ArticlePDF Available

Differential impact of birth weight and early growth on neonatal mortality in puppies

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

Breeding kennels face a high rate of neonatal mortality, on which the impact of nutrition remains to be determined. This study was designed to evaluate the impact of birth weight (reflecting intrauterine growth) and early growth rate (reflecting colostrum intake) on risk of neonatal mortality in puppies and to determine the critical thresholds of both parameters. Puppies from various breeds were weighed at birth ( = 514) and at 2 d of age, and the growth rate over that period (early growth rate) was calculated for all survivors ( = 477). Linear mixed models evaluated the effect of birth weight on mortality between birth and 2 d of age and the effect of both birth weight and early growth rate on mortality between 2 and 21 d of age. Birth weight was influenced by litter size ( = 0.003), with more low-birth-weight puppies (the lightest 25% within a breed size) in large litters compared with smaller litters. Mortality over the first 2 d after birth was associated with birth weight ( < 0.001), with 81.1% of dying puppies characterized by a low birth weight. Mortality between 2 and 21 d of age was not related to birth weight but was found to be associated with early growth rate ( < 0.001), with higher risk of death in puppies with growth rate at or below -4% after the first 2 d of life. This study demonstrates the differential effect of intrauterine nutrition impacting mortality during the first 2 d of life and that of colostrum intake impacting mortality until 21 d of life. Birth weight and early growth rate thresholds provided in this study allow identification of puppies at risk, whereby provision can be made for adequate nursing to increase their chances to survive.
Content may be subject to copyright.
4436
INTRODUCTION
Prevalence of mortality during the rst 3 wk after
birth in the canine species is one of the highest among
domestic animals: around 17% of puppies die during
this perinatal period (stillbirth and neonatal mortal-
ity; Potkay and Bacher, 1977; Gill, 2001; Nielen et al.,
2001; Indrebø et al., 2007). Mortality risk rst depends
on intrauterine growth, with puppies of the lowest
weight at birth being at higher risk of neonatal death
compared with littermates (Grundy, 2006), as ob-
served in kittens and piglets (Lawler, 2008; Devillers
et al., 2011). In large-sized breeds, puppies dying dur-
ing the rst week after birth had over 100 g lower birth
weight than puppies still alive at 8 wk (Indrebø et al.,
2007). However, birth weight thresholds for the differ-
ent breed sizes dening puppies at risk of death, requir-
ing more intensive nursing, as well as factors impact-
ing birth weight are not dened to date.
After birth, at an early stage of life, canine new-
borns depend entirely on colostrum intake. This spe-
cic mammary secretion provides puppies with not
Differential impact of birth weight and early growth on
neonatal mortality in puppies1,2
H. Mila,*†‡ A. Grellet,‡ A. Feugier,‡ and S. Chastant-Maillard*†3
*Université de Toulouse, INP, ENVT, UMR 1225, IHAP, F-31076, 23 Chemin des Capelles,
31300 Toulouse, France; †INRA, UMR1225, IHAP, F-31076, 23 Chemin des Capelles,
31300 Toulouse, France; and ‡Royal Canin, 650 Avenue de la Petite Camargue, Aimargues, France
ABSTRACT: Breeding kennels face a high rate of
neonatal mortality, on which the impact of nutrition
remains to be determined. This study was designed
to evaluate the impact of birth weight (reecting
intrauterine growth) and early growth rate (reecting
colostrum intake) on risk of neonatal mortality in pup-
pies and to determine the critical thresholds of both
parameters. Puppies from various breeds were weighed
at birth (n = 514) and at 2 d of age, and the growth rate
over that period (early growth rate) was calculated for
all survivors (n = 477). Linear mixed models evalu-
ated the effect of birth weight on mortality between
birth and 2 d of age and the effect of both birth weight
and early growth rate on mortality between 2 and 21 d
of age. Birth weight was inuenced by litter size (P =
0.003), with more low-birth-weight puppies (the light-
est 25% within a breed size) in large litters compared
with smaller litters. Mortality over the rst 2 d after
birth was associated with birth weight (P < 0.001),
with 81.1% of dying puppies characterized by a low
birth weight. Mortality between 2 and 21 d of age was
not related to birth weight but was found to be associ-
ated with early growth rate (P < 0.001), with higher
risk of death in puppies with growth rate at or below
–4% after the rst 2 d of life. This study demonstrates
the differential effect of intrauterine nutrition impact-
ing mortality during the rst 2 d of life and that of
colostrum intake impacting mortality until 21 d of life.
Birth weight and early growth rate thresholds provid-
ed in this study allow identication of puppies at risk,
whereby provision can be made for adequate nursing
to increase their chances to survive.
Key words: birth weight, colostrum intake, litter size, mortality, puppy, weight change
© 2015 American Society of Animal Science. All rights reserved. J. Anim. Sci. 2015.93:4436–4442
doi:10.2527/jas2015-8971
1This study was partially funded by Royal Canin SAS (grant
number R3789 1/02/2012). We would like to thank the owner of
the kennel for his contribution to this work and Mr. Adrian Watson
for the English revision of the manuscript. Our thanks extend to
graduate and undergraduate students of Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire
de Toulouse for the crucial help in data collection.
2
H.M., A.G., and A.F. are employees of Royal Canin SAS.
S.C.M. has no conicts of interest to declare.
3Corresponding author: s.chastant@envt.fr
Received January 30, 2015.
Accepted March 17, 2015.
Published September 8, 2015
Birth weight and early growth in puppies 4437
only nutrients but also hormones, growth factors, and
passive immunity. All of mentioned components are
indispensable for the puppy’s life, as hypoglycemia
and hypothermia, together with infectious diseases,
are recognized as the major causes of neonatal mor-
tality in puppies (Indrebø et al., 2007; Münnich and
Küchenmeister, 2014). Whereas energy intake covers
the basal metabolic needs, ensuring thermoregulation
and body growth, immunoglobulin acquisition early af-
ter birth provides the only immune protection during
the rst weeks. In piglets, early weight gain is used to
evaluate the amount of colostrum ingested and eventual
risk of neonatal death, as piglets dying before wean-
ing gained less weight between birth and 24 h of life
(Devillers et al., 2011). Although a 10% loss of birth
weight is commonly considered to be physiological in
2-d-old puppies (Grundy, 2006), the real impact of early
weight change on canine neonatal mortality is unknown.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the relation-
ship between neonatal mortality in puppies and both
birth weight and growth rate during the rst 2 d of
life (early growth rate). The critical thresholds of birth
weight and early growth rate dening puppies at high-
er risk of death were also determined.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The protocol was reviewed and approved by the
Royal Canin Internal Ethics Committee (AF/20140704).
Study Population
The experiment was performed on all puppies
born alive from 100 bitches within 1 breeding ken-
nel. Ninety-eight bitches were multiparous. Between 1
wk before parturition and the end of lactation, bitches
were housed in a single box (2–4 m2) and fed a dry
balanced diet for growing dogs (Starter; Royal Canin,
Aimargues, France) ad libitum. Whelping boxes
were heated (continuous under oor heating plus a
heat infrared lamp during the rst 3–5 d after whelp-
ing), so that the stable temperature of 28 to 30°C at
the ground level was assured. None of the whelpings
were assisted, no cesarean section was performed, and
no puppies were hand reared during the experiment.
