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Can Vet J. 1989 July; 30(7): 577–580.
PMCID: PMC1681086

A retrospective study of the relationship between clinical signs and severity of acidosis in diarrheic calves


A retrospective study of 123 calves under two months of age with signs of diarrhea was performed to investigate the relationships among the calf's demeanor, dehydration, rectal temperature, and base deficit. The severity of dehydration, hypothermia, and metabolic acidosis were associated with level of depression. Clinical signs and age of calf could be used to predict the severity of acidosis. Acidosis was more severe in calves over eight days of age and also increased in severity with the degree of depression. The most severe metabolic acidosis was seen in calves over eight days of age presented in sternal or lateral recumbency; the base deficit in these groups was 16.3 ± 8.3 (means ± 1SD) and 20.3 ± 10.1 mmol/L respectively, and on average these calves require 2.4 and 3.0 L respectively of 1.3% sodium bicarbonate solution to correct the acidosis.

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