Calf diarrhea is one of the most commonly reported diseases on cattle farms and a major cause of economic loss to cattle producers worldwide. Table 1 shows the estimated percentage of all calf deaths caused by diarrhea in various countries.
Diarrhea is very costly, especially in heifers where replacement costs alone can amount to over USD2000 per calf. Although the cattle industry has made big improvements in herd management, animal facilities and care, feeding and nutrition, and the timely use of prevention and treatment protocols, calf diarrhea is still problematic due to the multifactorial nature of the disease (Table 2).
Cryptosporidium parvum and E. coli are the most common causes of calf diarrhea, accounting for more than 30%, and in some areas up to 40% of cases. To prevent calf diarrhea, you first need to understand that the disease is caused by multiple pathogens.
The most common causes of calf diarrhea are:
- Viruses (Rotavirus, Coronavirus)
- Bacteria (E. coli)
- Protozoa (Cryptosporidium parvum)
- Environmental factors
- Feeding and management problems during the calving period
Special attention should be given to cow nutrition, especially during the last trimester of gestation since that is the time of most fetal growth. The nutrition of the cow has a huge influence on post-calving morbidity and mortality rates in calves.
Prevention is another important step in minimizing the impact of scours. The bovine placenta does not permit the passive transfer of antibodies, so the newborn calf is very susceptible to environmental pathogens. Timely consumption of high-quality colostrum in sufficient quantities is of vital importance. A standard guideline to follow is the "3-2-1" rule. For its first feed, the newborn calf should receive at least three liters of colostrum within the first two hours after birth from the cow's first milking.
Poor environmental conditions can stress the immune system of the young calf, increasing its susceptibility to diarrhea. Exposure to a contaminated environment is the main cause of calf diarrhea. A simple solution is to reduce the pathogen load in the environment where calves are raised, but this has always been a challenge for cattle producers.
At Huvepharma®, we know the importance of calf diarrhea and its economic impact on cattle farms. Huve-Check® calf scours is our diagnostic testing kit for detecting the presence of Rotavirus, Coronavirus, E. coli and Cryptosporidium parvum. The test only takes ten minutes to complete, and the results provide an accurate diagnosis which allows the correct treatment program to be started.
The Huvepharma® Parofor® range is the gold standard in calf diarrhea treatments as it is effective against both E. coli and Cyrptosporidium. Where registered for sale, the product is available either as a water-soluble powder or an oral solution. It contains paromomycin which is produced in our own production facilities. For more information about the Parofor® range including the SPC, visit the Parofor® product page by clicking here.