Joint ill

Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your Cow. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Joint Ill

Infectious Arthritis, Neonatal Polyarthritis

Joint ill, also referred to as infectious arthritis or neonatal polyarthritis, is considered a life-threatening emergency in calves, requiring rapid and aggressive treatment. It is a serious infection of the joints (common sites are the hock, stifle, fetlock, carpus, and rarely the hip and shoulder). It can be caused by a number of different organisms including E. coli, Salmonella spp, Streptococcus spp, and Arcanobacterium pyogenes. It is characterized by the development of joint swelling and pain within 24 hours of onset of infection.


Joint swelling and pain
Laying down
Loss of appetite
Head tremors
Backwards extension of neck


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam


Treatment TypeDetailsReference
Cleanse umbilicus
Systemic antibiotics
Supportive careIntravenous fluids, whole blood transfusion may be necessary
Joint lavage
SurgeryArthroscopy or arthrotomy


Guarded or poor

Article Reference

Risk Factors

  • Living in unsanitary environments

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