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Neonatal puppy survival after planned caesarean section in the bitch using aglepristone as a primer: A retrospective study on 74 cases

Roos, Juliette, Maenhoudt, Cindy, Zilberstein, Luca, Mir, Fernando, Borges, Paulo, Furthner, Etienne, Niewiadomska, Zuzanna, Nudelmann, Nicolas, Fontbonne, Alain
Reproduction in domestic animals 2018 v.53 Suppl S3 pp. 85-95
Great Dane, bitches, cesarean section, dystocia, estrus, mortality, ovulation, pregnancy, premature birth, progeny, progesterone, puppies, pups, retrospective studies, ultrasonography, viability, whelping
Since most of dystocia end up in caesarean sections (C‐sections), the history of any problem during whelping is a good reason to plan in advance a further C‐section. Our aim was to confirm that on a large sample and over an extended period of time, mortality in puppies <2 weeks of age was low, born after a planned C‐section using aglepristone as a primer. Seventy‐four C‐sections on 59 different bitches were included. Bitches were monitored during oestrus to estimate the day of ovulation by progesterone assays; 60, 61 or 62 days after ovulation, foetal viability was checked by ultrasonography and progesterone plasma level was measured. None of the bitches was at term (progesterone plasma level >2 ng/ml). An injection of aglepristone was performed in late afternoon to block the effect of progesterone, mimicking its drop at the end of pregnancy. The C‐section was conducted the following morning. Twenty‐one breeds were represented most of which were bulldogs (26%, 21/74) and Great Danes (16%, 13/74). Four hundred and thirty‐five puppies were born. A total of 43/435 puppies died within the first 2 weeks (9.89%). None of the puppies showed any external signs of prematurity. The average number of deaths per litter relative to the date after ovulation was similar (0.5 pups per litter at day 60, 0.7 at day 61, 0.4 at day 62). This study shows that planned C‐section after an accurate determination of ovulation and using aglepristone as a primer is a safe procedure for bitches and their offspring. It may be offered to owners if a pregnant bitch is “at risk” of dystocia.