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Lack Of Oxygen Complicates Calves' First Breaths

  Some calves may be sluggish to correct respiratory acidosis shortly after birth.

Cow-calf producers typically spend plenty of time preparing for the arrival of new calves. But once the calf hits the ground, the first step is to ensure it is breathing properly.

"It's important to remember that every baby calf has a certain degree of respiratory acidosis, one reason why producers need to keep as close an eye as possible on newborns," says Glenn Selk, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension emeritus livestock specialist.

Acidosis is the result of oxygen deprivation and accumulation of carbon dioxide that results from passage of the calf through the birth canal. The excess of carbon dioxide results in a buildup of lactic acid.

To read more about getting calves off to a good start, click here. 


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