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A stillborn calf with pulmonary hypoplasia and anasarca

Pulmonary Hypoplasia with Anasarca (PHA) is a lethal recessive genetic disease of calves worldwide.

PHA primarily affects Maine Anjou and Maine Anjou-influenced cattle, although other breeds such as the Galloway and Dexter have been recorded[1]. Concurrent diseases such as hydrops fetalis also occur[2].

Affected calves are born with poorly developed lungs and subcutaneous edema. The calves are usually born dead and may be aborted early.

A differential diagnosis would include other congenital diseases such as arthrogryposis multiplex, contractural arachnodactyly, neuropathic hydrocephalus, arthrogryposis multiplex and complex vertebral malformation. Other causes of neonatal ascites and stillborths must be considered such as epizootic abortion and bovine viral diarrhea.

No specific treatment is required for these calves as most succumb to their illness.


  1. Agerholm JS & Arnbjerg J (2011) Pulmonary hypoplasia and anasarca syndrome in a belted Galloway calf. Vet Rec 168(7):190
  2. Windsor PA et al (2006) Hydrops fetalis associated with pulmonary hypoplasia in Dexter calves. Aust Vet J 84(8):278-81