Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) collected at the atlanto-occipital site and serum were obtained from 10 male, 8-week-old, Holstein calves after sedation with xylazine hydrochloride. Glucose, creatine kinase, alkaline phosphatase, urea nitrogen, creatinine, sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, phosphorus, total protein, and albumin were determined in serum and CSF. Optical characteristics, specific gravity, total red blood cell and nucleated cell counts and differentials were also evaluated in the CSF. Additionally, CSF protein electrophoresis and immunoglobulin concentrations were determined. Then, albumin quotients (AQ) were derived. Erythrocytes were observed in 9 of 10 CSF samples. Total nucleated cell counts ranged from 0-10 cells x 10(6)/L with a mean of 3 cells x 10(6)/L. Differential nucleated cell count in the CSF consisted primarily of lymphocytes/small mononuclear cells (57%), fewer monocytes/ large mononuclear cells (38%), and scant neutrophils (4%) and eosinophils (0.05%). The concentration of sodium (134 to 139 mEq/L) was similar to that of serum, but the concentration of potassium (2.8 to 3 mEq/L) was lower than that of serum. Creatine kinase activity (0 to 4 U/L) of CSF was markedly lower than serum activity. The CSF glucose concentration was approximately 80% of the serum value. Cerebrospinal fluid total protein concentration determined by electrophoresis ranged from 110 to 330 mg/L with a mean of 159 mg/L. Cerebrospinal fluid albumin ranged from 48 to 209 mg/L with a mean of 86 mg/L. In all CSF samples, radial immunodiffusion of unaltered CSF and concentrated CSF (four-fold concentration) revealed quantities undetectable by the present techniques in which the lowest standard values for IgG1, IgG, and IgM determinations was 70 mg/L and IgG2 was 30 mg/L. The albumin quotient ranged from 0.15 to 0.65 with a mean of 0.25. Based on the results of this study, CSF may be collected at the atlanto-occipital site safely and efficiently in calves, and reported values for CSF from adult cattle may not be suitable for evaluation of CSF collected from immature cattle.
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