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Laminitis in young dairy calves fed a high starch diet and with a history of bovine viral diarrhoea virus infection
  1. C. Svensson, DVM, PhD1 and
  2. C. Bergsten, DVM, PhD1
  1. 1 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Animal Environment and Health, Section of Field Research, PO Box 234, SE-532 23 Skara, Sweden

Abstract

Six of the 33 calves born in a Swedish dairy herd during a period of four months developed laminitis when they were eight to 12 weeks old. The clinical signs included difficulty in rising, a stiff gait, overgrown claws and haemorrhages in the sole horn. Samples of blood were taken from four of the calves when they had shown signs of laminitis for two to seven weeks; the serum concentrations of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D3, the activities of aspartate aminotransferase and glutathione peroxidase, and the patterns of serum proteins were within their normal ranges. The feet of the same four calves were examined after slaughter; the third phalanx of each calf was rotated and its distal end osteolytic. Histologically there was separation and degeneration of the squamous cells of the white line, and thromboses and vasculitis in the fine vessels of the corium. Four of the six affected calves were persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhoea virus and one had antibodies against the virus. From six weeks of age the calves had been fed rye wheat, a hybrid seed rich in starch, and this may have contributed to the outbreak of laminitis.

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