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Neonatal period in the dog : Immunological and nutritional determinants for survival

Mila, Hanna. Neonatal period in the dog : Immunological and nutritional determinants for survival. PhD, Pathologie, Toxicologie, Génétique et Nutrition, Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse, 2015

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Neonatal mortality in dogs (within the first three weeks after birth) accounts on average for 20% of puppies born alive, being thus responsible for a great economic loss to dog breeders. However, immunological and nutritional determinants of puppies survival are poorly described. This dissertation thus investigated the risk factors of neonatal mortality in dogs, and in particular the importance of colostrum intake for survival. The first part of results revealed a strong association between early growth rate (during the first two days of life) and neonatal losses. As early growth rate reflects the colostrum intake, the role of colostrum was then addressed. Passive immune transfer was shown to affect mortality rate, with serum IgG concentration at two days of age lower than 2.3 g/L being characterized as in deficit of maternal immunoglobulins. Similar lack of immunoprotection was observed for a specific canine pathogen (canine parvovirus type 2), as puppies with low antibody titers at two days of age seroconverted or underwent parvovirus infection significantly earlier than puppies with higher titers. Energy intake, evaluated via blood glucose concentration at 24h of life, was also found associated with survival: puppies with low glucose concentration (≤ 92 mg/dl) were found at higher risk of death. Besides the strong relationship between colostrum ingestion, providing passive immunity and energy, the impact of birth weight and vitality at birth (evaluated via Apgar score) on puppies’ survival was also evidenced. Colostrum immune quality (evaluated via IgG concentration), although not directly linked with the risk of neonatal death, was found of great variability, most probably putting some puppies at a risk of passive immune deficit. The present study contributed to the knowledge about the risk factors of mortality to be controlled in breeding kennels. Results provided in this work revealed the crucial role of the fetal growth, course of parturition and intake of the colostrum for the newborn dog. Regular weighing of newborns can be advised as a practical application for dog breeders, as it allows to identify puppies at a higher risk of death and to provide puppies with additional nursing and veterinary care.

Item Type:PhD Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords:
Institution:Université de Toulouse > Institut National Polytechnique de Toulouse - Toulouse INP (FRANCE)
Laboratory name:
Research Director:
Chastant-Maillard, Sylvie
Deposited On:08 Jul 2016 08:12

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