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Logo of cjvetresCVMACanadian Journal of Veterinary ResearchSee also Canadian Journal of Comparative MedicineJournal Web siteHow to Submit
Can J Vet Res. 1986 October; 50(4): 502–508.
PMCID: PMC1255255

Further studies on the clinical features and clinicopathological findings of a syndrome of metabolic acidosis with minimal dehydration in neonatal calves.


A syndrome of metabolic acidosis of unknown etiology was diagnosed in twelve beef calves 7 to 31 days old. Principal clinical signs were unconsciousness or depression concomitant with weakness and ataxia. Other signs included weak or absent suckle and menace reflexes, succussable nontympanic fluid sounds in the anterior abdomen, and a slow, deep thoracic and abdominal pattern of respiration. The variation in clinical signs between calves was highly correlated (r = 0.87, P less than 0.001) with their acid-base (base deficit) status. Abnormal laboratory findings included reduced venous blood pH, pCO2 and bicarbonate ion concentration as well as hyperchloremia, elevated blood urea nitrogen, increased anion gap and neutrophilic leukocytosis with a left shift. Sodium bicarbonate solution administered intravenously effectively raised blood pH and improved demeanor, ambulation and appetite. All calves did well following a return to a normal acid-base status.

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