Over a nine-year period (2000 to 2008), 22 instances of dystocia and 50 normal fawnings in Formosan sambar deer (Cervus unicolor swinhoei) hinds from semi-domesticated herds were investigated. The majority of the hinds (17, 77.3 per cent) that suffered dystocia were categorised as having a body condition score (BCS) in the medium range (between 2.5 and 3.5 inclusive), indicating that there was no significant relationship between obesity (BCS >3.5) in hinds and the occurrence of dystocia. In addition, maternal body condition had no effect on the birthweight of the offspring. Among the 22 instances of dystocia, 16 of the fawns (72.7 per cent) did not survive; one of these deaths was anteparturient and the other 15 were parturient. Eighteen (81.8 per cent) of the cases of dystocia involved male fawns, and 15 (93.8 per cent) of the deaths were of male fawns (P=0.044). Nine (40.9 per cent) of the instances of dystocia resulted from maternal excitement, mainly attributable to disturbances caused by human beings. In 12 of the cases that resulted in the death of the fawn, the request for veterinary assistance had been delayed at least one day. There were six cases in which the fawns survived; these were the ones that had received assistance within six hours after the onset of parturition.
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