Scour in Calves


3 Main Causes

Scour in Calves

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  • 4 years ago

3 Main Causes

Parasites, bacteria and viruses are the main causes of scour in calves. These agents damage the intestinal linings, so that electrolytes and water will not be effectively absorbed.

The calf will then pass loose faeces until the period whereby the linings of the intestines heal.

In order to treat scour in calves, fluids and electrolytes are the most important types of treatment.

It is recommended that calves should be continued to be fed with milk or good quality milk replacer, depending on how the calf has been fed up until this period. They should be offered normal quantities of milk or milk replacer.

As the calf is being fed milk, it helps to heal the damaged linings of the intestines.

One of the most important factors of controlling calf scour, is that infected calves are isolated from the rest in order to reduce the risk of spreading to other calves.

Antibiotics will not work against those scours which have been caused by both viruses and parasites, so therefore should not be administered unless the calf appears to have a fever with the scour or appears to be sick.

Vet’s should be contacted if the owner is unsure of scour type or suitable treatment.

There are three main causes of scour which include Parasites, Viruses and Bacteria, all of which result in different types of scours.

Parasites

Cryptosporidia

Most Common

Coccidia (Calves older than 3 Weeks)

Viruses

Rotavirus

Coronavirus

Less Common

Bacteria

Salmonella

E. Coli (Under 5 days)

Rare

Scour can be prevented by feeding adequate quantities of colostrum properly and introducing and maintaining dry clean housing suitable for the calf.

Here are some basic hygiene rules that should be followed by all systems.

  • Individual or group calf pens or calf- hutches should be cleaned out and disinfected between calves.
  • Ensure that the area where the calf is housed has a good supply of clean, dry bedding available. This area should be regularly cleaned out and topped up.
  • Clean the feeding equipment regularly.
  • Dis-infect calf housing areas and calving areas at the start and end of every season.

Ingrid Lorenz of AHI Calf Health explains AHI’s ‘Scour Management Programme’.

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