Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
In juvenile cattle, vitamin A deficiency is reported most commonly as a neurological condition; only rarely are there dermatologic manifestations. In the current study, alopecia, severe epidermal and follicular orthokeratosis, and acanthosis due to hypovitaminosis A are reported in 2 of 32 Angus calves, with a third animal suspected. Affected animals responded to vitamin A supplementation, and no additional calves displayed signs. Vitamin A acts on skin by regulating DNA transcription in keratinocytes, reducing the number of tonofilaments and desmosomes, both involved in cell-to-cell adhesion. Hence, adequate levels of dietary vitamin A are necessary for normal keratinocyte turnover, and deficiencies result in retention of keratinized cells (orthokeratosis). The present report reminds diagnosticians to consider vitamin A deficiency in cases of orthokeratotic dermatopathy in cattle.
Baldwin, T.J., K.A. Rood, E.J. Kelly, and J.O Hall. (2012) Dermatopathy in juvenile Angus cattle due to Vitamin A deficiency. J VET Diagn Invest July 2012 24: 763-766, first published on May 14, 2012. doi:10.1177/1040638712445767