Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

The collapsed neonate

Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds , Peter Down

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Introduction

  • Neonatal mortality is a welfare and economic concern to the global cattle herd.
  • It has been estimated in dairy cattle that 75% of perinatal mortality occurs within one hour of birth.
  • In beef cattle, 69% of mortality, prior to weaning occurs within the first 96 hours of life.
Recognition of the clinical signs consistent with the need for resuscitation and knowledge of its implementation are essential to the bovine practitioner to reduce neonatal mortality at, or close to birth.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

  • In normal instances the newborn calf is born oxygenated and only upon rupture of the umbilicus will the animal become hypoxic, accompanied by an increase in blood carbon dioxide tension.
  • This increase in carbon dioxide, in addition to a decreased oxygen tension, will result in a metabolic acidosis and serves to initiate breathing through the induction of gasping reflexes and inflation of the lungs.
  • However, should the birthing process be prolonged, such as occurs in cases of dystocia, the resultant acidosis whilst in utero may be sufficient to severely depress central nervous system function and compromise the initiation of breathing. Such animals are therefore born severely compromised.

Predisposing factors

General

Pathophysiology

  • Dystocia or prolonged birthing results in fetal hypoxia and acidosis in utero. This may be sufficient to suppress central nervous system function and compromise the establishment of breathing.

Timecourse

  • In cases of dystocia, fetal hypoxia and acidosis may occur in utero resulting in the birth of compromised calves.
  • Clinical manifestations of disease may last the first few days of life dependent upon the degree of acidosis experienced and initiation of measures to correct this clinical syndrome.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
  • Murray C F & Leslie K E (2013) Newborn calf vitality: Risk factors, characteristics, assessment, resulting outcomes and strategies for improvement. Vet J 198, 322-328 PubMed.
  • Nagy D W (2009) Resuscitation and critical care of neonatal calves. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 25, 1-11 PubMed.
  • Grove-White D (2000) Resuscitation of the newborn calf. In Practice 22, 17-23.
  • Mee J F (1994) Resuscitation of newborn calves - materials and methods. Cattle Practice 2, 197-210.


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