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SURVIVAL of the neonate is dependent upon the rapid onset of normal, spontaneous breathing. Neonatal respiratory distress syndrome describes a dysfunction of pulmonary gas exchange and is one of the most common causes of neonatal death in puppies and kittens within the first 48 hours of life (Distl and others 2008). Treatment includes immediate clearing of the neonate's airways of any fetal membranes (Hotston Moore 2008) and fluids as well as mucus (Distl and others 2008). As dystocia results in intrauterine hypoxia, and anaesthesia and sedatives used in the dam in cases of surgical intervention in parturition have a depressive effect on the vitality of puppies, too, neonates delivered by caesarean section are more often affected by respiratory distress syndrome compared with puppies delivered by vaginal birth (Trasch and Wehrend 2008). Therefore, extensive resuscitation methods may be needed in cases of caesarean section, including removal of amniotic fluid as the first step of successful resuscitation (Rickard 2011).
Different methods have been described in the literature for the removal of fluids and mucus from the respiratory system (Schmid and Rüsse 1987, Skarda 1999, Hotston Moore 2008, Trasch 2008a and Wehrend 2008). Tilting of the puppy's head downwards with elevated hindquarters is described, as well as rocking the puppy forwards and backwards in an arc with the head and neck stabilised in a cupped hand …