Cesarean section is a life-saving surgical procedure usually undertaken in sheep and goats that fail to deliver vaginally (dystocia). Unfortunately, there are no recent review articles in literature that summarize the results of published case reports and clinical trials concerning indications, surgical approaches and procedures and outcomes following cesarean section in sheep and goats. Therefore, the aim of this article was to compile available data related to dystocia and cesarean section in small ruminants. Fortunately, the incidence of dystocia in small ruminants is considered to be low. It can be caused by either maternal or fetal factors. Maternal-related dystocia is most commonly because of failure of cervical dilation, narrow birth canal and uterine inertia. Those related to fetal causes are usually associated with fetal malposition/presentation, feto-pelvic disproportion/fetal oversize, and fetal malformation. Manual extraction of the fetus may be attempted in most cases, however, early surgical intervention by performing cesarean section ensures satisfactory outcome. Cesarean section is usually performed in lateral recumbency through left paralumbar fossa or left paralumbar fossa oblique celiotomy under local analgesia. The success rates and post-operative complications in sheep and goats are underreported; however, early surgical intervention using aseptic technique usually results in a satisfactory outcome for both the dam and newborn with acceptable prognosis for future breeding soundness.
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