Congenital joint laxity and disproportionate dwarfism in a herd of beef cattle

J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1999 Aug 15;215(4):519-21, 483.


Three calves from a herd of beef cattle were examined because of disproportionate dwarfism and excessive extension of metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal joints. Abnormalities had been noticed at birth, 1 to 6 days earlier. A thorough herd investigation revealed that 16 calves born to 70 multiparous cows were affected during the calving season. The condition did not adversely affect calf survival. Affected calves had limbs that were disproportionally short, compared with their trunk size, and wide epiphyses of the femurs and humeri. Radiographic evaluation revealed incomplete maturation of carpal and tarsal bones and incomplete maturation and abnormal flaring of epiphyses of the short humeri and femurs. Histologic findings were consistent with chondrodystrophy. This disorder had not been seen in the herd in previous years and was traced to feeding of dry, spoiled silage to the dams during midgestation. Covering the silage prevented problems in the subsequent year.

MeSH terms

  • Animal Husbandry
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / abnormalities*
  • Arthrography / veterinary
  • Cattle / abnormalities*
  • Disease Outbreaks / veterinary
  • Dwarfism / congenital
  • Dwarfism / veterinary*
  • Female
  • Joint Instability / congenital
  • Joint Instability / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Silage / toxicity