Scours are responsible for amost 61% of calf dealths according to the NAHMS study done several years ago. Calf scours or diarrhea is not really a disease but rather the clinical sigh of a disease that can have many causes. Bacteria, viruses, protozoa, nutrition, or environmental stresses can all cause calf scours.
Good quality colostrum, soon after birth is key. As with other calf diseases, scours incidence can be directly tied to the calf that did not receive adequate immunity from the cow through the colostrum.
Preventing and treating calf scours starts by identifying what the causes are. Make sure management, feeding, and environment are not the primary problem. Identifying of any infectious organisms is important in designing treatment and prevention strategies. Age of the calf at the time of the scours outbreak is often a good clue as to the “bug” involved but laboratory tests conducted on fecal samples from scouring calves or dead calves may be advisable. Discuss diagnostics with your veterinarian.
Most calves that die as a result of scours actually die of dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. Therefore, the primary response to a scouring calf should be to provide electrolytes as needed in addition to the milk that would normally be fed. More specific treatments may be needed once an infectious agent has been identified.
Scours are a constant threat to young calves. A good program of proper nutrition, sanitation, and management is necessary to minimize incidence and loss.
Prevention will go a long way. Consider using products like WGS and Solumine for prevention.
- WGS is a plant polyphenol of the locust bean. This polyphenol thickens the feed inside the gut of the calf and slows down the passage of this feed. WGS also is a natural astringent which slows the passage of electrolytes and water from the calf’s gut. These two modes of action allows the calf to be less dehydrated and in better condition to fight off the cause of the scour.The better the immunity of the calf the better it will defend it’s self from the causing organism.
- Solumine is a combination of plant polyphenol of licorice root and peppermint. Licorice root is a strong antinflammatory helping to fight elevated temperatures of the calf.
The combination of these phenols has a calming effect on the animal allowing the immune system to do the job of curing the calf.