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Can Vet J. Feb 1997; 38(2): 101–104.
PMCID: PMC1576546

Use of a clinical sepsis score for predicting bacteremia in neonatal dairy calves on a calf rearing farm.

Abstract

In human, equine, and bovine neonates, early diagnosis of bacteremia remains a challenge for the internist. The objective of this study was to develop a predictive model for risk of bacteremia, based on a clinical evaluation system called the clinical sepsis score. Blood from 90 ill calves, 1- to 14-days-old from a calf-raising farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California was cultured. The calves were also scored according to a clinical score for hydration status, fecal appearance, general attitude, appearance of scleral vessels, and umbilical abnormality. Age, rectal temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, and presence or absence of a focal site of infection were recorded. Prevalence of bacteremia was 31% (28/90). A logistic regression model indicated that high clinical score, presence of a focal infection, and increased age were associated with an increased risk of bacteremia in ill calves (P < 0.06). Calves for which the model predicted bacteremia with a probability > or = 40.8% were considered bacteremic, yielding acceptable sensitivity (75%) and specificity (71%) estimates. The predictive model was validated through a 2nd sampling of 100 calves (79 ill calves and 21 controls), of which 17 calves were bacteremic. The classification was 75% correct using the model, with an estimated sensitivity of 76% and specificity of 75%. Overall, results indicated that the model could be a useful tool for predicting bacteremia in ill calves in a clinical setting.

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Selected References

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  • Fecteau G, Van Metre DC, Paré J, Smith BP, Higgins R, Holmberg CA, Jang S, Guterbock W. Bacteriological culture of blood from critically ill neonatal calves. Can Vet J. 1997 Feb;38(2):95–100. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
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