Calf Scours

What is Calf Scours?

Calf scours is a term for diarrhoea; another term that may be applied to this disease is “enteritis,” which means inflammation of the intestinal tract. 

Symptoms of Calf Scours

  • A loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes
  • Difficulty to stand up or stay standing
  • Signs of colic
  • Blood and fibrin in faeces

Causes of Calf Scours

Calf Scours pathogens are viruses, bacteria and microscopic parasites, many of which cause damage to the intestinal tract.

  • They cause the cells of the intestinal lining to malfunction.
  • They can kill the intestinal lining cells.
  • They can invade the deeper layers of the intestinal lining and rapidly destroy it.

Problems from Calf Scours

  • Calf scours (diarrhoea) is the primary cause of death in calves from 2 to 30 days of age.
  • The primary harm from scours is the loss of water and electrolytes (body salts) in diarrhoea. This loss of water and salts creates dehydration and alteration of the acid-base balance of the bodily fluids. Inflammation of the intestinal lining impairs the calf’s ability to digest nutrients, creating weight loss and the potential for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). If untreated, these changes can be severe enough to result in death.
  • In addition, certain bacteria (certain strains of Salmonella and Clostridium perfringens) can release toxins that cause harm to multiple vital organs in the calf.
  • Calves affected with scours are twice as likely to develop pneumonia.
  • Growth rates are also affected.

Calf Scours – Treatment 

Improving sanitation – Good general hygiene minimizes exposure, thus preventing disease. This includes disinfecting calving pens between occupancy, sanitizing calf treatment equipment between uses and isolating scouring calves.

  • Make sure the calf gets enough colostrum. This is the single most important determinant of the calf’s immune status during the neonatal period. Failure to do this means a 3- to 10-fold increase in the calf’s risk of becoming sick.
  • Proper cow vaccination against E. coli and rotavirus and coronavirus can increase the antibodies she passes through her colostrum to the calf.
  • Build up the calves immunity. Calves are born with no functioning immune system, helping the immune system can reduce incidents and severity of any infection. Aura Calf is a proven product that can help with this and minimises losses, vet costs and labour on the farm.

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