This fifth parity Holstein cow calved unaided six hours ago and has not been observed since that time. The cow presents in sternal recumbency, is weak and unable to stand with the head becomes averted against the chest. There is an increased heart rate, static rumen causing bloat and constipation. The farmer administered 400 ml of a 40 per cent calcium borogluconate solution behind the cow’s right shoulder one hour ago and the swelling is still evident (much of the solution has not been absorbed). The cow is treated with 400 ml of 40 per cent calcium borogluconate solution by slow intravenous administration. The cow eructated and was then able to raise her head and looks much brighter if a little anxious. Fine muscle tremors are evident about the cow’s head and neck. The cow was able to stand 5 minutes later and wandered off to join the rest of the group. The cow defaecates as she wanders off.
This fifth parity Simmental cross beef cow calved unaided six hours ago and has not been observed since that time. The cow presents in sternal recumbency, is weak and unable to stand. There is an increased heart rate, static rumen causing slight bloat and constipation. The cow was given 400 mls of 40 per cent calcium borogluconate solution by slow intravenous administration into the right jugular vein using a flutter valve connected to the calcium bottle held just below hip height when standing upright (this took approximately 5 minutes). The cow looks much brighter after treatment and is noted to eructate several times. The cow was able to stand if a little unsteady on her hindlegs after about 5 minutes and wandered off to find her calf. The cow is shown enjoying breakfast as you leave the farm.
During October this 7-year-old cow at pasture is weak and unable to stand despite making several attempts. The cow calved a live calf unaided 12 hours ago. The cow was observed standing 8 hours ago when she appeared healthy and grazing. The cow was diagnosed with hypocalcaemia, given 400 ml of 40 per cent calcium borogluconate solution by slow intravenous administration and stood 5 minutes later.
During late autumn this cow was found in the field separated from the group and had a startled expression with apparent exophthalmos. The farmer thought the cow had a “staggering gait”. The cow is being slowly walked to the farm buildings for treatment. The cow shows hypermetria of the hindlegs and almost falls over on several occasions (“staggering gait”). The end of the video recording shows the cow after it has been sedated and treated for hypomagnesaemia.
This beef cow presents with periods of seizure activity interspersed with opisthotonus. There is frenzied paddling of the limbs, rapid nystagmus, rapid pounding heart and teeth grinding with frothy salivation. Attempted restraint, clinical examination and administration of treatment(s) may all precipitate seizures, and care is needed to avoid injury. This cow’s seizure activity was effectively controlled almost immediately by intravenous injection of 3mg/kg of pentobarbitone sodium as a bolus (8-10mls of 200mg/ml solution for an adult cow). Note that pentobarbitone sodium is not licensed for food-producing animals and that treated animals must not enter the food chain. The syringe is shown after injection into the jugular vein; this injection was given by leaning over the cow’s neck thereby avoiding the forelegs. The cow becomes more relaxed immediately with no further seizure activity. After sedation the cow was pulled into sternal recumbency and left quietly. The cow is obviously heavily sedated but can maintain sternal recumbency. The cow was able to stand unaided after 30 minutes. At the end of the video recording the cow is shown the following morning eating concentrates from a bucket. The cow appears somewhat dull and detached but made a full recovery.
This Holstein cow presents with obturator nerve and sciatic nerve injuries (L6). The sciatic nerve supplies the extensor muscles of the hip and hock, and flexors of the stifle and fetlock (tibial branch), and extensors of the fetlock (peroneal branch).
This 6-year-old Holstein cow, which calved 12 hours earlier, is weak and presents in sternal recumbency, profoundly depressed, dehydrated, afebrile (37.8°C), with toxic mucous membranes, an elevated heart rate of 96 beats per minute and an increased respiratory rate (34 breaths per minute). The cow is not eating, and the left sublumbar fossa appears sunken. The udder is soft, but a pale, serum-like, secretion can be drawn from one quarter. There is profuse diarrhoea.