After whelping, the total number of puppies born
within a litter (born alive or dead [stillborn]), den-
ing litter size, was recorded. Each puppy was identi-
ed by a colored woolen collar and its sex, breed, and
the age of its dam were recorded. Within the rst 8 h
after birth, puppies were weighed using a calibrated
analytical scale in 1-g increments (Fisher Scientic
International Inc., Hampton, NH). At 48 h of life, mor-
tality was registered and all surviving puppies were
weighed again. Their growth rate over the rst 2 d of
life was calculated [(weight at 2 d – weight at birth)/
weight at birth × 100%]. Mortality between 2 and 21 d
was then registered.
Statistical Analyses
Statistical analyses were performed with the
Statistical Analysis Systems statistical software pack-
age version 9.3 (SAS Inst. Inc., Cary, NC). The nor-
mality was evaluated with the Shapiro–Wilk test.
Univariable statistical analyses were performed with
the Kruskal–Wallis test.
Dams were classied into young (≤6 yr of age)
and old (>6 yr of age). Depending on adult weight,
neonates and their dams were classied into small
breed dogs (<15 kg), medium breed dogs (15–25 kg),
and large breed dogs (>25 kg; Table 1). Because birth
weight and litter size vary among breeds (Grundy,
2006), birth weight and litter size values were classi-
ed into quartiles, separately, for small, medium, and
large breed puppies (Table 2). The rst quartile (Q1)
represents the lowest 25% of registered values, the
second and third quartiles (Q2 and Q3, respectively)
represent 25% of values below and above the median,
and fourth quartile (Q4) represents the highest 25% of
registered values.
First, a generalized linear mixed model (GLIMMIX
procedure) with birth weight as an outcome (trans-
Table 1. Breed size classication according to the
adult BW and numbers of litters and puppies included
in the study
Breed size Breed
Number
of litters
born
Number
of live-
born puppies
Small, <15 kg Bichon Frise 4 15
Bichon Maltese 7 40
Jack Russell Terrier 4 12
Lhasa Apso 11 50
Pomeranian 1 4
Poodle 8 28
Shih Tzu 6 32
German Spitz 3 11
Scottish Terrier 1 1
West Highland White
Terrier
7 35
Yorkshire Terrier 2 15
Medium, 15–25 kg Cocker Spaniel 17 90
Large, >25 kg Boxer 1 8
Labrador 11 58
German Shepherd 2 11
Golden Retriever 15 104
Total 100 514
Mila et al.
4438
formation in ordinal outcome) was used to assess the
following xed effects: sex of the puppy (male or fe-
male), litter size, and age of the dam (young or old).
Subsequently, a GLIMMIX procedure with mortality
between birth and 2 d of age as a binary outcome (logit
transformation) was used to assess the following xed
effects: sex of the puppy, litter size, age of the dam,
breed size, and birth weight.
Second, a linear mixed model (MIXED proce-
dure) was performed to determine the variables affect-
ing growth rate between birth and 2 d of age. As re-
siduals of this multivariable model were not normally
distributed, a nonparametric analysis was performed
(rank transformation of the outcome). This model in-
cluded, as xed effects, sex, litter size, age of the dam,
breed size (small, medium, or large), and birth weight.
Subsequently, a GLIMMIX procedure with mortality
between 2 and 21 d of age as a binary outcome (logit
transformation) was used to assess the following xed
effects: sex, litter size, age of the dam, breed size, and
birth weight. Moreover, the effect of growth rate was
added as a covariate. In all multivariable models, litter
was modeled as a random effect.
A receiver operating characteristic curve was drawn
based on the result of the logistic model on mortality
between 2 and 21 d of age. The Hosmer and Lemeshow
goodness-of-t test permitted assessment of the quality
of this model. The best cutoff from the model for high
and low mortality risk populations was dened based
on Youden’s index. Differences were considered sig-
nicant at P < 0.05. Quantitative data are presented as
medians with interquartile range (IQR).
RESULTS
The median age of the 100 bitches included in the
study was 6 yr (IQR: 4 to 7 yr) and median number
of puppies born per litter (litter size) was 5 (IQR: 4 to
7). From a total of 532 puppies born, 18 were stillborn
(3.4%). The sex ratio in 514 puppies born alive was 1.2
(280 males and 234 females). Birth weight varied from
80 to 604 g. Both birth weight and litter size were sig-
nicantly different between small, medium, and large
breeds (P < 0.001 in both models; Table 2). Weight
at birth was signicantly inuenced by litter size (P =
0.003) and litter effect (P < 0.001; Fig. 1). Among all
puppies belonging to large litters (quartile 4), 37.1%
(36/97) were of low birth weight (quartile 1) and 12.4%
(12/97) of high birth weight (quartile 4), whereas pro-
portions in small-sized litters (quartile 1) were 8.6%
(7/81) of low birth weight and 50.6% (41/81) of high
birth weight puppies. None of the other factors tested
in this model (sex of the puppy and age of the dam) has
any inuence on puppy birth weight.
A total of 20.6% (106/514) of live-born pup-
pies died between birth and 21 d of age, with 34.9%
(37/106) of deaths occurring during the rst 2 d after
birth. Mortality between birth and 2 d of age was in-
uenced by birth weight (P < 0.001; Table 3; Fig. 2)
and tended to be inuenced by breed size and litter ef-
fect (P = 0.09 and P = 0.06, respectively). Among all
puppies dying within the rst 48 h after birth, 81.1%
(30/37) were of low birth weight (quartile 1). None of
the other factors tested (such as litter size, sex of the
puppy, or age of the dam) had any inuence on mortal-
ity between birth and 2 d of age.
Median growth rate during the rst 48 h of life cal-
culated for 477 puppies still alive at Day 2 was 3.3%
Table 2. Classication of puppies according to birth weight and litter size (514 puppies) depending on breed size
Breed
size
Number
of
puppies
Median
birth
weight, g
Quartiles of birth weight,1 g Median
litter size
Quartiles of litter size,
number of puppies per litter
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Small 243 185a<151 151–185 186–219 >219 4a<4 4 5 >5
Medium 90 267b<225 225–267 268–309 >309 5b<5 5 6 >6
Large 181 377c<330 330–377 378–428 >428 7c<6 6–7 8–9 >9
a–cMedian values within a column with different superscripts were signicantly different (P < 0.05).
1Q1 = lowest 25% registered values; Q2 = 25% of values below the median; Q3 = 25% of values above the median; Q4 = highest 25% registered values.
Figure 1. Correlation between litter size and mean quartile of birth
weights in puppies from 1 given litter (100 litters and 514 puppies). Both
variables are expressed in quartiles according to Table 2.
Birth weight and early growth in puppies 4439
(IQR: –4.9 to 13.2%). No inuence of birth weight on
early growth rate was evidenced (Fig. 3). No effect
of breed size, litter size, age of the dam, or sex of the
puppy was observed on growth rate, but an effect of
litter was evidenced as a random term (P < 0.001).
