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Mammals (other)
Full-term pregnancy with vaginal birth following dystocia and caesarean section in two cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus)
  1. Sara E Alves1,
  2. Priscilla H Joyner2,3,
  3. Copper Aitken-Palmer2,3,
  4. Adrienne E Crosier4 and
  5. Lisa Ware3
  1. 1 College of Veterinary Medicine, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas, USA
  2. 2 Freeport McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, Audubon Nature Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
  3. 3 Department of Conservation Medicine, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, USA
  4. 4 Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, Front Royal, Virginia, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Priscilla H Joyner; pjoyner{at}


The cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) population in North American zoos remains unsustainable despite extensive management within the Species Survival Plan. Successful copulation, pregnancy and birth are essential to achieving population sustainability for this species. This case report discusses the clinical presentation and treatment of one five-year-old nulliparous and one six-year-old primiparous cheetah that presented with dystocia followed by caesarean section. It details postcaesarean complications due to abdominal herniation and uterine infection. Both females were rebred after recovery, giving birth vaginally without complications. These cases demonstrate the possibility of successful copulation, pregnancy and vaginal birth postdystocia and caesarean with proper management. Understanding reproductive complications and successful veterinary care during such obstacles is critical to providing appropriate welfare and care for animals under professional zoological care.

  • fertility
  • reproduction
  • soft tissue surgery
  • zoo animals
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  • Contributors All authors included in this paper fulfil the criteria of authorship. There is no one else who fulfils the criteria but has not been included as an author.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Individual participant data will not be shared.

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