Puppy Apgar scores after vaginal delivery and caesarean section

https://doi.org/10.17221/158/2016-VETMEDCitation:Titkova R., Fialkovicova M., Karasova M., Hajurka J. (2017): Puppy Apgar scores after vaginal delivery and caesarean section. Veterinarni Medicina, 62: 488-492.
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The aim of this study was to evaluate the vital signs of newborn puppies using the modified Apgar score after spontaneous delivery and caesarean section. The survival of puppies was monitored for up to 24 hours after birth. The experiment consisted of ten deliveries of bitches with dystocia terminated by caesarean section (C-section group) and ten bitches with spontaneous vaginal delivery (SVD group). Vital signs of neonates were evaluated using a modified method of the Apgar score 5, 10 and 15 min after birth. Five evaluation criteria (colour of mucous membranes, reflex irritability, motility, heart rate and respiration) were used with puppies classified into three scoring groups: “severe distress” (0–3 points), “moderate distress” (4–6 points) and “no distress” (7–10 points). In the SVD group, 57 puppies were evaluated; 98.2% of puppies were born alive, all survived their first 24 hours of life. At the time of birth, 1.8% of puppies were dead (1/57). The Apgar scores of all foetuses were in the “no distress” category. In the C-section group (n = 37), 13.5% of puppies (5/37) were stillborn, two puppies (6.3%) died within 24 hours of delivery. The “no distress” group included 51.4% (19/37) of puppies, while 5.4% (2/37) of puppies were classified into “moderate distress” and 43.2% of puppies (16/37; P < 0.001 at 5 min, P < 0.005 at 10 min and P < 0.005 at 15 min after delivery) were classified into “severe distress”. These results confirm the influence of type of delivery on the Apgar score immediately after parturition and on the short-term survival rate of puppies after parturition.
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