Mortality rate between 2 and 21 d of age was in-
uenced by growth rate within the rst 2 d of life and
litter effect (P < 0.001 and P < 0.001, respectively;
Table 3; Fig. 4). Median growth rate in puppies dying
between 2 and 21 d of age was –11.3% (IQR: –16.7
to –4%) compared with 5.1% (IQR: –2.2 to 13.2%) in
puppies still alive at Day 21. The optimal cutoff value
of growth rate within the rst 48 h of life to assess pre-
dictive likelihood of mortality between 2 and 21 d of
age was –4% with a sensitivity of 75.4% and specici-
ty of 79.7%. Among all puppies that survived until Day
2, 28.3% (135/477) had an early growth rate below or
equal to –4%. Mortality rate was 38.5% (52/135) for
puppies with early growth rate below this threshold vs.
5.0% (17/342) for puppies with higher growth rate val-
ues (P < 0.001). Neither an effect of the birth weight
on mortality between 2 and 21 d of age nor of any other
Table 3. Predictive factors for neonatal mortality in
puppies (514 puppies; 100 litters)
Factor
Mortality 0–2 d Mortality 2–21 d
P-value OR195% CI2P-value OR 95% CI
Age of dam 0.15 0.5 0.2, 1.3 0.68 0.8 0.3, 2.3
Breed size 0.09 0.25
Small 1.0341.03
Medium 0.6 0.1, 2.4 0.3 0.1, 1.3
Large 0.3 0.1, 0.9 1.1 0.4, 2.9
Sex 0.75 1.14 0.5, 2.6 0.75 0.9 0.4, 1.8
Litter size50.65 0.50
Q1 1.03– 1.03
Q2 0.6 0.1, 2.6 1.0 0.2, 4.0
Q3 0.4 0.1, 1.8 0.5 0.1, 1.7
Q4 0.5 0.1, 2.6 0.6 0.1, 2.8
Birth weight <0.001 0.53
Q1 1.03– 1.03
Q2 22.7 5.0, 102.9 1.0 0.4, 2.5
Q3 59.4 7.3, 481.5 1.4 0.5, 4.0
Q4 16.4 4.7, 57.3 2.1 0.7, 6.7
G rowth rate
0–2 d
<0.001 0.9 0.8, 0.9
Litter effect 0.06 <0.001
1OR = odd ratio.
2CI = condence interval.
3Reference category.
4– = data not available.
5Q1 = lowest 25% registered values; Q2 = 25% of values below the
median; Q3 = 25% of values above the median; Q4 = highest 25% regis-
tered values.
Figure 2. Relationship between mortality from birth until 2 d of age
and birth weight (observations for 514 puppies; P < 0.001). Birth weight is
expressed in quartiles as dened in Table 2.
Figure 3. Relationship between birth weight and growth rate after
the rst 2 d of life (observations for 477 puppies; P = 0.20). Birth weight
is expressed in quartiles as dened in Table 2. Growth rate is dened as
(weight at 2 d – weight at birth)/weight at birth × 100%.
Figure 4. Correlation between early growth and neonatal mortality
at a litter level (observations for 100 litters; P < 0.001). Early growth is
expressed as the mean growth rate in puppies between 0 and 2 d of life
from 1 litter. Mortality rate is the proportion of puppies dying between 2
and 21 d of age within 1 litter.
Mila et al.
4440
factor tested in that model (breed size, litter size, sex of
the puppy, or age of the dam) was evidenced.
DISCUSSION
Canine neonates are born with very low body fat
content (1.3% of the body; Kienzle et al., 1998) with
most energy being provided by glycogenolysis. The
decline in muscle and liver glycogen concentrations
after birth is rapid (Kliegman and Morton, 1987), and
gluconeogenesis is very limited due to immature liver
(Miettinen and Kliegman, 1983). In parallel, shiver-
ing thermogenesis is absent up to 6 d (Münnich and
Küchenmeister, 2014), which, taken together, make
newborn puppies susceptible to hypoglycemia and
hypothermia and, as a consequence, death. The total
perinatal mortality (stillbirths and mortality during the
rst 3 wk of age) in our study was 23.3%, with over
one-third of live-born puppies dying during the rst 2
d after birth. This mortality rate is higher than those
reported in other studies, ranging between 13.6 and
20.2% (Potkay and Bacher, 1977; Gill, 2001; Nielen et
al., 2001; Indrebø et al., 2007). No additional nursing or
hand rearing was performed in the present study, which
could explain a higher mortality rate. The majority of
the puppies (81.1%) dying within the rst 48 h after
birth were characterized by a low birth weight, previ-
ously showed in newborn infants and piglets as a risk
factor for hypoglycemia and hypothermia (Williams,
1997; Laptook and Watkinson, 2008; Devillers et al.,
2011). Low-birth-weight puppies, with a higher ratio
between body surface and body mass than littermates,
have a decreased ability to maintain stable blood glu-
cose concentration and body temperature as well as
lower ability to suckle. These factors, taken together,
increase their risk of neonatal death (Grundy, 2006).
In our study, birth weight was negatively affected
by litter size. A similar effect has been demonstrated
in kittens, in which each additional kitten in a litter de-
creased mean BW by 2.2 g (mean kitten birth weight
= 100 g; Sparkes et al., 2006; Gatel et al., 2011). No
effect of dam age or parity has been shown in kittens
or in the puppies in our study, although in foals, birth
weight increases by 0.5 kg for every extra year of age
of the mare (Elliott et al., 2009). Other effects com-
mon for all puppies coming from 1 litter (litter effect)
had an impact on the puppy’s birth weight in our study.
In pigs, intrauterine growth retardation, associated
with reduced birth weight, is caused not by a limited
uterine space but by a smaller size of placenta and so
limited transport of inter alia AA from dam to the fetus
(Ashworth et al., 2001). In women, fetal growth retar-
dation is due to insufcient concentration of nutrients
in the dam’s bloodstream and due to maternal vascu-
lar diseases in as many as 35% of the cases (Howie,
1982). To date, the impact of canine placental disor-
ders on birth weight in puppies remains unknown.
To identify puppies at higher risk of death due to a
low birth weight, a cutoff value has to be dened dif-
ferentially according to breed size, because this factor
determines weight at birth. Low birth weight values for
small-, medium-, and large-sized dogs were provided
in this study (Table 2), dened by the 25% owest birth
weights, as puppies from the rst quartile . Such pup-
pies were proven to be at signicantly higher risk of
death. However, birth weights vary not only between
different breed sizes (Grundy, 2006; our study) but
also between breeds of the same size (Trangerud et al.,
2007). Therefore, building a multibreed database with
puppies’ birth weights and their mortality could lead
to an even better estimate of the chances of a just born
puppy to survive and to provide it an adequate care if
needed.
