Major non-infectious factors of calf mortality and protocols for its prevention

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Early calf mortality is the major issue of livestock having great economic importance. There are two main cause of calf mortality including infectious and noninfectious factors.1) Infectious cause include coronavirus, rotavirus, Escherichia coli species, salmonella and cryptosporidium related health hazard issues.2) Non- infectious cause comprises difficult in birth, sex and birth weight, immunodeficiency; manage mental problems and environmental condition. Noninfectious cause is one of the major issues and that correlates with production, reproduction and performance of dairy cattle breed.

Difficult birth (Dystocia) is the main reason of mortality in newborne calf.According to recent estimates, dystocia results in almost 50% calf lost.Dystocia is the abnormal presentation,position and posture of calf during parturation.Dystocia is common  in primiparous(bearing young for the first time) than in multiparous(producing many or more than one at a birth) and incidence of difficult birth is more in males than female.Some causes of dystocia include genetics,different calving interval,Incompatible maternal to baby proportion,metabolic diseasei.e milk fever,ketosis .This problem of difficult birth is minimized by balanced rathion,selection of parents I,e. Good genetics and best farm management, At the end of  result ,availibility of colostral immunoglobulin increases ( increased immunity level ) by giving  good response against gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases of newborn calf.

Sex and birth weight have significant role in mortality of calves point of view. Newborn male calf is more prown to mortality than female calf the reason behind this colostral immunoglobulin which is absobed  less quantity in male(20.7mg/ml) than opposite sex calves(25.2mg/ml).The main function of immunoglobulin is to protect the calves  from diseases by enhancing immunity level of host.Competation  between colostral  immunoglobulin to microbes ensures in early calf age therefore,male calf become immunosupressed means more chances of occurance of respiratory and enteric diseases.Difficult  and stillbirtth are also more common issue in male calf.Newlyborn calf weight has inverse relation to mortality of calf i.e More weight of newlyborn calf means less chances of calf mortality.

Colostrum is the main source of immunoglobulin in newborn calf.IgM,IgA,IgG1 and IgG2 are the immunoglobulin present in colostrum, but contribution of IgG1 is  80% of total immunoglobulin has been absorbed by the enteric system of calf. Early 6-8 hours after birth is the critical time for the absorption of immunoglobulin. Antibodies variation  count depends on breed, nutritional status and season of an individual.There are availibility of some factors including enviurnment,sex and local place which play an important contribution in passive tranforring of immunoglobin  from coloustrum to calf.Availability of immunoglobulin in  blood circulation protects the calf against respiratory and intestinal problem of calf.Diarrhea and pnemonia are the main major factors of mortality in immunodeficient calf.

Poor management  related  factors in calf house including  overpopulation ,lack of regular washing and disinfection practices lead to different gastrointestinal and respiratory system related problem leading to high calf mortality rate. Bloating  and indigestion also takes part an important role in calf mortality. Absorption of colostrum is maximum in early 6-8 hours of calf age(postportum) but it remains continuous 48-54 hours with quality difference.Therefore,there is great need to offer colostrum at proper time for the better health of newborn calf.Swelling of joint(Arthritis) and joint related problems are more common on those calves which are kept in hard places.

Enviournmental condition has vital influence on the calf morbidity/mortality and captivation of immunoglobulin in calf. IgG1 has been observed in low quantity in serum in cold weather born calves than summer born calves,therefore, the reason behind this, high mortality rate has been observed in winter born calves than warm born calves.

Protocols for its prevention

Feed the cow/buffalo according  to body condition score.Fat deposition in birth canal cause dystocia in weak female animal when we  shall offer excess diet in last trimester of pregnancy especially in last stage of pregnancy.You can offer less feed to fatty animal by following body condition principle.Feeding balanced diet, minerals and vitamins (2-3 month before parturation) are the good  effort against metabolic disorders i.e milk fever,Ketosis and other parturation related problem.Mineral offer@ 100g/animal/day before parturation.Vaccination practices against scour,E,coli,coronavirus and rotavirus are also the good achivement but it may be costly exercise, but I shall advise farm workers to consider it. Clean the mouth, nose and ensure respiration of calves after parturation.Offer the colostrum at proper time after parturation to avoid the newborn calf against enteric and respiratory problems.Routinely washing and disinfection of the calves pen are the good work  for the  better health of new born calves.Care the calves with eagle eyes,if you find any disorder then contact with vetenarian as soon as possible.


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