Neonatal Calf Diarrhoea

Calf diarrhoea as a complex is caused by a number of different micro organisms including viruses, bacteria, and protozoa. Classification of different aetiological causes is best done by determining the age of the calf when the diarrhoea begins. Week one of age: E.coli E.coli infections also known as Colibacillosis or calf scours is a bacterial infection resulting in moderate to severe yellow pasty diarrhoea in one week old calves. The onset of dehydration and death occurs rapidly in such cases. Diagnosis: A tentative diagnosis is often made from presenting clinical signs as well as the macroscopic appearance of the faeces as well as the age of the calf (yellow/grey colour). A definitive diagnosis is made on bacterial culture. Treatment: Symptomatic treatment to maintain the calf’s hydration status is recommended. The use of antibiotics is warranted in these cases. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming an ever-growing problem, meaning our antibiotics need to be reserved as much as possible. Antibiotics in the Sulphonamide group (Maxisulf, Norotrim and Sulfatrim) as well as the Flouroquinolone group (Baytril) are often effective against E. coli infections.

However, it is always recommended to submit faecal samples to a registered laboratory for bacterial culture and antibiogram. The antibiogram will tell us which antibiotics work effectively against E. coli. *It is important to note that Baytril is not a first line antimicrobial and must always be used sparingly.  Prevention: Prevention is always better than cure! Vaccination of Heifers (8 weeks and then 4 weeks prior to […]