Pet Labor

Labor Complications in Cats and Dogs

dog in labor in Studio City, CA

Many pregnant cats and dogs give birth to litter after litter of healthy babies without any health complications or worries whatsoever, and with any luck your beloved friend will have a similarly easy experience. But there are times when a health delivery is difficult or even impossible, and during those times both the babies and their mother may be in danger. A complicated labor calls for emergency veterinary attention -- which is why you should be ready to bring your expectant Studio City or Los Angeles pet to Emergency Animal Centre for potentially life-saving care.

Labor takes different forms for different animals. For examples, dogs may take anywhere from 3 to 36 hours to deliver an entire litter of puppies, while cats usually give birth to their entire litter within 6 hours. Understanding the normal timing of this process is a crucial aspect of recognizing a possible case of dystocia (difficult labor). If your cat is taking more than 7 hours to finish giving birth to her kittens, then you could be looking at a situation that calls for emergency veterinary care. If your dog takes more than 1 hour to deliver her first puppy, or if the puppies are arriving at intervals of more than 4 hours apart, this is another sign that you need to bring her to our emergency animal hospital. 

Signs of Labor-Related Problems

Even if the babies are all born on schedule, there are other signs of labor-related problems you should be aware of. These may include:

  • Indications that one or more of the placentas has not been expelled
  • Foul-smelling discharge from the vagina (a sign of infection)
  • Fever of 103 or higher (in cats)
  • Contractions that go on for more than 24 hours without a birth
  • Vomiting or lethargy from the mother (in dogs)

Trust the Veterinarians at Studio City, Los Angeles Our Emergency Animal Hospital

Don't hesitate to bring your pet to our emergency animal hospital if it looks like she's experiencing difficult labor or serious post-delivery complications. Our veterinarians will evaluate the situation quickly but accurately and take prompt action as needed. We can employ intravenous fluids and substances such as calcium and oxytocin to help facilitate delivery; we can also provide emergency treatment for acute infections, bleeding and other complications.

In some situations where we decide that a natural delivery is too hazardous to attempt, C-section may be necessary. This may true for a breech birth, in which the fetus is positioned at the wrong angle for an easy vaginal delivery. It's also common for dog breeds that combine large heads with narrow hips, notably bulldogs, French bulldogs and Boston terriers. We perform these surgeries with our customary care, efficiency and attention to detail, from monitoring your pet's vital signs to administering just the right amount of anesthesia.

Call (818) 760-3882 if you have any concerns about your pet's labor. We're ready to help Los Angeles and Studio City pets start their families safely!


Office Hours


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


Open 24 hr


24 hours

24 Hours


24 hours

24 Hours


Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Sammers is an 11 year old, Black, Domestic Short Hair Cat. His owner noticed that Sammers was pacing, walking around in circles at home and crying out in pain.

    "I would like to thank all of the staff who helped with Sammer's UTI. He was miserable, and you guys made him better. I cannot thank you enough for helping him. It is great to have a place to go when all the other vet clinics are closed.""
    Roxanne & "Sammers"- June 2012
  • "Kahlua is a very special service dog. He was brought in by his owner when she noticed that Kahlua was acting very painful and didn't want to jump. After a thorough exam Kahlua went home with some pain meds. Kahlua's mom stopped by our Facebook page to send us a note on his progress.

    "Just wanted to thank Dr. Cavanaugh, straight from the heart for seeing our Kahlua and putting our worries to rest. It was hilarious trying to get him to take his Tramadol.... cheese would not work but the Chunky Skippy did the trick. WE THINK YOU ARE AWESOME!!!!!!!! So thank you, straight from the heart.""
    Michelle & "Kahula" - July 2012