In contrast to a dramatic impact on mortality with-
in the rst 2 d after birth, birth weight was not associ-
ated with mortality between 2 and 21 d of age. A major
risk factor for mortality during that period was growth
rate during the rst 2 d of life. This relationship could
be explained by colostrum intake and the nutritional
and/or immunological value of the colostrum (GE at
Day 1 of lactation: 548 kJ/100 g [unpublished data];
IgG: 19.4 g/L [Mila et al., 2014]). Due to the endo-
theliochorial placenta, the transfer of immunoglobu-
lins from dam to fetus is very limited in dogs. Puppies
acquire 90% of their passive immunity via colostrum
ingested within the rst 12 to 16 h of life (Chastant-
Maillard et al., 2012). Indeed, serum IgG concentra-
tion at 2 d of age (as a marker of passive immune
transfer) has been demonstrated to be strongly associ-
ated with growth rate within the rst 2 d of life as well
as with neonatal mortality. Over 44% of puppies with
an IgG concentration at Day 2 at or below 2.3 g/L,
dened as passive immune decit in dogs, died during
the neonatal period compared with only 5% in puppies
with higher IgG concentrations (Mila et al., 2014).
Energy provided by the colostrum can also ex-
plain the link between early growth and neonatal mor-
tality. In 2-d-old piglets, colostrum intake, evaluated
through weight gain after the rst 24 h of life, was
positively associated with rectal temperature and glu-
cose concentration, showing the important role of co-
lostrum in thermoregulation and glucose homeostasis
(Devillers et al., 2011). The ability to maintain stable
body temperature as well as blood glucose level is
very limited in canine newborns, and hypothermia and
hypoglycemia may have fatal consequences for pup-
pies (Münnich and Küchenmeister, 2014). The early
growth rate threshold, below which risk of mortality
Birth weight and early growth in puppies 4441
is signicantly increased, was calculated at or below
–4% in this study. Weight monitoring, together with
the cutoff value calculated in our study, provide an
easy tool to detect and nurse puppies at increased risk
of hypoglycemia or hypothermia and, by consequence,
risk of neonatal mortality.
The positive effect of colostrum on survival might
be also related to its bioactive compounds, such as
prolactin, steroids, insulin, leptin, and many growth
factors, essential for correct organ development and
maturation (Hamosh, 2001; Farmer et al., 2006).
Amino acids together with Insulin-like Growth Factors,
highly concentrated in swine colostrum (Donovan et
al., 1994), have a stimulatory effect on protein synthe-
sis in the piglet intestinal tract 50-fold stronger than
mature milk (Burrin et al., 1992). In puppies, a large
increase in intestinal dimensions (i.e., 42% in mucosal
weight) occurs within the rst 24 h of life, dramatically
improving food intake, digestion, and nutrients absorp-
tion (Paulsen et al., 2003). Insufcient colostrum in-
take, as evidenced by reduced growth over the rst 2 d
of life, may, therefore, reduce nutrient absorption later
in life, leading to higher mortality rates in puppies.
Although differences in postweaning growth
curves and adult weights between females and males
have been demonstrated in dogs (Helmink et al., 2000)
and in cats (Moik and Kienzle, 2011), no sexual di-
morphism in birth weights or early growth was evi-
denced in our study. Interestingly, growth during the
rst 2 d of life was not found to be associated with birth
weight, whereas in many other species an accelerated
growth occurs, compensating the lower weight at birth
(Binkin et al., 1988; Moik and Kienzle, 2011). In rab-
bits and rats, litter size, negatively correlated with pup
growth, explains most of the preweaning growth vari-
ation (Rödel et al., 2008). In our study, not litter size
but litter effect as a random term for all littermates had
an inuence on early growth rate. Insufcient milk
yield, as shown previously in pigs (Marshall et al.,
2006), together with poor maternal behavior and other
circumstances precluding colostrum intake, could be
responsible for decreased growth in some litters.
Conclusions
This study illustrates the differential impact of
birth weight and early growth rate on neonatal mortal-
ity, either mortality during the rst 2 d after birth or
mortality between 2 d and 3 wk of age. It also provides
critical thresholds allowing identication of puppies
with particular need of monitoring and nursing dur-
ing the neonatal period. However, these values remain
to be rened for various dog breeds as well as differ-
ent kennels. This study highlights the need for further
investigation on intrauterine growth (to decrease the
incidence of low birth weights) and on colostrum in-
take (to optimize early growth) to reduce the high inci-
dence of neonatal mortality in the canine species.
LITERATURE CITED
Ashworth, C. J., A. M. Finch, K. R. Page, M. O. Nwagwu, and H.
J. McArdle. 2001. Causes and consequences of fetal growth
retardation in pigs. Reprod. Suppl. 58:233–246.
Binkin, N. J., R. Yip, L. Fleshood, and F. L. Trowbridge. 1988. Birth
weight and childhood growth. Pediatrics 82:828–834.
Burrin, D. G., R. J. Shulman, P. J. Reeds, T. A. Davis, and K. R.
Gravitt. 1992. Porcine colostrum and milk stimulate visceral
organ and skeletal muscle protein synthesis in neonatal piglets.
J. Nutr. 122:1205–1213.
Chastant-Maillard, S., L. Freyburger, E. Marcheteau, S. Thoumire,
J. Ravier, and K. Reynaud. 2012. Timing of the intestinal bar-
rier closure in puppies. Reprod. Domest. Anim. 47:190–193.
doi:10.1111/rda.12008
Devillers, N., J. Le Dividich, and A. Prunier. 2011. Inuence of
colostrum intake on piglet survival and immunity. Animal
5:1605–1612. doi:10.1017/S175173111100067X
Donovan, S. M., L. K. Mcneil, R. Jiménez-ores, and J. Odle. 1994.
Insulin-like growth factors and insulin-like growth factor bind-
ing proteins in porcine serum and milk throughout lactation.
Pediatr. Res. 36:159–168. doi:10.1203/00006450-199408000-
00005
Elliott, C., J. Morton, and J. Chopin. 2009. Factors affecting foal
birth weight in Thoroughbred horses. Theriogenology 71:683–
689. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.09.041
Farmer, C., N. Devillers, J. Rook, and J. Le Dividich. 2006.
Colostrum production in swine: From the mammary glands to
the piglets. CAB Rev. 1:1–16.
Gatel, L., E. Rosset, K. Chalvet-Monfray, S. Buff, and D. N.
Rault. 2011. Relationships between fetal biometry, mater-
nal factors and birth weight of purebred domestic cat kittens.
Theriogenology 76:1716–1722. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenol-
ogy.2011.07.003
Gill, M. A. 2001. Perinatal and late neonatal mortality in the dog.
PhD Diss., Sydney Univ., Australia.
Grundy, S. A. 2006. Clinically relevant physiology of the neonate.
Vet. Clin. North Am. Small Anim. Pract. 36:443–459.
Hamosh, M. 2001. Bioactive factors in human milk. Pediatr. Clin.
North Am. 48:69–86. doi:10.1016/S0031-3955(05)70286-8
Helmink, S. K., R. D. Shanks, and E. A. Leighton. 2000. Breed and
sex differences in growth curves for two breeds of dog guides.
J. Anim. Sci. 78:27–32.
Howie, P. W. 1982. Causes of intrauterine growth retardation.
