Calf born on Friday evening, posterior presentation, pulled with chains (2 men pulling) Dam: retained fetal membranes, mild fever. Calf: unable to rise, no suckle reflex. Hind legs had mild abrasions from chains. Owner tube fed colostrum and milk from dam
Unable to rise, appeared dull but responsive Temp: 38.4, HR, mm and RR WNL, no murmur auscultated Neuro exam: weak menace response, PLR difficult to assess due to eyes rolling ventrally. Retraction of neck resulted in loss of motor control of head. Syndactyly on both front feet, hind right partially fused, hind left appeared normal. Tendons severely contracted, unable to place feet on ground.
Common genetic abnormality found in many breeds, most commonly Holstein calves More common in dairy, more severe in beef Autosomal recessive trait with incomplete penetrance Mutation of the low density lipoprotein receptor-related protein 4 (Lrp4 gene) Can be one foot, or multiple feet affected – right front most commonly affected, hind left least likely
Problems: Difficulty walking Usually “unthrifty” and die in first few days Unable to cope with stress and heat, get hypothermia very easily If affected, both dam and sire may be carriers
Barr, M. (1981). Syndactyly. Angus Journal, 34- 35. Leipold, H. W., Schmidt, G. L., Steffen, D. J., Vestweber, G. E., & Huston, K. (1998). Hereditary Syndactyly in Angus Cattle. J Vet Diag Invest, 10, 247-254.