AHI Bulletin MARCH 2018 FINAL

AHI BULLETIN • MARCH 2018

ANIMAL HEALTH IRELAND Contributing to a profitable and sustainable farming and agri-food sector through improved animal health

AHI BULLETIN CARE OF THE SCOURING CALF

C alf scour is still the most common health issue in young calves. It causes major financial losses to the Irish cattle industry, but equally importantly, it causes a lot of stress and increased workload for the farmer. Scours in the neonatal calf are caused by a variety and often a combination of infectious agents (Fig.1). Whatever the cause, the mucosa of the intestines will be damaged which leads to a loss of fluid and salts into the gut. The most important principle for the treatment of the diarrhoeic calf is therefore the replacement of those additional losses. Take the following steps if scour is observed:

Figure 1.

Cryptosporidia**

Parasites

Most common

Coccidia (generally in calves older than 3 weeks)

Rotavirus Coronavirus

Viruses

Less common

Salmonella** E. coli (only in calves under 5 days of age)

Bacteria

Rare

**Cryptosporidia and Salmonella may cause diseases in humans. Good hygiene when dealing with sick calves is essential to avoid infecting yourself.

1. Remove the scouring calf from the group. This prevents infection from spreading to other calves, but it also facilitates control and handling. 2. Rehydrate: Fluids and electrolytes are best provided as electrolyte solutions that are given in an additional feeding, e.g. at noon. You can safely give these solutions by stomach tube if the calf refuses or is unable to drink. 3. Feed milk: For the provision of energy, the scouring calf needs as much milk as the healthy calf. Keeping calves on milk while they are scouring will not worsen or prolong diarrhoea. Milk withdrawal, however, can lead to loss of condition. Therefore, the normal feeding regime should be maintained for dairy calves and beef calves should stay with their mothers.

Animal Health Ireland, 4-5 The Archways, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim N41 WN27. Phone 071 9671928 Email nmorgan@animalhealthireland.ie Web www.animalhealthireland.ie

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