Parturition In Domestic Animals: A Review

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT Parturition is the process of delivery of the fully grown fetus on the completion of the normal pregnancy period. Parturition is an interesting biological process in the sense that the uterus that was quiescent during the entire pregnancy starts contracting and the cervix that was tightly contracted relax sufficiently to allow the passage of the young one to the world outside the mothers womb, passing through the birth canal (which is formed by the uterus, cervix and vagina within the pelvic bones and their attachments). Parturition is one of the most important events for the farmers as by this act of his animal he would derive gain in terms of milk or sale of animal and its progeny. Most domestic animals are prone to maximum injuries and infections, some of them endangering the life of the fetus and the dam immediately, and some of them affecting the future productive and reproductive life of the mother. Therefore, due care must be exercised in advance and sufficient vigilance must be kept during parturition to minimize parturient problems. It is desirable and often safe to shift animals about to parturate to separate, quiet, clean area with sufficient protection from inclement weather. Cows, buffaloes and mares are often shifted to calving pens/foaling pens. Sheep and goat often parturate at pasture but at organized farms they may be shifted to kidding pens, separate from other animals that may disturb them. A close watch on the parturating animals is essential to provide assistance as early as possible when required. Mares can often inhibit or prolong parturition voluntarily in the presence of persons and daylight and they mostly foal during the night hours (Haluska and Wilkins, 1989, Purohit et al., 1999). Therefore, mares must be visualized from distance. Modern stud farms have closed circuit TV cameras fitted in the foaling boxes for this purpose. Farrowing crates are highly desirable for sows with constant watch being kept on farrowing sows to prevent them from lying on newborn piglets. For bitches, whelping boxes of cardboard with newspapers are often good. The bitch should be familiar with this environment 15-20 days ahead of whelping. Queens often require a quiet environment and they thus seek solitude.

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    ABSTRACT: To assess the practical use of pedometers as supervision tools in the equine prepartal period, two types, IceQube®- and ALT-sensors, were tested. Nine mares were randomly fitted with devices of the respective types on the front legs (ALT: n = 9, IceQube®: n = 7), and with an IceQube®-sensor on a neck collar (n = 7). Measurements of 10 days ante partum for motion activity, lying times and lying bouts with a measuring interval of 15 min were used to analyse changes during the ante partum interval. Technical function, animal acceptance, informative value, and the general use of the assessed data to predict the date of parturition, were observed and investigated, respectively. Therefore, deviations in the animals’ behaviour were statistically determined by estimating least squares means (LSM), and their differences between the days ante partum and the day of parturition to the same hours, respectively (P < 0.05). Mean gestation length of the mares was 337.3 ± 8.6 days. LSM-differences for motion activity showed a highly significant increase two to one hours ante partum. In contrast, relatively constant patterns of motion within the same hours on the other days before were observed. These results were used to develop a real-time method that can detect the upcoming birth. The method is based on the actual moving average of motion activity and the 95th percentile of motion activity of the day before. For most mares, increasing moving average values above the 95th percentile were observed in the last two to one hours before parturition. The correlation for motion activity between the leg-instruments’ data was calculated with r = 0.51 during stable times. Lying times increased significantly ante partum, but this effect was too close to the beginning of parturition, and therefore not useable as a predictive marker. Lying time per day and per hour varied between the animals, and was generally on a very low level. The IceQube®-sensors on the mares’ neck collars recorded a permanent lying bout of these devices, which was increasingly fragmented due to movements of the head and the neck prior to parturition. This observation can be explained as colicky behaviour under pain. We suggest that this parameter could have a high predictive value. The number of lying bouts increased within the last prepartal hours, however, the analysed data of the single mares displayed again a high variability. The correlation for the recorded lying time was r = 0.71 between IceQube®- and ALT-devices at the mares’ front legs. In conclusion, pedometers, regardless of which type tested, possess a high potential as supervision tools in the prepartal period of mares, especially two to one hours before birth. A prerequisite is, however, that the assessed data is analysed thoroughly with a suitable method.
    Applied Animal Behaviour Science 02/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.applanim.2013.11.014 · 1.63 Impact Factor


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