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Use of fetal skeletal mineralization for prediction of parturition date in cats

Davida R. Haney DVM1, Julie K. Levy DVM, PhD, DACVIM2, Susan M. Newell DVM, MS, DACVR3,4, John P. Graham MVB, MS, DACVR5, and Shawn P. Gorman MS6
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  • 1 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  • | 2 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  • | 3 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  • | 4 Present address is Ocean State Veterinary Specialists, 3307 S County Trail, East Greenwich, RI 02818.
  • | 5 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.
  • | 6 Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Abstract

Objective—To determine the relationship between parturition date and fetal skeletal mineralization detected radiographically in cats.

Design—Prospective clinical trial.

Animals—31 queens and their 49 pregnancies.

Procedure—Seventeen pregnant queens were radiographed with a computed radiography system every 2 to 3 days from 1 week after pregnancy was identified by abdominal palpation until parturition. Radiographs were evaluated to determine the first identifiable mineralization of 16 bony structures and teeth during each pregnancy. This information was used to establish a table of expected parturition dates on the basis of fetal mineralization. Single radiographs from an additional 32 pregnant cats were evaluated, and predictions of parturition dates were made on the basis of the mineralization table.

Results—Mineralization was first detected 25 to 29 days prior to parturition (dpp). Mineralization was determined for the spinal column (22 to 27 dpp), skull (21 to 27 dpp), ribs (20 to 25 dpp), scapula (17 to 24 dpp), humerus (20 to 24 dpp), femur (19 to 23 dpp), radius (15 to 22 dpp), tibia (15 to 21 dpp), ulna (5 to 21 dpp), pelvis (8 to 20 dpp), fibula (0 to 17 dpp), tail (8 to 16 dpp), metacarpals and metatarsals (3 to 14 dpp), phalanges (0 to 11 dpp), calcaneus (0 to 10 dpp), and teeth (1 to 6 dpp). Date of parturition was predictable within 3 days in 75% of cats.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Identification of bony structures in the fetus is useful in estimating the time to parturition in queens. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1614–1616)