Recumbency, commonly seen in calves less than one week old, poses a diagnostic challenge to the cattle practitioner. This article describes some of the reasons why a calf may be recumbent from birth (often related to trauma during second stage labour) or may subsequently become recumbent at some point following delivery. As with all clinical investigations, it is essential first to obtain an accurate history of the animal and to establish if it was ever able to raise itself and stand unaided. If so, when did the calf become recumbent? Other factors to be considered include the use of traction during parturition and whether the calf became hip-locked during delivery.
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