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About Dairy Wellness

Give your calves a blanket of protection
Posted by Greg Edwards

As you adjust to fluctuating temperatures this spring, brace your calves for scours.

 Calf scours is a constant and serious threat. It’s the leading cause of death prior to weaning.1 Even when a calf with scours lives, it might weigh 20 pounds less at weaning than a healthy calf.2

 In scours, also known as calf diarrhea, there is a discharge of more fluid, more frequently than normal.

 Since a calf is approximately 70% water at birth, loss of body fluids through diarrhea can produce rapid dehydration. Dehydration and the loss of certain electrolytes produce a change in body chemistry in the calf. While scours is caused by infectious agents that can damage the intestine, death from scours is usually due to loss of electrolytes, changes in body chemistry and dehydration, not directly because of the infectious agents.

 Winter is just one more stressor on calves. Offer your calves a blanket of protection and help prevent a calf scours outbreak by:

 Work with your veterinarian to develop a vaccination plan with SCOURGUARD® 4KC to help avoid the damaging effects of scours. If scours does occur, consider a treatment plan that includes replenishing electrolytes and fluids with RE-SORB®.

 

1 USDA National Animal Health Monitoring System. Heifer Calf Health and Management Practices on U.S. Dairy Operations, 2007. Available at: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/animal_health/nahms/dairy/downloads/dairy07/Dairy07_ir_CalfHealth.pdf. Accessed December 19, 2013.

 2 Anderson DC, Kress DD, Bernardini TMM, Davis KC, Boss DL, Boornbos DE. The effect of scours on calf weaning weight. Prof Anim Sci 2003;19:399-403.

 3 Hudson D, White G. Calf Scours: Causes, Prevention and Treatment. Available at: http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1193&context=extensionhist. Accessed on December 19, 2013.

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