The pathology of blindness in new-born calves caused by hypovitaminosis A

30 Sep 2014

Blindness attributed to vitamin A deficiency afflicted 47 out of 197, and 15 out of 29 new-born dairy calves on 2 farms. Other clinical signs included doming of the forehead, thickening of the carpal joints, incoordination and weakness. Gross lesions in 8 of the calves examined consisted in hydrocephalus and thickened occipital and sphenoid bones. In 4 of these calves the optic nerves were constricted as a result of a reduction in size and dorsoventral narrowing of the optic canals. Microscopical changes in the optic nerves were characterized by necrosis, demyelination and fibrosis. Oedema or gliosis of the optic disc occurred in some of the calves. Retinal lesions included atrophy and gliosis of the ganglion cell layer and the nerve fibre layer. Three of the calves showed focal retinal dysplasia with occasional rosette formation.