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Emergency Calf Management after Dystocia (Difficult Birth)

“Dystocia” is defined as a difficult or prolonged calving, whether or not human assistance was necessary for delivery of the calf. Factors known to cause dystocia include a mismatch between small pelvic size of the dam and large calf size, abnormal calf presentation (for example, backwards or head turned back), and maternal factors such as weak labor, insufficient dilation of the cervix, or a uterine twist or torsion. Thin cows often experience prolonged labor and calves are born weak and slow to stand and nurse. Inappropriate timing of intervention or excessive force applied during delivery may cause additional stress and injury to an already weakened calf. Following dystocia, a calf is 6 times more likely to get sick than a calf born normally, with most deaths occurring within 96 hours of birth

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Early Identification of Sick Cows Picture 1

Early Identification of Sick Dairy Calves Important To Their Survival and Future Milk Production

The health of dairy calves early in life (first 8 weeks of life) directly impacts future milk production and longevity in the dairy herd. Protecting the future health and survivability of calves starts with timely feeding of adequate amounts of high-quality colostrum and disinfecting the navel with 7% tinc-ture of iodine or a chlorhexidine solution. In addition, dairy calf managers must be able to identify sick calves early and provide supportive therapy early for the best survival rates and to minimize effects on long-term productivity.

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