Veterinary Nursing: Gestation, Parturition, Lactation, Neonatology and Pediatrics in Cats and Dogs

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*****

Intact (unspayed) female dog

Dog

Intact male dog

Castrate

Castrated male dog

Queen

Intact female cat

Tom

Intact male cat

*****'s first heat

Usually between 6-8 months of age

Heat Cycles of Female Dogs

Approx. every 6 months, typically experiencing two heat cycles per year.

Proestrus in *****es

Lasts 9-10 days. Uterine lining becomes highly vascular and bloody discharge will be shed from the vagina. Female is not receptive during this time.

Estrus in *****es

Lasts 9-10 days. Follows proestrus. Some bloody discharge may occur but usually lelss or not at all. Female is receptive to male.

Pseudopregnancy

Non-pregnant **** exhibits maternal signs when pups would have been born if **** had been bred. Mammary development. Lactation. Maternal Behavior.

Photoperiod

Day length. Has little influence on the heat cycles of dogs. Has a large influence on cats.

Mid-fall to Mid-winter

The time when cats normally do not come into heat. Cats can come into heat at this time, especially if they are kept indoors.

Estrus in Queens

Lasts 8 to 10 days. Cats are induced ovulators. If they do not mate(and do not ovulate) they will usually come into estrus again in 2-14 (average 7) days. If they mate and ovulate but do not become pregnant, they will usually come into estrus again in approx. 45 days. Free roaming queens may have 2-4 litters per year.

Superfecundation

Fertilization of ova in the same litter by separate acts of coitus; thus kittens/puppies in the same litter may have different fathers.

Gestation of Queens

63-65 days

Gestation of *****es

63-65 days with a wider range of possibility depending on when in their cycle they were bred.

Dam

mother

Parturition

Birth

Whelping

parturition in *****es

Queening

parturition in queens

Stage I

Restlessness, Vocalization, Nesting behavior, Tachypnea. At the end of this stage, cats will lay down and purr loudly.

Stage II

When puppies/kittens are expelled. Strong uterine and abdominal contractions become evident. 20-60 mins to push out each puppy and up to 20 mins per kitten. Up to 2 hrs between puppies and 24 hours total for dogs. Approx. 5-15 mins after delivery of each puppy/kitten, its corresponding placenta is delivered.

Post Partum

After birth care of dam

Lochia

Hemorrhagic vulvar discharge (normal). 8-10 wks postpartum in dogs. 3 wks postpartum in cats. should be non-odorous.

Metritis

Uterine infection

Mastitis

Mammary infection. Presenting problem may be ill/ dying babies. Yellow- foul smelling milk. Mammary tissue warm to the touch, erythmatous, fever, Lethargy, anorexia.

Lactation

Milk production. Continue mother on kitten/puppy food. Colostrum provides antibodies against disease if consumed during the first two days of life. Ensure dam is producing milk.

Weaning Kittens

Need to nurse for at least 6 weeks, preferably 8 if possible.

Weaning Puppies

Puppies need to nurse for at least 6 weeks. They tend to survive better than kittens when nursing is stopped early.

Solid Food

Can be eaten starting at 4 weeks, BUT they must continue nursing

Dam Aftercare of Neonates

Remove fetal membranes, Clean each neonate, Begin to nurse the young shortly after birth.

Reasons Why Dam Won't Care For Young

Caesarean Section (Dam is anesthetized). Maternal death or medical emergency. Rejection of the young by the dam.

Sexing Puppies

In males, the penis may be identified on the ventral abdomen. In females the vulva is on the caudoventral abdomen, in the approximate location where the scrotum would be in the male.

Sexing Kittens

The genitalia of both males and females are located immediately ventral to the anus. Females have a small vertical slit immediately ventral to the anus. Males have a small space just ventral to the anus where testicles will become evident as the kitten matures. Ventral t this males have a small circular opening. This is the preputial orifice.

Dewclaw Removal

Digit one of the forelimb and hindlimb, located on the medial aspect of the paws are cut from their attachment to the metatarsal bone.

Tail Dock

Distal portion of the tail is cut. Length remaining depends on the breed. In most cases, veterinarians suture the skin at the tip of the tail.

Hand Feeding

Kittens and puppies need to nurse every 1-2 hours in the first two weeks of life. Formulas typically contain evaporated milk, an egg, and honey.

Elimination

In the first two to three weeks of life, the dam will lick the abdomen and perineum of the young during and after nursing, stimulating them to urinate and deficate. Without a mother a person will need to provide this stimulation after each bottle feeding. The best method is to use a paper towel soaked in warm water.

Temperature Control

The dam typically wraps her body around the young to keep them warm . Without her, the young may need to have hot water bottles or heating pads placed in their boxes. Room Temp. should be kept at approx. 80 F.

Cleft Palate

Hole in the hard palate which makes it difficult to impossible for neonate to form suction for nursing.

Fading Puppy/Kitten Syndrome

Signs: Failure to thrive ~ Listlessness~ Loss of appetite~ Hypothermia~ Death~ May occur rapidly. Common Causes: Herpesvirus infection or other viral infections~ Inadequate nutrition, hydration, or warmth.

Umbilical Hernia

Failure of the abdominal wall to close in the fetus

Chryptorchidism

Undescended testicles- Retained in abdominal cavity or inguinal region. Unilateral or Bilateral.

Juvenile Vaginitis

Bacterial or viral infection of the vagina. May see yellow mucus discharge. Usually resolves with or without treatment.

Balanoposthitis

Infection of the penis or prepuce. May see yellow mucus discharge. Usually resolves with or without treatment.

Roundworms

Very commonly found in puppies and kittens. Diagnosed by- Observing adult worms in vomitus or stool. Preforming a fecal flotation on a stool sample. Usually treated by vermicide (worm killer)

Hookworms

May be found in puppies or kittens, but more commonly in puppies. May result in severe anemia. Usually treated with oral vermicide

Coccidiosis

Caused by a protazoan in the intestinal tract. Signs: Diarrhea, Dehydration, Sometimes death in the very young. Treated with oral antibiotic

Fleas

Infestations may cause severe anemia and death in young kittens and puppies.

Distemper/Parvo Vaccine and FVRCP Vaccine

Given at 6 weeks of age and again every 3-4 weeks until over 16 weeks of age. It is then given every one to three years depending upon the protocol of the practice.

Rabies Vaccination

First vaccination is given as early as 12 weeks or 3 months of age but NO LATER THAN 4 MONTHS OF AGE IN NYS. Given again 1 year later. Depending on label of vaccine, it is given again every year or every three years thereafter.

Bubbles coming from the nose of neonate trying to nurse or gagging while nursing

Signs of Cleft Palate

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