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Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in Flemish veal calves

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Organization
Abstract
The Flemish veal calf industry is a niche market, which is specialized in rearing dairy, mixed breed or Belgian Blue calves on an iron deficient milk powder diet in order to produce white veal meat. The sector is for 90% integrated, implicating a rigid economical approach of production characteristics, diseases and treatment. Veterinary costs are kept at a minimum and therefore diagnostic efforts and non-antimicrobial preventive measures (e.g. vaccinations) are not performed. Objective data on causes of morbidity and mortality in the Flemish veal sector are lacking and data from other countries with similar industries is limited as well. Preliminary results on the first 7 farms of an extensive longitudinal survey are currently available. One round per farm was surveyed, with a total number of 2458 calves. Data on morbidity (individual and group treatments) and mortality were daily recorded. In total 478 calves (19%) were treated individually at least once. The main reason for individual treatment was bovine respiratory disease (BRD) (64%). Other reasons were diarrhea (13%), otitis (8%), polyserositis (6%), arthritis (5%), necrobacillosis (2%), omphalitis (0.7%), neurological disease (0.4%) and miscellaneous diseases (1.5%). A typical age related distribution of morbidity was seen on all farms, with diarrhea (week 1-3) shortly after arrival, followed by respiratory problems (week 2-7) with the peak incidence at 4 weeks after arrival. The average number of individual treatment days per production round was 334.4 days with 4.5 days per treated calf. Antimicrobial treatments of the entire group were performed on average 7 times per production round. Overall mortality was 5.2% (127 calves). Three important causes of mortality were identified: pneumonia (25%), polyserositis (20%) and acute ruminal acidosis/ruminitis (15%). Polyserositis is a pathology that only recently emerged on these farms, which is mainly characterised as a peritonitis without any visible primary source, with or without pleuritis or pericarditis. In most cases pneumonia was present as well. Other causes of mortality were enterotoxaemia (7%), diarrhea (6%), omphalitis (4%), euthanasia due to arthritis (4%), perforating abomasal ulceration (3%), neurological disease (3%) and necrobacillosis (2%). Mortality was higher in the Belgian Blue calves than in the mixed breed and the dairy breed. Next to the three main causes of mortality, enterotoxaemia in the Belgian Blue breed is a disease of high significance, because it causes mortality at the end of the production cycle, when animals have a high economic value. Further research on the etiologic agents, the pathological mechanisms and risk factors involved in these diseases is needed in order to create an evidence based preventive approach of veal production. With the issues of antibiotic resistance and animal welfare, such an approach can no longer be delayed.

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MLA
Pardon, Bart, Koen De Bleecker, Jozefien Callens, et al. “Longitudinal Study on Morbidity and Mortality in Flemish Veal Calves.” European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts. Ed. Claire Espinasse. French Buiatrics Association, 2009. 151–151. Print.
APA
Pardon, B., De Bleecker, K., Callens, J., & Deprez, P. (2009). Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in Flemish veal calves. In C. Espinasse (Ed.), European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts (pp. 151–151). Presented at the 1st European Buiatrics Forum (EBF 2009), French Buiatrics Association.
Chicago author-date
Pardon, Bart, Koen De Bleecker, Jozefien Callens, and Piet Deprez. 2009. “Longitudinal Study on Morbidity and Mortality in Flemish Veal Calves.” In European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts, ed. Claire Espinasse, 151–151. French Buiatrics Association.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Pardon, Bart, Koen De Bleecker, Jozefien Callens, and Piet Deprez. 2009. “Longitudinal Study on Morbidity and Mortality in Flemish Veal Calves.” In European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts, ed. Claire Espinasse, 151–151. French Buiatrics Association.
Vancouver
1.
Pardon B, De Bleecker K, Callens J, Deprez P. Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in Flemish veal calves. In: Espinasse C, editor. European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts. French Buiatrics Association; 2009. p. 151–151.
IEEE
[1]
B. Pardon, K. De Bleecker, J. Callens, and P. Deprez, “Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in Flemish veal calves,” in European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts, Marseille, France, 2009, pp. 151–151.
@inproceedings{801976,
  abstract     = {The Flemish veal calf industry is a niche market, which is specialized in rearing dairy, mixed breed or Belgian Blue calves on an iron deficient milk powder diet in order to produce white veal meat. The sector is for 90% integrated, implicating a rigid economical approach of production characteristics, diseases and treatment. Veterinary costs are kept at a minimum and therefore diagnostic efforts and non-antimicrobial preventive measures (e.g. vaccinations) are not performed. Objective data on causes of morbidity and mortality in the Flemish veal sector are lacking and data from other countries with similar industries is limited as well. Preliminary results on the first 7 farms of an extensive longitudinal survey are currently available. One round per farm was surveyed, with a total number of 2458 calves. 
Data on morbidity (individual and group treatments) and mortality were daily recorded. 
In total 478 calves (19%) were treated individually at least once. The main reason for individual treatment was bovine respiratory disease (BRD) (64%). Other reasons were diarrhea (13%), otitis (8%), polyserositis (6%), arthritis (5%), necrobacillosis (2%), omphalitis (0.7%), neurological disease (0.4%) and miscellaneous diseases (1.5%). A typical age related distribution of morbidity was seen on all farms, with diarrhea (week 1-3) shortly after arrival, followed by respiratory problems (week 2-7) with the peak incidence at 4 weeks after arrival. The average number of individual treatment days per production round was 334.4 days with 4.5 days per treated calf. Antimicrobial treatments of the entire group were performed on average 7 times per production round. Overall mortality was 5.2% (127 calves). Three important causes of mortality were identified: pneumonia (25%), polyserositis (20%) and acute ruminal acidosis/ruminitis (15%). Polyserositis is a pathology that only recently emerged on these farms, which is mainly characterised as a peritonitis without any visible primary source, with or without pleuritis or pericarditis. In most cases pneumonia was present as well. Other causes of mortality were enterotoxaemia (7%), diarrhea (6%), omphalitis (4%), euthanasia due to arthritis (4%), perforating abomasal ulceration (3%), neurological disease (3%) and necrobacillosis (2%). Mortality was higher in the Belgian Blue calves than in the mixed breed and the dairy breed. Next to the three main causes of mortality, enterotoxaemia in the Belgian Blue breed is a disease of high significance, because it causes mortality at the end of the production cycle, when animals have a high economic value. Further research on the etiologic agents, the pathological mechanisms and risk factors involved in these diseases is needed in order to create an evidence based preventive approach of veal production. With the issues of antibiotic resistance and animal welfare, such an approach can no longer be delayed.},
  author       = {Pardon, Bart and De Bleecker, Koen and Callens, Jozefien and Deprez, Piet},
  booktitle    = {European Buiatrics Forum, 1st, Abstracts},
  editor       = {Espinasse, Claire},
  isbn         = {2903623431},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Marseille, France},
  pages        = {151--151},
  publisher    = {French Buiatrics Association},
  title        = {Longitudinal study on morbidity and mortality in Flemish veal calves},
  year         = {2009},
}