J Equine Vet Sci. 2023 Sep 9:104917. doi: 10.1016/j.jevs.2023.104917. Online ahead of print.
The study aimed to assess Apgar scores and collect data on clinical, hemato-biochemical, and venous blood gas parameters in seven mules during their first 48h of life. Apgar scores, heart rate (HR), respiratory rate (RR), body temperature (BT), body weight (BW), time to achieve sternal recumbency, stand, nurse, and pass meconium were recorded. Blood samples were collected at birth (T0), 6 (T6), 12 (T12), 24 (T24), 48 (T48)h of life. Data distribution was verified and differences in laboratory parameters over time assessed. One foal had an Apgar score of 6/8, thus excluded from the statistical analysis. Three foals had an Apgar score of 7/8, three had a score of 8/8. All foals showed suckling reflex within 20 min and raised the head within 1 min; six foals reached sternal recumbency within 2 min. Times to stand and nurse were 38.7±13.4 and 72.3±30.5 min, respectively. Five foals passed meconium spontaneously in 416.3±401.8 min. The mean HR, RR, and BT values were 92±16.1 bpm, 50.2±5.9 bpm, and 37.6±0.3°C, respectively. Creatinine and lactate decreased from birth to 48h. Blood glucose increased from 12h. Mg increased from 12 to 24h. Compared to horses and donkeys, mules showed an intermediate BW, shorter time to stand and nurse, longer time to pass meconium, intermediate HR and lower RR. Compared to donkey mules showed lower BT. Other dissimilarities from the parental species were found in laboratory parameters. Our findings emphasize the need for reference ranges for a comprehensive evaluation of newborn mules.