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Wieland, Matthias; Mann, Sabine; Gollnick, Nicole S.; Majzoub-Altweck, Monir; Knubben-Schweizer, Gabriela and Langenmayer, Martin C. (2019): Alopecia in Belgian Blue crossbred calves: a case series. In: BMC Veterinary Research, Vol. 15, No. 1, 411

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Background: Alopecia is defined as the partial or complete absence of hair from areas of the body where it normally grows. Alopecia secondary to an infectious disease or parasitic infestation is commonly seen in cattle. It can also have metabolic causes, for example in newborn calves after a disease event such as diarrhoea. In the article, the investigation of a herd problem of acquired alopecia in Belgian Blue (BB) crossbred calves is described. Case presentation: Several BB crossbred calves had presented with moderate to severe non-pruritic alopecia in a single small herd located in Southern Germany. The referring veterinarian had ruled out infectious causes, including parasitic infection and had supplemented calves with vitamins (vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, and K3) orally. Results of the diagnostic workup at the Clinic for Ruminants are presented for three affected calves and findings from a farm visit are discussed. Because of these investigations, an additional four calves were brought to the referral clinic within the first week of life, and before onset of alopecia, in order to study the course of the condition;however, these calves never developed any signs of alopecia during their clinic stay. Conclusions: Because all other plausible differential diagnoses were ruled out during our investigation, we concluded that the documented alopecia was due to malabsorption of dietary fat and consecutive disruption of lipid metabolism leading to telogen or anagen effluvium. In this particular case, this was caused by a mixing error of milk replacer in conjunction with insufficiently tempered water. We conclude that nutritional, management or environmental factors alone can lead to moderate to severe alopecia in calves in the absence of a prior or concurrent disease event or infectious cause.

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