Bovis ISSN 2398-2993
Weak calf syndrome
Synonym(s): Fading calves, dummy calves, cachexia
Contributor(s): Mike Reynolds
, Tim Potter
- A weak calf syndrome was first reported in Northern America in 1976.
- Clinical signs:
- Calves may be born weak and unable to stand. These animals have a poor prognosis.
- More usually calves are born”normal” and will stand but subsequently collapse with hypothermia and die within hours of birth.
- Etiology: multifactorial: involving trace element, nutritional, infectious disease, environmental, traumatic injuries (such as being laid on) and nutritional and trace element management of the dam.
- Usually several cases on a farm.
- Often several farms affected in a geographic region in a single season.
- Weak calf syndrome may not occur for several years and then occur as “epidemic” in a region.
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- Recent references from PubMed and VetMed Resource.
- Funnell B J & Hilton W M (2016) Management and prevention of dystocia. Vet Clin North Am Food Anim Pract 32, 511-522 PubMed.
- 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.
- Lorenz I, Fagan J, More S J (2011) Calf health from birth to weaning. II. Management of diarrhoea in pre-weaned calves. Irish Vet J 64, 1-6 PubMed.
- Lorenz I (2004) Influence of D-lactate on Metabolic Acidosis and on Prognosis in Neonatal Calves with Diarrhoea. J Vet Med A 51, 425-428 PubMed.
- Abutarbush S M & Radostits O M (2003) Congenital nutritional muscular dystrophy in a beef calf. Can Vet J 44, 738-739 PubMed.
- McCoy M A, Smyth J A, Ellis J A & Kennedy D G (1997)Stillbirth/Perinatal Weak Calf Syndrome. Cattle Practice 5, 31-34.
- Smyth J A, Goodall E A, McCoy M A & Ellis W A (1996) Stillbirth/perinatal weak calf syndrome: a study of calves with an abnormal thyroid gland. Vet Rec 39, 11-16 PubMed.
- Smyth J A, McNamee P T, Kennedy D G, McCullough S J, Logan E E & Ellis W A (1992) Stillbirth/perinatal weak calf syndrome: preliminary pathological, microbiological and biochemical findings. Vet Rec 130, 237-240 PubMed.
Other sources of information