Thermal homeostasis in the newborn puppy: behavioral and physiological responses
Keywords:cooling, hypothermia, neonatal care, puppy welfare, thermal biology, viability
Adaptation to extrauterine life brings about diverse changes, which initially are reflected in physiological alterations in the newborn puppy. Besides, the thermoregulating capacity of the newborn puppy is deficient and many of the physiological processes for survival depend on this capacity. Harsh modifications in body temperature can lead to hypothermia in a few hours. Hence, the first 24 to 72 h of life correspond to the highest risk time, in which the newborn can course with moderate to severe hypothermia because the shivering reflexes and vasoconstriction mechanisms are not yet developed in the newborn of this species. Stabilization of temperature is reached until the 18th day of age. However, adequate consumption of the colostrum could provide a high supply of energy, contributing to a fast recovery of temperature and, consequently, to a high survival rate. The objective of this review is to analyze the factors that affect thermoregulation of the newborn puppy, the physiological and behavioral responses, as well as to discuss the influence of the colostrum as an energy source and production of heat to face hypothermia, aside from discussing recent scientific findings of infrared thermography (IRT) used to assess the thermal response of the newborn puppy to cope with hypothermia.
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