Microbiological, biochemical and pathological data collected from 293 calves which were either stillborn, or born alive and either failed to breathe or failed to breathe for more than about 10 minutes are presented. No bacteria were recovered from 96 of the calves (32.7 per cent), and bacteria which were considered significant were isolated from only four (1.4 per cent). Evidence of leptospiral infection was found in 75 calves (25.5 per cent). Of 64 calves examined for bovine virus diarrhoea (BVD) and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) antigens, two were positive for BVD virus and none for IBR virus. The mean (+/- sd) liver vitamin E and kidney selenium concentrations, determined in 148 of the calves, were 2.0 +/- 0.76 micrograms/g wet matter and 0.47 +/- 0.17 micrograms/g wet matter, respectively. The thyroid iodine concentration in 15 of 71 calves (21 per cent) was less than 300 micrograms/g wet matter and the mean (+/- sd) thyroid weight of 266 of the calves was 18.5 +/- 11.6 g. Evidence of severe trauma was found in 19 of the calves (6.5 per cent). Histological findings included thyroid epithelial hyperplasia, hepatic haemosiderosis, erythrophagocytosis in the spleen, perivascular haemorrhage in brain and adrenal glands, and accumulation of leucocytes in blood vessels.
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