Prophylaxis of respiratory distress syndrome in premature calves by administration of dexamethasone or a prostaglandin F analogue to their dams before parturition

Wolfgang Zaremba From the Clinic for Bovine Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany.

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Eberhard Grunert From the Clinic for Bovine Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany.

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Jörg E. Aurich From the Clinic for Bovine Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Bischofsholer Damm 15, 30173 Hannover, Germany.

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate effects of preterm induction of calving by administration of flumethasone and dinoprost on the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio in amniotic fluid and on neonatal respiratory distress after birth.

Animals

45 dairy cows and their newborn calves.

Procedure

Amniotic fluid from 45 cows was obtained and tested between days 258 and 270 of gestation. Cows were then given flumethasone (10 mg; n = 15), dinoprost (25 mg; n = 15), or saline solution (n = 15). Thirty hours later, left flank cesarean section was performed, amniotic fluid was collected, and the calf was delivered. Blood for determination of progesterone was withdrawn at amniotic fluid sample collections and before induction of calving. Blood for analysis of pH and base deficit was collected from calves during cesarean section and repeatedly after birth. Phospholipids in amniotic fluid were measured by thin-layer chromatography, and progesterone was determined by radioimmunoassay. Base deficit and pH were measured, using a blood gas analyzer.

Results

Before treatments, a corpus luteum was present in all cows and the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio in amniotic fluid did not differ between groups. Thirty hours after injections of flumethasone and dinoprost, progesterone concentration had decreased (P < 0.05) and the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than values in controls. In calves delivered after flumethasone or dinoprost treatments, the degree of acidosis was significantly (P < 0.05) less than that in controls.

Conclusions

Flumethasone and dinoprost, given to pregnant cows, accelerate fetal lung maturation and improve respiratory function after birth. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:404–407)

Abstract

Objective

To investigate effects of preterm induction of calving by administration of flumethasone and dinoprost on the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio in amniotic fluid and on neonatal respiratory distress after birth.

Animals

45 dairy cows and their newborn calves.

Procedure

Amniotic fluid from 45 cows was obtained and tested between days 258 and 270 of gestation. Cows were then given flumethasone (10 mg; n = 15), dinoprost (25 mg; n = 15), or saline solution (n = 15). Thirty hours later, left flank cesarean section was performed, amniotic fluid was collected, and the calf was delivered. Blood for determination of progesterone was withdrawn at amniotic fluid sample collections and before induction of calving. Blood for analysis of pH and base deficit was collected from calves during cesarean section and repeatedly after birth. Phospholipids in amniotic fluid were measured by thin-layer chromatography, and progesterone was determined by radioimmunoassay. Base deficit and pH were measured, using a blood gas analyzer.

Results

Before treatments, a corpus luteum was present in all cows and the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio in amniotic fluid did not differ between groups. Thirty hours after injections of flumethasone and dinoprost, progesterone concentration had decreased (P < 0.05) and the lecithin-to-sphingomyelin ratio was significantly (P < 0.05) higher than values in controls. In calves delivered after flumethasone or dinoprost treatments, the degree of acidosis was significantly (P < 0.05) less than that in controls.

Conclusions

Flumethasone and dinoprost, given to pregnant cows, accelerate fetal lung maturation and improve respiratory function after birth. (Am J Vet Res 1997;58:404–407)

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