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Bodyweight and feed intake of German shepherd bitches during pregnancy and lactation

, : Bodyweight and feed intake of German shepherd bitches during pregnancy and lactation. Journal of Small Animal Practice 36(1): 7-11

Thirty German shepherd bitches were assessed for weekly changes in bodyweight, daily food intake and litter size during pregnancy and lactation. The weekly changes in food intake and bodyweight were divided into two and three phases, respectively. Linear regression equations were used to fit each phase. The bodyweight of the bitches at mating ranged between 17 and 36 kg. The same diet was used for all the bitches throughout the study. Despite the tendency that litter size, birthweight and bodyweight of the puppies at three and six weeks increased with age of the bitch, no significant differences could be found. Significant (P < 0.05) bodyweight differences existed at mating between the age groups. High correlations existed between mating weight and weight at 60 days of pregnancy (r2 = 0.94) and between mating weight and weaning weight (r2 = 0.89) of the litter. It was possible to successfully establish performance criteria for the reproductive German shepherd bitch in a commercial breeding unit, which can be used as a baseline to improve diets and feeding programmes by means of dietary manipulations.


PMID: 7815785

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