Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.
Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria (E. coli, salmonella), viruses (rota, corona) or parasites (cryptosporidia, coccidia).
Rota and corona infections, which generally occur during the first month of life, can in turn lead to parasitic disorders such as cryptosporidia.
Feeding errors and insufficient hygiene can also cause diarrhea. Diarrhea results in discomfort and retarded growth in calves.
In the worst case scenario, it can even result in death.
Colostrum plays a key role in tackling diarrhea.
Correctly providing each calf with good-quality colostrum allows the animal to build up immunity, which is a key tool in preventing diarrhea.
Learn more about colostrum feeding:
Be extra attentive in dry period
If diarrhea regularly recurs on your farm, it is advisable to carefully analyse the dry period.
It is during this period that the foundations are laid for a healthy start for the calf. Feed for healthy pregnant cows has a huge influence on the health of the young calf. If the rations are not in good order during the dry period, then the calf will have lower resistance, and the colostrum is often of poorer quality.
As a result, the calf receives insufficient antibodies, thereby increasing the risk of diarrhea.
In an ideal dry period, the cow maintains her dry matter intake right up to calving day. That can only be achieved if the cow has access to tasty rations, 24 hours a day. The raw protein content of the rations and the amount of minerals and vitamins also influence the quality of the colostrum.
Water first; the rest comes later!
Dehydration through diarrhoea has a huge influence on the wellbeing of the calf. Diarrhoea prevention is therefore of vital importance and is the keystone to problem-free rearing of successful dairy cows.
Did you know that:
- A 40 kg calf needs 6 litres of fluid intake a day?
- It is of vital importance to offer fresh water to a calf in a drinking tray, from day 2?
- A calf with diarrhoea can lose more than 5 litres of fluids?
- No calf ever died from drinking water?
- Damage to the intestinal wall from diarrhoea means that fewer nutrients can be taken up?
- Painkillers have a positive effect on calf recovery?
Diarrhoea action plan:
1. Have the faeces tested for germs and prepare a treatment plan and prevention plan.
2. In the case of infectious diarrhoea (E-coli, Rota Corona, Salmonella, Clostridium, Crypto, coccidiosis): immediately isolate the calf from the rest of the herd, to prevent contamination.
3. Between normal (milk) feeds offer the calf additional water supplemented with Nutrifrizz ( Please consult your veterinarian. ) effervescent tablets for an optimal fluid and salt balance. (1 tablet to 1 litre of water).
Preventing infectious diarrhea
Preventing non-infectious diarrhea
Check that the following points are in good order.
1. Optimum dry period for the cow
2. Colostrum management:
• Quick, Fresh, Often, Four litres, Enriched (possibly supplemented with Colocorrect if colostrum quality is insufficient),
• Hygiene for gathering colostrum (disinfect the cow’s teats and the buckets in which the colostrum is collected prior to milking)
3. Calving hygiene (calving pen)
4. Cubicle hygiene
5. Accommodate separately for at least two weeks
6. Do not mix calves with older animals (>6 months)
7. Use calf blankets at temperatures below 15°C
8. Prevent calves standing in draughts
9. Use clean equipment (bucket, etc.)
10. Supply milk correctly (posture, temperature, suckling, concentration)
11. Regularly clean and calibrate automatic drinking machines
12. Provide sufficient bedding/litter material
13. Avoid feed in the calf pen * Consult your advisor for a special feed timetable.
1. Check how the milk is prepared and how the calf drinks.
2. Drinking temperature 40 °C in the bucket.
3. Constant concentration (150 g per litre)
4. Drinking posture (teat at correct height: 75 cm) and the suckling of the calf (teat quality)
If drug treatment is required, consult your veterinarian.