Tracking Abnormal Calves

Dear USYAKS member,

Physical and functional abnormalities are present in all breeds. The full disclosure of genetic

abnormalities is useful information to the membership, as it allows breeders to minimize the

impact of any problems or eliminate the defect from the breed.

In general, congenital defects in livestock are not indicators of poor herd stewardship. At this

time, USYAKS is not aware of any genetic problems with our collective herd, but we wish to be proactive. We ask for your cooperation during the upcoming calving season.

In the case a defective calf is identified:

1) If possible - contact Dr. Steffen (402-472-1434; or Dr. Petersen (402-472-6328; prior to disposal of the calf to facilitate proper diagnostic sampling.

2) Collect a sample from the calf for DNA analysis (ear or muscle tissue, frozen).

3) If available, collect a blood sample (EDTA tube) from the sire and dam.

4) Photograph the calf.

5) Include pedigree information. Note: the animal’s pedigree and the owners’ information can be kept confidential and used only for the purpose of research.

Sometimes, as in the event of deafness, the defect is not immediately obvious. In these cases, we ask that you make the report as soon as you become aware of the abnormality.

Not all abnormalities are genetic. We are interested in tracking abnormalities that MIGHT be

genetic. It is not possible to make an exhaustive list of defects that may be of genetic origin, but a partial list is below.

List of some abnormalities:

Of Specific Interest: Deafness, Cleft Palate

General: Small, Large, Cannot Stand, Weak, Dwarf, Mummified

Hide and Hair: Full term but hairless, Abnormal skin development, Albino

Bones and Joints: Short or missing vertebrae, Missing bones, Short Spine, Joints not

connected, Stiff joints, Wide hip bones, Narrow pin bones

Abdomen: Umbilical hernia, gastroshisis (external bowels at birth)

Muscles: Not coordinated, Spasm, Withered, Missing, Contracted

Limbs: Absent, Short, Thickened, Paralyzed, limber, Additional legs, crooked, Absence of


Feet: Toeing out, Extra feet, Long hooves, Only one toe, More than two toes, Feet turned back

Head: Enlarged, Short, Thick, Small, Wide forehead, Depression between eyes, Bulging

Forehead, Peaked Opening in Forehead

Jaw: Won’t open, Short, Long, Impacted molars, Cleft palate, Absent, Discoloration of teeth

Eyes: Closed, small eye, no eyeballs, Pop eye, Cross eyed, Blind, Hairs in eye, Film over eye

Nose: Fused nostrils, Pug nose, Wry face

Tail: No tail, Stub or Bob, Kinky or Crooked, Extra tail

Rectum, Vagina: High, Common Opening, No anus, Missing or abnormal sex organs,


Testicles: Missing, Unusual size, Unusual number

Miscellaneous: General Swelling, Fused Teats, Fifth quarter, Short or long gestation

Click below to complete the accompanying form.

Abnormal Calf Report
Download PDF • 123KB

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