Predictive Measures of Fetal Distress in Calves During Delivery

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2008-01-01
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Hard, Kristin
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Howard Tyler
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Animal Science

The Department of Animal Science originally concerned itself with teaching the selection, breeding, feeding and care of livestock. Today it continues this study of the symbiotic relationship between animals and humans, with practical focuses on agribusiness, science, and animal management.

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The Department of Animal Husbandry was established in 1898. The name of the department was changed to the Department of Animal Science in 1962. The Department of Poultry Science was merged into the department in 1971.

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The effect of birth stress on tongue color, length, and responsiveness was studied in fifty eight calves. The calves were monitored from stage 2 of parturition until birth. Tongue parameters (Tongue color, length, and responsiveness) were measured at two minute intervals. Immediately after birth arterial blood samples were taken and analyzed for PO2, PCO2, pH to establish stress levels as described by Strawn et al. (1996). Calves were then released to the farm management.

Tongue length monitoring was indicative of acidosis in calves. This is due to the loss of muscle control and contractility that occurs during stress. Tongue reflex was shown to be negatively correlated with tongue length. Calves with longer tongues are less responsive to tactile stimulation. While not conclusive, our data strongly suggest that tongue parameters can be useful as predictive measures of stress, but when all three stress indicators are present in the calf (long tongue, reduced reflex, and dark color) it is more definitively indicative of stress than the presence of a single indicator.

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Tue Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2008