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Conceptus ecobiometry and triplex Doppler ultrasonography of uterine and umbilical arteries for assessment of fetal viability in dogs

Miranda, S.A., Domingues, S.F.S.
Theriogenology 2010 v.74 no.4 pp. 608-617
dogs, fetus, viability, biometry, blood flow, uterus, umbilical arteries, hemodynamics, pregnancy, ultrasonography, puppies, whelping, vigor
The objectives were to: 1) evaluate blood flow in the uterine (UA) and umbilical (Uma) arteries in the pregnant bitch, by measuring the resistive index (RI) and pulsatility index (PI); 2) to note the presence or absence of the early diastolic notch and diastolic flow in the UA and Uma flow waveforms, respectively; and 3) perform conceptus ecobiometry for fetal growth assessment during pregnancy. Six healthy bitches were examined on approximately Days -44, -42, -36, -31, -28, -25, -21, -18, -14, -8, -4, and -2 of pregnancy (whelping = Day 0). Triplex Doppler and B-mode ultrasonography were used to assess blood flow and conceptus ecobiometry. All pregnancies ended with a normal whelping and birth of live puppies. Prior to whelping, all conceptus dimensions increased significantly, whereas RI and PI of both the Uma and UA decreased significantly. For the UA, RI and PI were (mean ± SEM) 0.95 ± 0.02 and 2.75 ± 0.41, respectively, on Day -44, and were 0.60 ± 0.01 and 0.99 ± 0.03 on Day -4. For the Uma, RI and PI were 0.99 ± 0.01 and 2.42 ± 0.03 on Day -31, and were 0.62 ± 0.01 and 1.15 ± 0.02 on Day -4. The complete disappearance of the early diastolic notch in the UA, and the appearance of diastolic flow in the Uma occurred on Days -16 ± 5 and -21 ± 1. The authors concluded that UA and Uma perfusion were important end points to assess fetal vitality in bitches. Furthermore, the current reference values provided a baseline for monitoring normal and abnormal pregnancies in bitches.