Hematological and Blood Biochemical Characteristics of Newborn Heavy Draft Foals After Dystocia

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Abstract

The negative impact of equine dystocia on hematological and serum biochemical profile of neonatal foals remains unknown, particularly in heavy draft horses that show high incidence of dystocia. This study aimed to reveal the hematological and serum biochemical profile of the foals born in normal delivery and examine the effect of dystocia on blood properties in heavy draft newborn foals. In the normal birth group (n = 23), stage II labor was <30 minutes, with spontaneous or assisted delivery with mild traction by one or two people. In the dystocia group (n = 13), stage II labor was ≥30 minutes, with strong traction by more than three people or mechanical tools with or without correcting fetal displacement. Blood samples were collected from the jugular vein at 0, 1, and 12 hours and 1 and 2 days after foaling. Red blood cells, hemoglobin concentration, and packed cell volume remained significantly lower in the dystocia group than in the normal birth group. The white blood cell count was significantly higher in dystocia foals (1 day: P < .05). Dystocia foals had significantly higher cortisol (1 hour: P < .05), urea nitrogen (1 hour: P < .05), and creatine kinase activities (1 hour: P < .01, 12 hours: P < .05). This study revealed that dystocia foals were more likely to be affected by anemia, physical stress, and muscle damage than normal birth foals.

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