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Clinical management of dystocia due to fetal flexion in a spotted deer (Axis axis).


Dystocia is the most common reproductive problem observed in wild ruminants in captivity (Wallach and Boever, 1983). Dystocia is also documented in zoo animals in India (Arora, 2003). Dystocia may be caused by fetal, maternal or mechanical causes (Hafez and Hafez, 2000; Jackson, 1995). A case of dystocia due to fetal maldisposition in a spotted deer and its successive treatment is reported here.


A free ranging full term pregnant spotted deer (Axis axis) was found standing isolated near Otteri lake, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur. It was found with dead fawn hanging out from the vulva. Head, neck and a part of right forelimb of the fawn alone could be noticed. The animal frequently lied down and got up, licked and tried to pull the fetus but was unable to deliver.


The Spotted deer was chemically immobilized with Xylazine and Ketamine @ 1mg/kg and 5mg/kg bodyweight by using a blow pipe. Signs of sedation started after 2 minutes, the deer came to sternal recumbency after 4 minutes of darting and lateral recumbency after 6 minutes. The animal was blindfolded and sternal recumbency was maintained to avoid respiratory distress and bloat. Detailed examination of perineum was carried out which revealed foul smelling exudates from vulva, clumps of fly eggs in perineum and dead fetus with extended head, neck and right forelimb.

The perineal area was washed with potassium permanganate solution. Liquid paraffin was applied liberally as a lubricant and through the birth canal, left fore limb was manipulated which revealed flexed carpus. The fetus was repelled back from the pelvic inlet, posture was corrected and dead fawn was pulled out by forced traction. The placenta was removed completely. Amoxycillin and Cloxacillin (@10mg/kg) and Meloxicam (@0.5mg/kg) were administered intramuscularly. Herbal fly repellant spray was sprayed over the perineum.

The deer was transferred to transit area of Zoo Veterinary Hospital for observation and antibiotic and anti-inflammatory were continued for three days. No foul swelling discharge could be observed in following days. Body temperature was monitored by using infrared thermometer thrice a day. After observing for fifteen days, the deer was released from where it was captured.


Jackson (1995) opined that all obstetrical cases should be treated as potential emergencies and should be handled without delay. Fetal cases of dystocia include fetopelvic disproportion and fetal maldisposition. In the present case, fetal maldisposition due to left carpal flexion and resultant abnormal posture caused dystocia. Causes for fetal maldisposition are difficult to explain and may result from accidental trapping of nose or foot on the brim of pelvis or soft structures in birth canal during early stages of parturition (Roberts, 2004).

Signs of dystocia include appearance of fetal head but no fore limbs, the tail but no hindlimbs or fetal head and a single fore limb. Larger fetuses of monotocous species are more prone to maldisposition than relatively small ovoid fetuses of polytocous species (Jackson, 1995).

Jackson (1995) suggested relieving dystocia due to carpal flexion by repelling back of maldispositioned fetus and correction of carpal flexion, either by hand or by calving rope.


The authors are thankful to the Chief Conservator of Forests and Director, Arignar Anna Zoological Park, Vandalur for permitting to undertake the work.


Arora, B.M. (2003). Indian Wildlife Diseases and Disorders. Association of Indian Zoo and Wildlife Veterinarians, Bareilly, India, p. 381-382.

Hafez, B and Hafez, E.S.E. (2000). Reproduction in Farm Animals, 7th Ed. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Philadelphia.

Jackson, P.G.G. (1995). Handbook of Veterinary Obstetrics. W.B. Saunders Company Limited, London.

Roberts, S.J. (2004). Veterinary Obstetrics and Genital Diseases. 2nd Ed. CBS Publishers and Distributors, Chennai, India.

Wallach, J.D. and Boever, W.J. (1983). Diseases of Exotic Animals--Medical and Surgical Management, W.B. Sauders Company, Philadelphia.

R. Thirumurugan (1), M. Palanivelrajan (2) and K. Satheesh Kumar (3)

Arignar Anna Zoological Park Vandalur Chennai--600048 (Tamil Nadu)

(1.) Zoo Veterinary Assistant Surgeon and Corresponding author. E-mail:

(2.) Assistant Professor

(3.) Veterinary Assistant Surgeon
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Title Annotation:Short Communication
Author:Thirumurugan, R.; Palanivelrajan, M.; Kumar, K. Satheesh
Publication:Intas Polivet
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Jul 1, 2014
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