This beef heifer (2 years old) is obtunded (ARAS involvement) with the head averted against the left flank. There is reduced tongue tone on the right side. There is reduced movement of the right nostril compared to the left side. This heifer is thought to be suffering from right-sided listerial encephalitis. Because of her obtunded state, it is difficult to determine whether the heifer has ipsilateral hemiparesis.
This Simmental heifer is weak on all four legs causing her to fall over. The clinical presentation is consistent with a cervical spinal lesion.
The cow with tetanus presents in lateral recumbency with opisthotonus and cannot maintain sternal recumbency. The cow was euthanased immediately for welfare reasons.
This 7-year-old beef cow two weeks from calving has been recumbent for the past two days and has no appetite. The cow aborted dead twins yesterday. Today, the cow is very depressed with jaundiced mucous membranes. There is evidence of peripheral oedema especially under the brisket. There is a foetid vaginal discharge, and the foetal membranes are firmly attached. There is no mastitis. Rectal examination fails to detect any abnormality; there is no diarrhoea. Supportive treatment, including intravenous fluid therapy, was unsuccessful. Necropsy revealed a jaundiced carcase, septic metritis and severe fatty liver and kidneys consistent with pregnancy toxaemia. The extent of the fatty liver is obvious when compared to a normal healthy liver at the end of the recording.
This 2-day-old calf is weak and unable to stand without assistance. The calf is very dull with an increased respiratory rate and effort. The calf was normal at birth but failed to suck for approximately 12 hours. When helped to its feet the calf is very weak and lame on both hind legs but especially the left hock joint which is markedly distended. The calf was treated with intravenous antibiotics and oral fluids and is shown much improved and sucking normally 12 hours later. The diagnosis was septicaemia/early polyarthritis as a consequence of failure of passive antibody transfer and bacterial invasion from a contaminated environment.
This 2-day-old calf is unable to stand and presents in lateral recumbency. The calf shows dorso-medial strabismus (medial canthus to the right hand side), and spontaneous nystagmus. The calf was normal at birth but had failed to suck. A diagnosis of septicaemia/meningo-encephalitis was made, but despite intravenous antibiotic therapy and fluids the calf died 4 hours later.
This 3-day-old calf is weak and presents in sternal recumbency. The calf is very dull with drooped ears and eyelids. The calf was normal at birth but failed to suck for 12 hours. Despite antibiotic therapy and intravenous fluids, the calf died 12 hours later. The likely cause was septicaemia/meningo-encephalitis as a consequence of failure of passive antibody transfer and bacterial infection from a contaminated environment although no necropsy was undertaken.
It is difficult to keep housing for beef calves clean especially with bedding straw costing almost £100 per tonne. The potential for disease spread, especially enteropathogens, is obvious in this recording.
Failure of passive antibody transfer is likely in crowded calving accommodation.
Weakness and recumbency in a 10-day-old calf with acidaemia secondary to rotavirus-induced diarrhoea. The calf is shown immediately after treatment and again about 6 hours later when it has returned to normal.
This 3-day-old calf presents weak and very dull with a swollen umbilicus and mild abdominal distension. Intravenous fluids, a NSAID and antibiotics were administered. The calf failed to respond to treatment and was euthanased for welfare reasons. Joint lesions (stifle joint shown) and diffuse fibrinous peritonitis were present at necropsy (the perforated gut was caused by a wayward knife during the necropsy examination).
This 4-day-old calf is collapsed with marked abdominal distension due to fluid-filled intestines. The respiratory rate is increased with an abdominal component. The farmer was not prepared to accept the hopeless prognosis, and the calf was treated with a NSAID and intravenous antibiotics and 5 litres of isotonic saline administered intravenously over 4 hours. The calf died 8 hours later and necropsy revealed omphalophlebitis and diffuse fibrinous peritonitis causing gut stasis and distension.
The possibility of umbilical infection is evident from this video recording where beef calves are born in a contaminated environment and iodine treatment of the umbilicus is delayed/not undertaken.
