Most cases of calf scours in New Zealand are “nutritional”, ie they are caused by aspects of the feeding regime (consistency, quality and temperature of milk, frequency of feeds, weather conditions etc).
This sort of scour does not normally last long, but may suddenly affect a large number of calves at one time, but does not spread from calf to calf. It is quickly and easily rectified by feeding with a “cheap and cheerful” electrolyte solution for a short period of time, and then returning to more consistent milk feeding.
Infectious scours (caused by microbes), on the other hand, can be a nightmare to manage. Most commonly they are caused by rotavirus, salmonella, or coccidia. Large numbers of calves are progressively affected, and they require significant nursing care to prevent deaths.
The biggest hassle is the amount of time taken to manage all of these sick calves, and this should not be underestimated. It may even necessitate employing an extra labour-unit to get through the crisis.
Managing the outbreak has three major components:
1) Protect new born calves – Optimise their resistance to disease
2) Treat sick calves – Correct dehydration
3) Minimise cross-contamination
Managing a calf scours outbreak is time consuming, and can be heart-breaking. If you continue to have problems despite following the guidelines above, please contact a vet for further advice.
Need a solution to this problem?
· Have a look at a retail product called Rotagen supplied by Clutha Vets
· Contact Clutha Vets on 03 418 1280 and speak to your local vet for professional advice.
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