of a Compromised Newborn Calf
- Inactivity and weakness; sleepiness
- Slow to stand and nurse; dopey
- Inability to maintain body temperature
- Variable heart and respiratory rate
It is important to realize that even severely compromised
calves may appear to be normal for the first 15-30 minutes after
birth while the stress hormone levels are high. Once that subsides
the calf will gradually become weak, unresponsive, and will be unable
to maintain its body temperature.
Do not assume that delivery of a live calf from dystocia will result
in a normal healthy calf. All dystocia calves are compromised since
they have suffered a sustained physiological challenge. Dystocia
calves are more prone to neonatal death, decreased colostral intake,
and trauma (i.e. broken bones, nerve damage, or damage to internal
organs due to severe traction). The sooner the calf resumes normal
physiological processes, the stronger and more disease resistant
it will be.
Many dairy producers remove the calf from the dam soon after birth.
This has been shown to decrease disease transmission between the
pair. Since the dam is not there to stimulate the calf, it is up
to the calf caretakers to assume the role.