Br. Med. J. (Clin. Res. Ed.) 285:156–157. doi:10.1136/
bmj.285.6336.156
Indrebø, A., C. Trangerud, and L. Moe. 2007. Canine neonatal mor-
tality in four large breeds. Acta Vet. Scand. 49(Suppl. 1):S2.
doi:10.1186/1751-0147-49-S1-S2
Kienzle, E., J. Zentek, and H. Meyer. 1998. Body composition of
puppies and young dogs. J. Nutr. 128:2680S–2683S.
Kliegman, R. M., and S. Morton. 1987. The metabolic response of
the canine neonate to twenty-four hours of fasting. Metabolism
36:521–526. doi:10.1016/0026-0495(87)90160-0
Laptook, A. R., and M. Watkinson. 2008. Temperature management
in the delivery room. Semin. Fetal Neonatal Med. 13:383–391.
doi:10.1016/j.siny.2008.04.003
Mila et al.
4442
Lawler, D. F. 2008. Neonatal and pediatric care of the puppy and kit-
ten. Theriogenology 70:384–392. doi:10.1016/j.theriogenol-
ogy.2008.04.019
Marshall, K. M., W. L. Hurley, R. D. Shanks, and M. B. Wheeler.
2006. Effects of suckling intensity on milk yield and piglet
growth from lactation-enhanced gilts. J. Anim. Sci. 84:2346–
2351. doi:10.2527/jas.2005-764
Miettinen, E. L., and R. M. Kliegman. 1983. Fetal and neonatal
responses to extended maternal canine starvation. II. Fetal
and neonatal liver metabolism. Pediatr. Res. 17:639–644.
doi:10.1203/00006450-198308000-00007
Mila, H., A. Feugier, A. Grellet, J. Anne, M. Gonnier, M. Martin,
L. Rossig, and S. Chastant-Maillard. 2014. Inadequate pas-
sive immune transfer in puppies: Denition, risk factors and
prevention in a large multi-breed kennel. Prev. Vet. Med.
116:209–213. doi:10.1016/j.prevetmed.2014.05.001
Moik, K., and E. Kienzle. 2011. Birth weight and postnatal growth
of pure-bred kittens. Br. J. Nutr. 106:S32–S34. doi:10.1017/
S0007114511003333
Münnich, A., and U. Küchenmeister. 2014. Causes, diagnosis and
therapy of common diseases in neonatal puppies in the rst
days of life: Cornerstones of practical approach. Reprod.
Domest. Anim. 49:64–74. doi:10.1111/rda.12329
Nielen, A. L. J., L. L. G. Janss, and B. W. Knol. 2001. Heritability
estimations for diseases, coat color, body weight, and height
in a birth cohort of Boxers. Am. J. Vet. Res. 62:1198–1206.
doi:10.2460/ajvr.2001.62.1198
Paulsen, D. B., K. K. Buddington, and R. K. Buddington. 2003.
Dimensions and histologic characteristics of the small intes-
tine of dogs during postnatal development. Am. J. Vet. Res.
64:618–626. doi:10.2460/ajvr.2003.64.618
Potkay, S., and J. Bacher. 1977. Morbidity and mortality in a closed
foxhound breeding colony. Lab. Anim. Sci. 27:78–84.
Rödel, H. G., G. Prager, V. Stefanski, D. von Holst, and R. Hudson.
2008. Separating maternal and litter-size effects on early post-
natal growth in two species of altricial small mammals. Physiol.
Behav. 93:826–834. doi:10.1016/j.physbeh.2007.11.047
Sparkes, A. H., K. Rogers, W. E. Henley, D. A. Gunn-Moore, J. M.
May, T. J. Gruffydd-Jones, and C. Bessant. 2006. A question-
naire-based study of gestation, parturition and neonatal mortal-
ity in pedigree breeding cats in the UK. J. Feline Med. Surg.
8:145–157. doi:10.1016/j.jfms.2005.10.003
Trangerud, C., J. Grøndalen, A. Indrebø, A. Tverdal, E. Ropstad,
and L. Moe. 2007. A longitudinal study on growth and growth
variables in dogs of four large breeds raised in domestic envi-
ronments. J. Anim. Sci. 85:76–83. doi:10.2527/jas.2006-354
Williams, A. F. 1997. Hypoglycaemia of the newborn: A review.
Bull. World Health Organ. 75:261–290.
... Data about age and parity were very similar to those previously reported [23]. As expected, in agreement with other authors [31] a significant difference in litter size was observed among the BBSs, with the highest number of puppies in large-sized litters and the smallest in the small-sized, in agreement with Borge et al. [32]. ...
... The 8.4% of total losses within 7 d of age are a bit lower than the 12.4-15% reported in literature by [33,34], respectively. Interestingly, no significant differences in the distribution of natimortality, mortality within 24 h, mortality 24 h-7 d of age and total mortality among BBS and also between males and females within each BBS were found, in agreement with Mila et al. [31]. When differences between males and females' birthweight within each BBS was assessed, no significant differences were found, as previously reported [31]. ...
... Interestingly, no significant differences in the distribution of natimortality, mortality within 24 h, mortality 24 h-7 d of age and total mortality among BBS and also between males and females within each BBS were found, in agreement with Mila et al. [31]. When differences between males and females' birthweight within each BBS was assessed, no significant differences were found, as previously reported [31]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Apgar score (AS) represents a key tool for neonate assessment, but the possible breed effect on AS in newborn puppies has never been investigated. Therefore, data from 234 dog litters born by caesarean section, grouped according to breed body size (BBS) (small, medium, large), were evaluated. Live-birth puppies were assessed through AS within 5 min of delivery, and classified in viability classes: 0–3 severely distressed, 4–6 moderately distressed, 7–10 not distressed. Statistical analysis evaluated possible differences of AS and viability class according to BBS, and between BBS and puppies’ mortality. Results showed no differences in the distribution of mortalities among BBSs. However, an effect of BBS on the AS was found, with small-sized puppies being the most represented in the severely distressed class, but having the best survival chance compared to large-sized newborns. Through receiver-operating-characteristics analysis, the AS new cutoff values for survival and for death <24 h and 24 h–7 days of age were identified, and the viability classes were redefined, with a narrower class of moderately distressed puppy specific for each BBS. In conclusion, the refining of the AS in dog species is imperative, with cutoff values and viability classifications that must be adapted to the BBS.
