Photo: Abandoned twin (black Limousin, where he gets the short nose, x Angus cross).
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Fast Start TCR is a complete feed with no additional forage needed used for calves up to 300lb.
Baby Calf Scours
Calf scours can be fatal. The most important factor affecting the health of a calf is getting colostrum, the first milk from its mother at birth. A calf without colostrum even well after weaning age will be weaker and will struggle in environments that should be safe enough for healthy cattle. In the case of most any health issue, colostrum is critical, and the calf should have received it within 24 hours of birth, preferably during the first hour. The immunoglobulins from the mother's first milk are too large for a calf to absorb by day 2. The calves throat will all the large particles to penetrate at birth and they begin to close up at that point forward, so 3 hours is much better than 6 hours, and at 24 hours the absorption could be almost nothing. The environment is another very important factor affecting a calf's health. Calves born in confinement have a much great risk of infection than a calf born in a grass field. Moving the animals around prevents the build up of mud, urine, and feces and keeps critical levels of pathogens low, helping to prevent infection.
There are 2 types of basic treatments, an antibiotic for bacterial infections, and a coccidiostat for coccidiosis caused by protozoa. The two can be used in conjunction. Previous milk replacer formulas did not cover cocidiosis but did use two antibiotics for scours, neomycin sulfate and oxytetracycline hydrochloride, before regulation prevented the inclusion of antibiotics in milk replacers.
The pathogens that cause scours do not kill the calf directly, but rather the calf dies of dehydration as a result of scouring. Dehydration being a major concern makes electrolyte supplementation crucial to calf survival. Some types of electrolytes can be mixed with milk replacer. A producer can do a simple test by pinching the loose skin on a calf's neck to see how severely the calf is dehydrated. If the skin stays tented up but for less than 4 seconds dehydration is in an earlier stage and 2 quarts of electrolytes per day should be given until the scours pass. If the skin stays tented for 5 seconds the calf should be given 2 quarts of electrolytes and repeated a few hours later and care should be taken to maintain the calves body temperature. If the skin stays tented the calf probably will need an intravenous drip solution in order to survive.
The first occurring potential type of calf scours is caused by the bacteria, E.coli and is most common for calves less than 4 days old. Vaccines are available and antibiotics are effective. One of the most common antibiotics used is oxytetracycline hydrochloride, trade names include LA200, 300LA, Terra Vet 200, and Terramycin. Another commonly used antibiotic is sulfamethazine, trade names include Sulmet and Sustain III. Sustain III is a 72 hour slow release version of the drug and can be hard on the stomach of young calf. The calf should be at least one month old when using Sustain III. Sulmet would be the safe version for baby calves.
The next potential phase of scours occurs when the calf is less than 1 week old and can set in almost as fast as E.coli, it is caused by a rotavirus. The 3rd potential wave is caused by coronavirus and occurs when the calf is more than 1 week old. Vaccinations are available but there are no treatments for these two viruses. Producers will often use antibiotics to prevent a secondary bacterial infection cause by E.coli or salmonella. A combination of a viral and a bacterial infection is much more dangerous than either alone.
Coccidiosis is caused by a protoza and is the final potential type of scours. It occurs when the calf is about 3 weeks old. For more information please see: Treatments for Diseases & Disorders Corid® is often the go to solution for coccidiosis and a combination with an antibiotic for bacterial scours can help.