Intravenous and Oral Fluid Therapy in Neonatal Calves With Diarrhea or Sepsis and in Adult Cattle

Constable, Peter D.; Trefz, Florian M.; Sen, Ismail; Berchtold, Joachim; Nouri, Mohammad; Smith, Geoffrey; Grünberg, Walter (2021). Intravenous and Oral Fluid Therapy in Neonatal Calves With Diarrhea or Sepsis and in Adult Cattle. Frontiers in veterinary science, 7 Frontiers Media 10.3389/fvets.2020.603358

Intravenous_and_Oral_Fluid_Therapy_in.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons: Attribution (CC-BY).

Download (4MB) | Preview

Optimal fluid therapy protocols in neonatal calves and adult cattle are based on
consideration of signalment, history, and physical examination findings, and individually
tailored whenever laboratory analysis is available. Measurement of the magnitude of
eye recession, duration of skin tenting in the lateral neck region, and urine specific
gravity by refractometry provide the best estimates of hydration status in calves and
cattle. Intravenous and oral electrolyte solutions (OES) are frequently administered to
critically ill calves and adult cattle. Application of physicochemical principles indicates that
0.9% NaCl, Ringer’s solution, and 5% dextrose are equally acidifying, lactated Ringer’s
and acetated Ringer’s solution are neutral to mildly acidifying, and 1.3–1.4% sodium
bicarbonate solutions are strongly alkalinizing in cattle. Four different crystalloid solutions
are recommended for intravenous fluid therapy in dehydrated or septic calves and
dehydrated adult cattle: (1) lactated Ringer’s solution and acetated Ringer’s solution for
dehydrated calves, although neither solution is optimized for administration to neonatal
calves or adult cattle; (2) isotonic (1.3%) or hypertonic (5.0 or 8.4%) solutions of sodium
bicarbonate for the treatment of calves with diarrhea and severe strong ion (metabolic)
acidosis and hyponatremia, and adult cattle with acute ruminal acidosis; (3) Ringer’s
solution for the treatment of metabolic alkalosis in dehydrated adult cattle, particularly
lactating dairy cattle; and (4) hypertonic NaCl solutions (7.2%) and an oral electrolyte
solution or water load for the rapid resuscitation of dehydrated neonatal calves and adult
cattle. Much progress has been made since the 1970’s in identifying important attributes
of an OES for diarrheic calves. Important components of an OES for neonatal calves
are osmolality, sodium concentration, the effective SID that reflects the concentration of
alkalinizing agents, and the energy content. The last three factors are intimately tied to
the OES osmolality and the abomasal emptying rate, and therefore the rate of sodium
delivery to the small intestine and ultimately the rate of resuscitation. An important need
in fluid and electrolyte therapy for adult ruminants is formulation of a practical, effective,
and inexpensive OES.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine (DKV) > Clinic for Ruminants

UniBE Contributor:

Trefz, Florian Markus


500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
600 Technology > 630 Agriculture




Frontiers Media




Nathalie Viviane Zollinger

Date Deposited:

12 Feb 2021 17:03

Last Modified:

12 Mar 2021 06:27

Publisher DOI:





Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback