• Determining the predictive capability of a Clinical Assessment Scoring Chart to differentiate severity of the clinical consequences of neonatal calf diarrhea relative to gold-standard blood gas analysis

      Dillane, Patrick; Krump, Lea; Kennedy, Emer; Sayers, Riona; Sayers, Gearóid P. (Public Library of Science (PLoS), 2020-04-09)
      Neonatal calf diarrhea (NCD) is a major problem to calf health worldwide, in terms of both morbidity and mortality. A five-point ordinal scale clinical assessment scoring (CAS) chart was utilized to assess calves suffering from NCD-related clinical abnormalities (acidosis and dehydration) on commercial farms. The objective of this research was to determine the predictive capability of this CAS chart against gold standard blood gas parameters, designed to assist farmers in the accurate assessment of the clinical consequences of NCD. A total of 443 diarrheic and non-diarrheic calves were enrolled in the study. The CAS chart rated a calf’s health from no clinical signs to varying degrees of clinical severity on a 0 (clinically normal) to 4 (grave) scale, based on clinical indicators including calf demeanour, ear position, mobility, suckle reflex, desire-to-feed, and enophthalmos. Blood gas analysis was conducted for individual calves, consisting of pH, base excess, Na+, K+, Ca2+, Cl−, glucose, total hemoglobin, bicarbonate, anion gap, and strong ion difference. Statistical evaluation was performed by comparison of the CAS score with blood gas profiles using ordinal logistic regression and a non-parametric estimation of the Receiver Operating Characteristics (ROC). The ROC analysis indicated that the CAS chart had acceptable specificity (>95%) with low sensitivity (<60%) in differentiating clinically normal from acidotic/dehydrated cases. Assessment of individual severity classes indicated that the chart can predict and differentiate both clinically normal and advanced cases from the other severity classes (peak estimations >80%) but had reduced accuracy in differentiating mild and moderate cases (peak estimations >50%). The chart, as presented, provides a simple tool to differentiate clinically normal from calves suffering the consequences of diarrhea, but fails to accurately differentiate severity for NCD related acidosis and dehydration. Further efforts are required to enhance the sensitivity and differential diagnostic value of this type of chart.
    • An observational study using blood gas analysis to assess neonatal calf diarrhea and subsequent recovery with a European Commission-compliant oral electrolyte solution

      Sayers, Riona; Kennedy, Aideen E.; Krump, Lea; Sayers, Gearoid; Kennedy, Emer; Epsilion Ltd.; IV20151256 (American Dairy Science Association, 2016-04-06)
      An observational study was conducted on dairy calves (51 healthy, 31 with neonatal diarrhea) during outbreaks of diarrhea on 4 dairy farms. Clinical assessment scores (CAS) were assigned to each healthy and diarrheic calf [from 0 (healthy) to 4 (marked illness)]. Blood gas analysis [pH, base excess (BE), Na+, K+, Ca2+, Cl−, glucose, total hemoglobin, standard HCO3−, strong ion difference (SID), and anion gap (AG)] was completed for each calf. Repeated measurements were taken in healthy animals, and pre- and postintervention measurements were taken for diarrheic calves. The mean CAS of diarrheic calves was 1.7, with 51, 30, 17, and 2% of calves scoring 1, 2, 3, and 4, respectively. The mean value for blood pH, BE, AG, and SID was 7.26, −4.93 mM, 16.3 mM, and 38.59 mM, respectively. Calves were administered an oral rehydration and buffering solution (ORBS; Vitalife for Calves, Epsilion Ltd., Cork, Ireland) and reassessed. The mean CAS decreased to 0.38 (65% of calves scored 0 and 35% scored 1) at 6 to 18 h posttreatment and to 0.03 (98% of calves scored 0 and 2% scored 1) within 24 to 48 h. Significant increases in mean value for pH, BE, HCO3−, Na+, and SID, and significant decreases in AG, K+, Ca2+, and total hemoglobin were recorded posttreatment. The correlation estimates indicated that pH, HCO3−, and BE were strongly correlated with CAS, with values exceeding 0.60 in all cases. Administration of an ORBS with a high SID and bicarbonate buffer demonstrated rapid recovery from a diarrheic episode in dairy calves.