The effect of dystocia on physiological and behavioral characteristics related to vitality and passive transfer of immunoglobulins in newborn holstein calves.

Murray, C.F., Veira, D.M., Nadalin, A.L., Haines, D.M., Jackson, M.L., Pearl, D.L., and Leslie, K.E. (2015). "The effect of dystocia on physiological and behavioral characteristics related to vitality and passive transfer of immunoglobulins in newborn holstein calves.", Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research, 79(2), pp. 109-119.

Abstract

The objective of this study was to examine the effect of calving difficulty or dystocia on the vitality of newborn calves and its association with blood pH, the apparent efficiency of immunoglobulin G (IgG) absorption (AEA), and weight gain. A total of 45 calving events (N = 48 calves) were monitored from the first sight of fetal membranes. All calves were assessed at the time of first attaining sternal recumbency (SR), at 2 and 24 h, and at 7 and 14 d of age. Measurements included time to SR, rectal temperature, respiration and heart rate, analysis of blood gases and other blood measures, suckling response, time to standing, passive transfer of IgG, and weight gain. Calves were separated from their dam 2 h after birth and fed a commercial colostrum replacer containing 180 g of IgG by esophageal tube feeder. Calves born following dystocia had lower venous blood pH and took longer to attain SR and attempt to stand than those born unassisted. Duration of calving interacted with the number of people required to extract the calf by pulling as a significant predictor of pH at SR. No association was found between pH at SR and AEA. However, reduced AEA was found in calves that were female and in calves that did not achieve SR within 15 min of birth. A longer calving duration, being born in July or August rather than June, and a shorter time spent standing in the first 2 d of life were significantly associated with reduced weight gain to 14 d. It was concluded that factors at calving impact the physiology, vitality, and subsequent weight gain of newborn calves.

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