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Using haematological and serum biochemical findings as prognostic indicators in calf diarrhoea

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The objective of this study was to evaluate the value of some haematological and serum biochemical constituents for predicting the survival of diarrhoeic calves. Twenty-four Holstein-breed calves, up to 14 days old, that showed signs of naturally occurring diarrhoea were included in the study. A complete clinical evaluation was performed before treatment. Haematological parameters (haematocrit, fibrinogen and complete blood count) and serum biochemistry including serum albumin, glucose, blood urea nitrogen (BUN), creatinine, sodium (Na), potassium (K) and chloride (Cl) were measured. The diarrhoeic calves had significantly higher serum concentrations of total protein, BUN, creatinine and K and significantly lower levels of serum glucose and Cl than the control calves. The haematological profile of diarrhoeic calves was significantly different from that of the normal ones. The concentration of K was also significantly higher in diarrhoeic calves that died than in diarrhoeic calves that survived. We assessed the values of haematocrit, BUN, creatinine and K as risk factors for calf diarrhoea survival. The mean of maximum values of these parameters in diarrhoeic calves that survived and the minimum values of dead calves were considered as cutoff points. The results of the present study showed that diarrhoeic calves with BUN levels above 13.07 mmol/l and K concentrations above 5.63 mEq/l were 5.6 and four times more likely to die, respectively.

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The authors would like to thank Dr. H. Shams of Texas University Health Center at Tyler for his critical review of the manuscript. This work was supported by the research fund of Ferdowsi University in Mashhad, Iran.

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Correspondence to H. A. Seifi.

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Seifi, H.A., Mohri, M., Shoorei, E. et al. Using haematological and serum biochemical findings as prognostic indicators in calf diarrhoea. Comp Clin Pathol 15, 143–147 (2006).

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