Postpartum disorders in bitches, queens and neonates (Proceedings)

ADVERTISEMENT

Postpartum disorders in bitches, queens and neonates (Proceedings)

source-image
Apr 01, 2009
1234Next The periparturient period can be associated with high morbidity and even mortality for the dam and neonates. The periparturient period is defined here as the immediate prepartum period (1-2 weeks before parturition) and the 30-45 day post partum period before weaning. The diagnoses of periparturient problems first require their recognition and differentiation from normal situations; effective treatment depends on both timely diagnoses and intervention. Normal Postpartum Events Normally, dams stay very close to their offspring during the first 2 weeks postpartum, leaving the whelping/queening box briefly if at all to eat and eliminate. They are alert and content to remain with their offspring. Some protective dams may show aggression to housemate animals or even people with whom they are normally tolerant, such behavior tends to dissipate after 1-2 weeks of lactation. Lactation typically presents the greatest nutritional and caloric demand of the female's life. Weight loss and dehydration may occur and impact lactation if food and water are not made readily available, sometimes this entails leaving both in the nest box with a nervous dam. Partial anorexia can be exhibited during the last weeks of gestation and in the immediate postpartum period, but the appetite should return and increase as lactation progresses. Poor appetite during the last weeks of gestation can be due to displacement of the gastrointestinal tract by the gravid uterus. Partial anorexia early in the postpartum period can occur secondary to digestive upset following the consumption of numerous placentae. Diarrhea can occur secondary to increased rations and rich food (bacterial overgrowth secondary to carbohydrate malassimilation). Marked postpartum effluvium is normal in the bitch, usually occurring at 4-6 weeks after whelping, and sparing only the head. This is usually more marked than that which occurs in conjunction with the typical estrous cycle, and can be interpreted as pathologic by an owner, especially in conjunction with the weight loss typically associated with lactation. The body temperature of the dam may be mildly elevated (<103.0 degrees F) in the immediate postpartum period, reflecting anticipated normal inflammation associated with parturition, but should return to normal levels within 24-48 hours. If a cesarean section took place, differentiating normal post surgical inflammation from fever associated with pathology may be difficult. The physical examination and a complete hemogram help the clinician differentiate between the two. Normal postpartum lochia is brick red in color, non odorous, and diminishes over several days to weeks (uterine involution and repair occur for up to 16 weeks in the bitch). The mammary glands should not be painful; rather they are symmetric and moderately firm without heat, erythema, or palpable firm masses. If expressed, normal milk is grey to white in color and of watery consistency. 1234Next