Pulmonary histopathologic findings, acid-base status, and absorption of colostral immunoglobulins in newborn calves

Alfonso LóPez From the Department of Pathology and Microbiology (López, Bildfell, Horney, Burton) and Department of Health Management (Löfstedt), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P. E. I. Canada, C1A 4P3.

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Jeanne Löfstedt From the Department of Pathology and Microbiology (López, Bildfell, Horney, Burton) and Department of Health Management (Löfstedt), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P. E. I. Canada, C1A 4P3.

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Robert Bildfell From the Department of Pathology and Microbiology (López, Bildfell, Horney, Burton) and Department of Health Management (Löfstedt), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P. E. I. Canada, C1A 4P3.

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Barbara Horney From the Department of Pathology and Microbiology (López, Bildfell, Horney, Burton) and Department of Health Management (Löfstedt), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P. E. I. Canada, C1A 4P3.

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Shelley Burton From the Department of Pathology and Microbiology (López, Bildfell, Horney, Burton) and Department of Health Management (Löfstedt), Atlantic Veterinary College, University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, P. E. I. Canada, C1A 4P3.

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Summary

A study was conducted to investigate whether aspiration of amniotic fluid is associated with a deleterious effect on absorption of colostral immunoglobulins or on blood gas and acid-base values of healthy newborn calves. Fourteen calves purchased from commercial sources were transported to a research facility immediately after birth and fed colostrum with known concentrations of immunoglobulins. Blood samples for gas analyses were collected within 5 hours of birth, 24 hours later, and prior to euthanasia. Between 3 and 5 days of age, calves were euthanatized by an overdose of barbiturates. Eleven calves had evidence of bronchoaspiration of amniotic fluid, as determined by presence of meconium, squamous epithelium, or keratin in histologic sections of fixed lung or by cytologic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Blood gas tensions and pH were within reference ranges in 11 of 14 calves. Aspiration of amniotic fluid could not be linked to any specific changes in blood gas tensions, add-base status, or absorption of colostral immunoglobulins. Presence of keratin and meconium in the lungs often was accompanied by mild exudative alveolitis and focal atelectasis. It was concluded that aspiration of small amounts of amniotic fluid with or without meconium is common in calves and is not associated with hypoxemia, respiratory acidosis, or failure of passive transfer.

Summary

A study was conducted to investigate whether aspiration of amniotic fluid is associated with a deleterious effect on absorption of colostral immunoglobulins or on blood gas and acid-base values of healthy newborn calves. Fourteen calves purchased from commercial sources were transported to a research facility immediately after birth and fed colostrum with known concentrations of immunoglobulins. Blood samples for gas analyses were collected within 5 hours of birth, 24 hours later, and prior to euthanasia. Between 3 and 5 days of age, calves were euthanatized by an overdose of barbiturates. Eleven calves had evidence of bronchoaspiration of amniotic fluid, as determined by presence of meconium, squamous epithelium, or keratin in histologic sections of fixed lung or by cytologic analysis of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid. Blood gas tensions and pH were within reference ranges in 11 of 14 calves. Aspiration of amniotic fluid could not be linked to any specific changes in blood gas tensions, add-base status, or absorption of colostral immunoglobulins. Presence of keratin and meconium in the lungs often was accompanied by mild exudative alveolitis and focal atelectasis. It was concluded that aspiration of small amounts of amniotic fluid with or without meconium is common in calves and is not associated with hypoxemia, respiratory acidosis, or failure of passive transfer.

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