Jaundice in calves??

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m&kCattle

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Guess no one else has dealt with this either. First time for us. Calf died last night. Vet removed the liver and said it was all yellow. Like nothing he has seen. He said calf was born that way. It was out of a first calf heifer. Now I wonder how the calf got the jaundice and if the mom had anything to do with it?
 

TCTara

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To be honest, I've never seen it in calves, but it is not rare in adult cattle--ie fatty liver cows, too fat when they come into milk, develop fattly liver and liver failure. It can also be caused by introducing liver fluke naive cattle to an endemic area--massive liver damage. Jaundice is from excess bilirubin in the blood, staining things yellow. Intravascular hemolysis can also cause it--from damaged RBC leading to bilirubinemia.

In a calf I'd be suspicious of a shunt, blocked bile duct or other malformation. Any congentital problem could be genetic/hereditary or could be from a toxin mom ate, or just because Murphy had to strike with his law....Unless it is something which is so distinct that it is only seen under that condition, I doubt you will ever know.
 
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m&kCattle

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Thanks for the reply. Haven't really figured it out, I'm hoping it was that Murphy fella. Think I'm gonna go ahead and rebreed the heifer anyways. I'm using a pretty expensive straw but I"m hoping the calf was a fluke and had nothing to do with mom. Guess in a year I'll know.
 

KNERSIE

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The two most common causes are liverfluke and anaplasmosis and to a lesser degree babesiosis, but I doubt you'll have that in your area.

If the cause was anaplasmosis, which I believe to be the likely case, treat aggressively with a short acting oxytetracycline followed by a long acting oxytetracycline the next day. Give Vit B12 complex daily to boost apetite and probios to get the rumen going again. If caught early its very treatable, but it will take time to get back in condition.

Its not hereditary and ticks are usually the vector spreading the disease here. The first symptoms are usually loss of apetite, droopy ears, very high fever, small hard dung that looks like its coated in a mucousy membrane. The eyelids, mouth and vulva become pale and the pale will eventually turn to yellow in very advanced cases.
 
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m&kCattle

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Thanks! You nailed it with the symptoms...She was only 2 days old but in bad enough shape I really don't think we had a chance. Really glad to hear it has nothing to do with the mother.
 

djinwa

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m&kCattle":t2gd1hld said:
Thanks! You nailed it with the symptoms...She was only 2 days old but in bad enough shape I really don't think we had a chance. Really glad to hear it has nothing to do with the mother.

Now that you've stated the age (2 days old), I would say the calf isn't old enough to get what Knersie described.

Your vet is the best one to ask - I assume he/she is researching. TCTara gave the general options - one of which is hemolysis (red blood cells breaking apart). Wonder if calf could get antibodies from mom in the colostrum that might attack an antigen calf might have inherited on its red blood cells? Possibly one of those blood type things? Don't know if that can happen.
 

KNERSIE

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Now that you've stated the age (2 days old), I would say the calf isn't old enough to get what Knersie described.

I assumed it was an older calf, at two days old it couldn't have been any of the likely causes I mentioned.

If the calf was anemic my money goes to a birth related injury with internal bleeding.
 

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