Written By: Bradford P Smith, DVM, DACVIM, Professor Emeritus
When I was a fairly new veterinarian back in the early 70’s, I had a case that really caught my attention. A valuable 10 month Holstein bull had been recently shipped from the east coast to California, and it had developed fever, oral erosions on the dental pad, severe diarrhea, and weight loss. Frankly it looked as though it planned to die. The bull had leukopenia and was positive for BVDV. I informed the owner and then treated him symptomatically with fluids and antimicrobials, plus soft palatable feed. By some miracle he improved over the next 10 days and I kept the owner informed. Finally he looked so good that I called to tell them he was ready to go home. As I walked back into the barn, there was the bull lying dead in his stall! Calling the owner back to tell him the bull had died, only 20 minutes after I had told them he was better, was one of the most excruciating calls I have ever had to make. Our pathologists determined that he had a large cardiac infarct, which probably had caused a fatal arrhythmia. A new one on me!