This 5-day-old beef calf shows early seizure activity and opisthotonus. There is marked dorsomedial strabismus, spontaneous nystagmus and episcleral injection. This calf likely has bacterial meningo-encephalitis rather than septicaemia but such differentiation is of no clinical significance because the treatment (intravenous antibiotics) and prognosis are the same (hopeless).
This 3-day-old Limousin cross beef calf presents dull and depressed and very reluctant to move. The calf has a painful expression and stands with its back arched, head lowered and the ears held back. There is marked swelling of both carpal joints, both hock joints and to a lesser degree all four fetlock joints.
This 4-day-old calf presents in lateral recumbency. The calf has a painful expression with its ears directed caudally. There is marked swelling of both carpal joints, both hock joints and to a lesser degree all four fetlock joints. All swollen joints have a palpable effusion. The calf was euthanased for welfare reasons, and necropsy confirmed the hopeless prognosis because the joints were filled with pannus which could not have been removed by joint lavage or even arthrotomy. In order, the video recording shows the stifle, hock and carpal joints. It is important to appreciate that most septic joints of more than two to three days’ duration contain pannus and that this inflammatory material cannot be flushed through a needle.
A 4-day-old calf presents dull and depressed and very reluctant to move. The calf has a painful expression and stands with its back arched, head lowered and the ears held back. There is marked swelling of both carpal joints, both hock joints and to a lesser degree all four fetlock joints. All swollen joints have a palpable effusion. The calf was euthanased for welfare reasons and necropsy confirmed the hopeless prognosis because the joints were filled with pannus which could not have been removed by joint lavage or even arthrotomy. In order, the video recording shows the stifle, hock and carpal joints. It is important to appreciate that most septic joints of more than two to three days’ duration contain pannus and not “very dilute pus” that can be easily flushed through a needle.
Fracture through the proximal tibial growth was confirmed radiographically (clinical examination under high extradural block). This short video recording taken at necropsy shows the abnormal hind leg angulation.
This 2-day-old calf is unwilling to stand due to a left mid-shaft third metatarsal fracture. The video recording shows the application of lumbosacral extradural lignocaine injection (high extradural block) in fracture repair on farm. Note that no traction is applied to the distal limb once the fracture has been reduced. The hock is maintained in slight flexion to prevent the cast from slipping down.
This 10-day-old beef calf presents with sudden onset lethargy with bleeding from both nostrils and prolonged bleeding from a jugular intravenous injection site. The farmer had noted that there was prolonged bleeding after inserting ear tags. The calf had been normal since birth but has stopped sucking and is lying around most of the time. The rectal temperature is 40°C. There are petechial haemorrhages on the sclerae, hard palate and beneath the tongue. The heart rate and respiratory rate are increased, but there are no adventitious sounds. The umbilicus is normal, and there are no joint swellings. The herd comprises 130 spring-calving cows, and 82 calves have been born in the past three weeks. There have been two similarly affected calves in the last week; both calves were 10-14 days old and died within two days of initial clinical signs despite antibiotic and NSAID therapy. Necropsy reveals widespread petechiae, pale skeletal muscles and much paler bone marrow (right as viewed with normal similarly-aged normal calf on left).
This 10-day-old beef calf presents with sudden onset colic with the head held lowered and the ears directed caudally. When recumbent, the calf lies stretched out. The rectal temperature is 40°C. There are petechial haemorrhages on the sclerae and buccal mucosa, and a fleck of blood in the nasal discharge.
A 2-week-old Limousin cross calf presents as dull and lethargic. The rectal temperature is normal (38.4°C). The ocular and oral mucous membranes are pink. The respiratory rate is elevated above 60 breaths per minute with an obvious abdominal component. The heart rate is 106 beats per minute. Auscultation reveals no obvious heart murmur. A palpable cardiac thrill is present on the right hand side of the chest. Necropsy reveals hepatomegaly with rounded edges and confirms a very large VSD.
This 10-day-old calf presents with sudden onset pelvic limb weakness. The hind legs are cold, and there are no femoral pulses. Necropsy reveals a large thrombus lodged in the aorta at the bifurcation to form the common iliac arteries.