... Based on this, 90 dogs were grouped into different categories, which are presented in Table 1. Age and breed were categorised according to published articles (Harvey, 2021;Mila et al., 2015). Due to the variety of diets, it was not possible to determine the exact amount of vitamin D in the diet of each group. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Optimal amount of vitamin D for the proper functioning of the immune system is different from the required vitamin D amount for bones to prevent rickets. However, reports on vitamin D reference values in dogs are minimal, and there is still not enough information regarding the relationship between vitamin D and various variables such as disease, age, breed, diet type, and so on, as well as its relationship with haematological and serum biochemical parameters. Obgectives: The present study aimed to determine reference values of 25(OH) Vit D in dogs and its concentration in different groups, categorized based on age, sex, breed, housing conditions, and diet, as well as 25(OH) Vit D relationship with hematology and serum biochemistry parameters. Methods: In this study, 90 healthy dogs were selected to determine the reference value of 25 (OH) Vit D of serum after evaluating of their haematological and biochemical parameters to assess their general health. Dogs were divided into different groups according to above-mentioned variables. Serum 25 (OH) Vit D was subsequently measured by the ELISA method. Results: The median concentration of 25 (OH) Vit D was 52.50 ng/ml with minimum and maximum amounts of 14.00 and 155.57 ng/ml, respectively. No significant difference was observed between 25 (OH) Vit D levels in the studied dogs regarding their different age, sex, breed, diet, housing condition, and reproductive status. Serum 25 (OH) Vit D concentration is directly correlated with the number of band neutrophils (p < 0.05). We also witnessed indirect correlations between serum 25 (OH) Vit D levels and the number of blood eosinophils and serum glucose (p < 0.05). Conclusion: In the present study age, sex, breed, housing condition and age had no significant effects on the amounts of 25(OH) vitamin D. According to correlations of vitamin D with MCH, band and eosinophil numbers and glucose, vitamin D may have a role in erythropoiesis and leukocytes response and also in energy metabolism in dog.
... Birth weight that reflects intrauterine growth is one of the most important determinants of neonate survival [103,110]. Puppies weighing 25% less than the average weight of a newborn in the given breed are suspected to have a significantly higher mortality rate [111]. The risk of death for puppies characterized by low birth weight is 12 times higher compared to other newborns of normal birth weight from the same litter [112]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The perinatal period has a critical impact on viability of the newborns. The variety of factors that can potentially affect the health of a litter during pregnancy, birth, and the first weeks of life requires proper attention from both the breeder and the veterinarian. The health status of puppies can be influenced by various maternal factors, including breed characteristics, anatomy, quality of nutrition, delivery assistance, neonatal care, and environmental or infectious agents encountered during pregnancy. Regular examinations and pregnancy monitoring are key tools for early detection of signals that can indicate disorders even before clinical signs occur. Early detection significantly increases the chances of puppies’ survival and proper development. The purpose of the review was to summarize and discuss the complex interactions between all elements that, throughout pregnancy and the first days of life, have a tangible impact on the subsequent fate of the offspring. Many of these components continue to pose challenges in veterinary neonatology; thus, publications presenting the current state of knowledge in this field are in demand.
... In the case of dogs, the mechanism of shivering thermogenesis is poor or absent, having a greater risk of hypothermia. Additionally, dog puppies (Canis lupus familiaris) have only 1.3% body fat [117]; therefore, they rely on milk intake and constant maternal care to properly thermoregulate [118,119]. A similar case is seen in cubs of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), where they are born in temperatures as low as −25 • C. ...
Article
Full-text available
Thermoregulation in newborn mammals is an essential species-specific mechanism of the nervous system that contributes to their survival during the first hours and days of their life. When exposed to cold weather, which is a risk factor associated with mortality in neonates, pathways such as the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA) are activated to achieve temperature control, increasing the circulating levels of catecholamine and cortisol. Consequently, alterations in blood circulation and mechanisms to produce or to retain heat (e.g., vasoconstriction, piloerection, shivering, brown adipocyte tissue activation, and huddling) begin to prevent hypothermia. This study aimed to discuss the mechanisms of thermoregulation in newborn domestic mammals, highlighting the differences between altricial and precocial species. The processes that employ brown adipocyte tissue, shivering, thermoregulatory behaviors, and dermal vasomotor control will be analyzed to understand the physiology and the importance of implementing techniques to promote thermoregulation and survival in the critical post-birth period of mammals. Also, infrared thermography as a helpful method to perform thermal measurements without animal interactions does not affect these parameters.
... However, the most important question is how to identify the newborns at risk and help them in the first days of life. Birthweight [6,[32][33][34] and Apgar score [32] are recognized as prognostic factors for early postpartum survival. On the contrary, as reported in [34], the Apgar score seems to be more accurate. ...
Article
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to investigate the impact of parturition type on vitality in newborn puppies, their weight gains, and survival in the first week postpartum. One hundred and twenty-three puppies were divided in three groups: vaginal parturition (VP), emergency (EM-CS), and elective cesarean section (EL-CS). Apgar scores were assessed 5, 15, and 60 min postpartum. Lactate and glucose concentrations were measured in amniotic fluid and umbilical blood; cortisol concentrations were measured in amniotic fluid and puppy urine. Puppies’ weight gain was tracked daily for 7 days postpartum. Apgar score at 5 and 15 min was significantly better in the VP group. EL-CS puppies had significantly lower umbilical blood and amniotic fluid lactate concentrations compared to the VP group, which also had higher umbilical blood lactate concentration than EM-CS puppies. The cortisol concentration in the amniotic fluid and in urine differed significantly between the groups, with the highest concentration in the EM-CS, followed by the VP group. Glucose concentration in amniotic fluid was higher in the VP group than EM-CS group. The type of parturition had no impact on puppies’ weight gain or their survival at birth; however, supportive treatment was provided for non-vital puppies. Non-invasive analysis of puppies’ fluids could help in the assessment of the neonatal vitality.
Article
Canine gestational age can be estimated based on fetal kidney length (L) although accuracy, sensitivity and specificity decrease during the last 5 days of pregnancy. In humans, fetal renal cortical and medullary thickness (CT and MT) and their ratio (CT/MT) are described as useful tools for monitoring the development of fetal kidneys. The aim of this study was to evaluate a potential relationship between canine fetal kidney parameters and gestational age. Ten clinically healthy pregnant bitches of different breeds were monitored by ultrasound at least twice from −10 to 0 days before parturition (dbp). L, CT, MT and CT/MT were measured on the three most caudal fetuses of both uterine horns. Statistical analysis was performed using a linear mixed model considering maternal size (small ≤10 kg, N = 4, medium 11–25 kg, N = 3, and large 26–40 kg, N = 3) as fixed effect, dbp (−10 to 0) and litter size as covariates, and the bitch as a random and repeated effect. Dbp and L, CT, MT showed a negative and linear correlation, and their estimated regression coefficients were −0.68 ± 0.14, −0.04 ± 0.01 and −0.12 ± 0.02 mm, respectively (P < 0.01). CT/MT decreased as parturition approached, whereas MT and CT increased. A statistically significant difference was found for L between small and large bitches (17 ± 1 vs 24 ± 2 mm, P = 0.02) and, for CT, between small, medium and large bitches (1.57 ± 0.04 vs 1.77 ± 0.04 vs 1.99 ± 0.05 mm, P < 0.001). None of the renal parameters were affected by litter size. L, CT, MT and CT/MT are related to dbp and may be considered for predicting parturition in dogs.
