem overall very engaged and the majority have
many years of experience. Three out of four have experienced dystocia in their guinea pigs, but only
half of these have sought veterinary assistance. Even fewer breeders have had a caesarean section
performed on their sow. Reasons centre around it being a stressful operation for the sow, poor
prognosis, and the cost.
Around 60% of sows did not survive a caesarean section and its recovery. All pups died in 71%
of cases. Most sows died 1-3 days after the operation while the pups mostly were dead before
This disheartening statistic may explain reluctance to seek treatment. Reluctance to seek
treatment will lead to late presentation, worsening the prognosis or not seeking treatment at all. This
allows fewer chances for veterinarians to gain experience under good circumstances.
It appears a joint effort is needed to improve these statistics.

Main title:Guinea pig dystocia in the Nordic countries
Subtitle:a survey study comprising Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark
Authors:Fura, Maria
Supervisor:Bergqvist, Ann-Sofi and Alm, Helene
Examiner:Axner, Eva
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:VY002 Veterinary Medicine Programme 330 HEC
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Clinical Sciences (until 231231)
Keywords:guinea pig, cavy, dystocia, caesarean section, birthing problems, reproduction
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal diseases
Deposited On:17 May 2022 08:28
Metadata Last Modified:18 May 2022 01:00

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