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Dystocia in the cat evaluated using an insurance database

Last changed: 30 March 2020


The aim of this study was to describe the incidence of feline dystocia with respect to breed.


The data used were reimbursed claims for veterinary care insurance and/or life insurance claims in cats registered in a Swedish insurance database from 1999–2006.


The incidence rates for dystocia were about 22 cats per 10,000 cat years at risk, 67 per 10,000 for purebred cats and seven per 10,000 for domestic shorthair cats. The median age was 2.5 years. A significant effect of breed was seen. An incidence rate ratio (IRR) that was significantly higher compared with other purebred cats was seen in the British Shorthair (IRR 2.5), the Oriental group (IRR 2.2), Birman (IRR 1.7), Ragdoll (IRR 1.5) and the Abyssinian group (IRR 1.5). A significantly lower IRR was seen in the Norwegian Forest Cat (IRR 0.38), the Maine Coon (IRR 0.48), the Persian/Exotic group (IRR 0.49) and the Cornish Rex (IRR 0.50). No common factor among the high-risk breeds explained their high risk for dystocia. There was no effect of location; that is, the incidence rate did not differ depending on whether the cat lived in an urban or rural area. Caesarean section was performed in 56% of the cats with dystocia, and the case fatality was 2%.

Conclusions and relevance

The incidence rate for dystocia was of a similar magnitude in purebred cats as in dogs. The IRR varied significantly among breeds, and the main cause for dystocia should be identified separately for each breed. A selection for easy parturitions in breeding programmes is suggested.

Link to the article:


Holst BS, Axnér E, Öhlund M, Möller L, Egenvall A. Dystocia in the cat evaluated using an insurance database. J Feline Med Surg. 2015 Aug 21. pii: 1098612X15600482. Epub ahead of print.