Article
Birth weight (bW) is considered an indicator of neonatal maturity and a predictor of neonatal mortality. According to its importance, many efforts have been made so far to identify physiological body weight ranges at birth. Due to the high heterogeneity among breeds, optimal bW is difficult to define in dogs. The aim of this study was to carefully analyze the shape and pattern of the bW distribution in dogs. Furthermore, the role of breed on bW determination was specifically investigated in relation to maternal (age, weight, height, diet, season, litter size) and neonatal (sex, malformations, assistance at birth) aspects. For these purposes two canine breeds with very similar phenotypic characteristics, Golden and Labrador retrievers, were selected. An accurate statistical model to explore bW distribution and compare it between Goldens and Labradors was developed. At birth most of the Golden and Labrador pups (estimated 95th percentile) weighed up to 630 g and 500 g, respectively. The estimated 5th percentile of bW distributions was 295 g in Golden and 290 g in Labrador pups. These lowest values could be indicative cut-offs of underweight pups. The probability of neonatal mortality within 1 week of life decreased with increasing bW (P = 0.031) and was higher in Golden than Labrador pups even though this difference was not significant. In conclusion, our results suggest that genetics have a relevant influence on the determination of birth weight which is confirmed to be closely associated with neonatal mortality.
Article
The aim of this study was to measure total aflatoxin (AFT), aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), ochratoxin A (OCA) and fumonisin (FUM) concentrations in dry dog feed and to evaluate the risk to animal health posed by their increased levels. A total of 90 dry food samples, which were commercially available to the owner, were collected from different shops in Turkey. Some of the food samples were collected from open packages, from which the dry food was sold in smaller amounts. Using commercial Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay test kits, all samples were examined for AFT, AFB1, OCA, and FUM concentrations. High-performance liquid chromatography was used for confirmation of measured parameters in 30 samples. The ELISA tests found AFT, AFB1, OCA, and FM concentrations (ng g ⁻¹) as 1.66, 0.64, 2.14, and 87.06, respectively. In terms of risk assessment, consumption of the dry foods, which are contaminated by AFT, AFB1 and OCA due possibly to the fact that the dry foods are produced from inappropriate raw material or sold in open packages in smaller amounts, poses a significant health risk for dogs. As a result, it is necessary to monitor the mycotoxin load in dry dog food as the use of raw materials of poor quality and selling the feed in smaller amounts from open packages over an uncertain time period predispose the dry feed to the growth of mycotoxin, especially when the storage conditions are favorable.
Article
Acyline contraception has been described in cats, but few data are available on the drug's long-term effect on growth. The relevant data cover until puberty with no radiographic description. We investigated the radiographic parameters throughout bone growth in order to more completely determine the drug's safety. Thirteen male and 12 female cats were studied, with the kittens being randomly assigned to one of the following groups within the first 24 h of birth: ACY, subcutaneous acyline, 33 µg/100 g, which injection was repeated weekly until age 3 months; or CO, untreated control. Body measurements were recorded weekly and radiographic parameters obtained from monthly radiographs of the antebrachium. In the ACY and CO male and female kittens, the body weight, withers height, and body length plus the age at the end of body growth and radial growth remained similar throughout the study (p>0.05). Both female groups finished radial growth before the males (p<0.05). The ACY females evidenced a longer radial length between the 8th and 28th weeks (p<0.05). All groups closed their proximal and distal physes within the normal ranges described for the species. The bone-cortex width was lower in the ACY vs. the CO animals at weeks 52 and 60 in the males and at weeks 24, 48, 52, and 56 in the females (p <0.05) The transient greater radial length and lower bone-cortex thickness observed in the treated cats were compensated for at the end of growth with no adverse clinical effects being observed. In conclusion, acyline as a contraceptive did not evidence a permanent or severe effect on domestic-cat growth.
Article
Growth represents a fundamental phase in a cat or dog's life and plays an important role in their life-long health. Energy intake influences not just bodyweight (both weight gain and loss), but also the rate of growth and even the success of reproduction. This article will take an in-depth look at the changing energy needs of cats and dogs from conception to adulthood and the role weight plays in supporting optimal growth.
Article
Full-text available
An early and high intake of colostrum is a major determinant of survival during the early suckling period, when most losses occur. Indeed, piglets are born devoid of body fat and are dependent on colostrum as their sole energy source. Colostrum also has other essential roles for the developing piglet; most importantly, it provides passive immunity and nutrients to the piglet and permits thermoregulation. It also stimulates gastrointestinal development, muscle protein synthesis and the development of active immunity. Neonatal swine can efficiently use colostrum since they have a remarkable capacity to deposit large amounts of fat and can also absorb intact immunoglobulins for 24 h postnatally. The production of colostrum, however, is very variable between sows and the factors affecting this variability are not well known. Such studies are most difficult to carry out since it is not easy to estimate colostrum yield. Indeed, the various methods that can be used to measure colostrum yield all have several drawbacks. The endocrine status of the sow undoubtedly affects the process of colostrogenesis and the underlying mammary changes associated with it. The composition of sow colostrum is well known, yet it is only recently that the presence of numerous bioactive compounds which can either protect piglets from infection or modulate their metabolism was detected in colostral secretions. There are indications that the composition of colostrum can be altered by some management components but further studies are necessary in that area.
Article
Full-text available
As puppies are born with very low immunoglobulin concentrations, they rely on passive immune transfer from ingested colostrum to acquire a protective immunity during the first few weeks of life. The purpose of this study was to describe the timing of gut closure in canine neonates. Twenty-two Beagle puppies received 3 ml of standardized canine colostrum at 0, 4, 8, 12, 16 or 24 h after birth using a feeding tube. Blood immunoglobulins G (IgG, M and A) were assayed 0, 4 and 48 h after colostrum ingestion. IgG absorption rate was significantly affected by the time of colostrum administration, and the IgG concentrations in puppies serum 48 h after administration were significantly higher when colostrum was ingested at 0-4 h of age than at 8-12 h or 16-24 h (1.68 ± 0.4, 0.79 ± 0.07 and 0.35 ± 0.08 g/l, respectively; p < 0.001). In the canine species, gut closure seems thus to begin as early as 4-8 h after birth and to be complete at 16-24 h. Consequently, this phenomenon appears to occur earlier in puppies than in most other species.
Article
Full-text available
Colostrum intake from birth to 24 h after the onset of parturition (T24) was estimated for 526 piglets from 40 litters. Plasma concentrations of immunoglobulin G (IgG), lactate, glucose and cortisol were determined at T24 for six piglets per litter. Plasma IgG concentration was also assayed at weaning (28 days) on the same piglets. Rectal temperature was measured at T24 on all piglets. Mortality was recorded until weaning and comparisons were made between piglets that died before weaning and those that were still alive at weaning. The piglets that died before weaning had lower birth weight, lower colostrum intake, lower weight gain between birth and T24, and had a lower rectal temperature, higher plasma cortisol concentration and lower plasma IgG and glucose concentrations at T24 than piglets still alive at weaning. In addition, a higher proportion of piglets that died before weaning had difficulty taking their first breath after birth and were affected by splayleg. Considering all piglets, colostrum intake was positively related to rectal temperature and plasma glucose concentration and negatively related to plasma cortisol concentration at T24. Plasma IgG concentration at T24 was explained by colostrum intake, IgG concentration in the ingested colostrum, birth weight and birth rank (P<0.0001). Plasma IgG concentration at weaning was related to plasma IgG concentration at T24 (r=0.54; P<0.0001) and to colostrum intake (r=0.32; P<0.0001). Finally, body weight was explained by colostrum intake, birth weight and age until 6 weeks of age (P<0.0001). These results show that colostrum intake is the main determinant of piglet survival through provision of energy and immune protection and has potential long-term effects on piglet growth and immunity.
