Helping the Newborn Calf Breathe

Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Emeritus Extension Animal Scientist — The fall calving season is upon us. Fortunately fall calves are usually a few pounds lighter at birth than are genetically similar spring calves. However, despite our best efforts at bull selection and heifer development, cows or heifers occasionally need assistance at calving time. Every baby calf has a certain degree of respiratory acidosis. Acidosis is the result of the deprivation of oxygen and the accumulation of carbon dioxide that results from the passage of the calf through the birth canal. The excess of carbon dioxide results in a build-up…

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