Meningitis

The most visible sign of meningitis in a calf is the head and neck position called “star-gazing” shown in the photo above. (Photo by Bernice Spaeth)

By Jessica Crabtree and Dr. Jered Harlan

A cow/calf producer’s top priority is to raise quality stock that are healthy. Besides a healthy mother cow, a healthy baby calf is the main concern, which ultimately leads to a return of investment. The last thing a producer wants to see is a calf in distress or worse, lifeless.

After birth a mother is expected to clean the calf, get him up and walking and very soon after that, nurse to get the much needed colostrum full of antibodies to fight off infection. If the colostrum is not ingested within 24 hours, problems occur.

Back in May, a reader sent in a topic that affects a small percentage of calves, meningitis. Through this article we will examine what meningitis is, what the symptoms are, the cause and the treatment. In a world of countless diseases, meningitis is typically diagnosed by a veterinarian to rule out other disease. The most visible sign of meningitis in a calf is the head and neck position called “star-gazing.” This is when the head and neck are extended. Attempts to reposition the neck can result in a tonic extension and thrashing of the limbs according to a recent article from cattlenetwork.com entitled, “Meningitis in calves.” To read more pick up copy of the July 2016 NTFR issue.