Article
Neonatal diseases and losses are a common and often unavoidable problem within breeding kennels. Altogether, morbidity and mortality ranges, according to the literature, from 5 to 35%. Among non-infectious causes besides hypoxia during birth, hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and dehydration are mostly responsible for puppy diseases and losses. Approximately 90% of all deaths in hypoxaemic pups occur during the first 2 days. Of 183 pups with hypoxia, 63 died, 92.7% of them within 48 h after birth. Among infectious causes, bacterial infection is the most common cause of neonatal mortality. Escherichia coli, streptococci, staphylococci, Pseudomonas sp., Klebsiella sp., Enterobacter sp. and some other micro-organisms are regularly involved in neonatal infections. Post-mortem findings especially document E. coli, Staphylococcus sp. and Streptococcus sp. as responsible bacteria. The dam and the environment are suspected as sources of neonatal infections as it was shown by genetic relatedness of responsible bacterial strains isolated in both puppies and their dams. From a total of 517 puppies with bacterial infections, the treatment results documented that parenteral administration of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid in 308 neonates showed the best result. Diagnosis of diseases is often made difficult by the absence of variability in clinical signs contrary to adult dogs. Findings during a physical examination in pups differ from those in adults. Furthermore, treatment recommendations have to meet the special conditions in neonates concerning drug metabolism and excretion.
Article
An early and high intake of colostrum is a major determinant of survival during the early suckling period, when most losses occur. Indeed, piglets are born devoid of body fat and are dependent on colostrum as their sole energy source. Colostrum also has other essential roles for the developing piglet; most importantly, it provides passive immunity and nutrients to the piglet and permits thermoregulation. It also stimulates gastrointestinal development, muscle protein synthesis and the development of active immunity. Neonatal swine can efficiently use colostrum since they have a remarkable capacity to deposit large amounts of fat and can also absorb intact immunoglobulins for 24 h postnatally. The production of colostrum, however, is very variable between sows and the factors affecting this variability are not well known. Such studies are most difficult to carry out since it is not easy to estimate colostrum yield. Indeed, the various methods that can be used tomeasure colostrum yield all have several drawbacks. The endocrine status of the sow undoubtedly affects the process of colostrogenesis and the underlying mammary changes associated with it. The composition of sow colostrum is well known, yet it is only recently that the presence of numerous bioactive compounds which can either protect piglets from infection or modulate their metabolism was detected in colostral secretions. There are indications that the composition of colostrum can be altered by some management components but further studies are necessary in that area.
Article
The metabolic effects of 24 hours of neonatal fasting in unanesthetized dogs were compared to fasting for three hours during the first day of life. Blood glucose, lactate, and ketones were unaltered while FFA (0.94 ± 0.07 v 0.70 ± 0.04 mmol/L, P < .001), glycerol (0.21 ± 0.01 v 0.12 ± 0.01 mmol/L, P < .01), and triglycerides (0.41 ± 0.03 v 0.23 ± 0.03 mmol/L, P < .01) were lower at 24 hours. Glucose production and lactate and alanine turnover were unaffected while palmitate turnover declined (8.8 ± 0.7 v 5.1 ± 0.5 μmol/kg/min, P < .01). Oxygen consumption decreased (6.9 ± 0.4 v 6.0 ± 0.3 mL/kg/min, P < .02) while RQ increased (0.79 ± 0.02 v 0.86 ± 0.03, P < 0.05) at 24 hours. Hepatic glycogen content declined (575 ± 37 to 266 ± 32 μmol/g, P < .001) and could account for a GP of 12 μmol/kg/min between 3 and 24 hours of age. Both gluconeogenesis from lactate and alanine increased, together accounting for 7% and 21% of glucose production at 3 and 24 hours. The increment in gluconeogenesis may be facilitated by augmented hepatic cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase at 24 hours (1.8 ± 0.2 v 14.1 ± 0.8 nmol/min mg protein, P < .01). Despite the decline in VO2, hepatic ATP and energy charge were unaltered by 24 hours of fasting. These data suggest that FFA availability diminishes during a prolonged neonatal canine fast resulting in lower VO2. Furthermore, as FFA availability declines, glucose utilization becomes the predominant precursor for energy production. As hepatic glycogen becomes depleted, gluconeogenesis must now constitute a greater proportion of systemic glucose production. Nevertheless, VO2 is not maintained. The paradoxical stability of hepatic ATP with lower VO2 suggests that hepatic ATP utilization may have also declined.
Article
Data on body weight of pure-bred kittens (Maine Coon, Norwegian Forest Cat, Birman, Persian, Siamese/Oriental Shorthair Cat) from birth (n 245) to 12 weeks of age (n 135) were obtained from breeders. Absolute birth weight (in g) was higher in larger breeds than in smaller breeds, whereas relative birth weight (in % of mature female weight) tended to be higher in smaller breeds (Maine Coon 115 g, 2.3 %; Norwegian Forest Cat 106 g, 2.7 %; Birman 97 g, 2.8 %; Siamese 92 g, 2.8 %; Persian 82 g, 3.2 %). Relative birth weight was lower than that described in the literature for colony cats. Relative litter weight was highest in Norwegian Forest Cats (14.6 (SD 1.8) %; n 10) and lowest in Birmans (8.8 (SD 3.1) %, n 7; P < 0.05); the other breeds were in-between (11.9 (SD 2.0) %; n 19). Absolute growth was faster in larger breeds than in smaller breeds. In relation to expected mature weight, there was good agreement with data from colony cats but no clear-cut effect of breed size. There appeared to be a trend to an earlier onset of sexual dimorphism in larger breeds.
Article
The goal of this study was to evaluate the relation between kittens' birth weights and biometrical factors from the kittens and the mother during pregnancy. Knowing fetal birth weight could help in detecting abnormalities before parturition. A Caesarean-section or a postnatal management plan could be scheduled. Consequently, the neonatal mortality rate should be decreased. We used ultrasonographic measurements of femur length (FL) or fetal biparietal diameter (BPD), pregnancies, and maternal factors to obtain a model of prediction. For this purpose, linear mixed-effects models were used because of random effects (several fetuses for one queen and a few paired measurements) and fixed effects (litter size, pregnancy rank, weight, wither height, and age of the queen). This study was performed in 24 purebred queens with normal pregnancies and normal body conditions. Queens were scanned in the second half of pregnancy, using a micro-convex probe. They gave birth to 140 healthy kittens whose mean birth weight was 104 g (ranged 65 to 165 g). No correlation between the birth weight and the age of the queen, as a maternal factor alone, was observed. But the birth weight was found to be inversely proportional to the pregnancy rank and the litter size. Moreover, birth weight increased when the weight and wither height of queen increased. BPD and FL increased linearly during pregnancy so a model was used to estimate mean birth weight. Using this model, we found a correlation between mean birth weights and an association of parameters: maternal factors (wither height and age), and litter size.