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Assessment of canine neonatal viability—the Apgar score

Veronesi, MC
Reproduction in domestic animals 2016 v.51 Suppl S1 pp. 46-50
humans, mortality, neonates, prognosis, puppies, viability, whelping
Perinatal mortality is relatively high in dogs, with deaths peaking around the time of birth and during the first week of age. Among the several causes of canine perinatal mortality, whelping is the greatest cause. Therefore, early neonatal assistance at birth should be mandatory with dogs. In comparison with human neonatology, knowledge and technological ability in canine neonatology is tremendously scarce. The Apgar score for the newborn viability assessment at birth represents a feasible method for the prompt recognition of newborns that will need special assistance immediately after birth. The five parameters of the Apgar score were adapted to the canine species by different studies. Advantages and limits, as well as clinical applications, are presented and discussed in further detail. It was concluded that the Apgar score represents the easiest and simplest, non‐invasive and reliable method, that could be performed under every clinical and practical condition, for newborn puppies viability evaluations and short‐term survival prognosis.