Calf scours

Calf scours can be extremely stressful and frustrating at a point in the season when you are time-poor.

The best treatment for calf scours is PREVENTION, and the best prevention is gold colostrum. Calves do not receive any antibodies from their mothers while in the womb, they ONLY absorb them from colostrum in the first 12 hours of life so colostrum feeding and quality is critically important. Gold colostrum comes from the cows very first milking, however over 50% of gold colostrum has inadequate antibodies, with heifers known to have poorer quality than cows. Measuring gold colostrum with a brix refractometer will help you decide which is the best colostrum to give your calves.

Preventing spread and maintaining hygiene is important to control scours in pens and sheds if it does occur. First line treatment involves electrolytes and supportive therapy but not all electrolytes are created equal. Most have inadequate levels of glucose to support normal metabolism and insufficient electrolyte levels to replenish those lost to scours. DiarrestTM is a great choice in severe cases where calves have lost their suck reflex are standing but are dull/depressed (recumbent calves are likely to need IV fluids). Revive is another good option for calves who have a weak suck reflex and can stand. Most other products then fall into the next category where calves are bright, drinking well but have mild scours.

Continuing to feed milk to scouring calves is vital to assist in recovery and doesn't lead to exacerbation of scours. Alternate two milk feeds and up to four 2L electrolyte feeds throughout the day when treating calves. Gold colostrum can be given instead of milk feeds or ice cubes of gold colostrum can be added to milk to provide the gut with local protection to aid recovery.

Please contact us if you find you are wanting to know anything further about calf scours and treatments.