Pak Dairy Info
Pakistan's 1st Online Dairy Farming Guide

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Contents

Introduction

Breeds

Selection of Animals

Farm Building

Management

Record Keeping

Sanitation & Hygiene

Nutrition

Reproduction

Breeding

Health

Body Condition Scoring

Milk Quality

Feasibility

Terminologies

Directory

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Scours

It is a most common problem during the first weeks of life and is frequently fatal. It is the result of changed gut function; that is, the germ makes the gut stop digesting, which increases the amount of manure and fluids the calf passes. Calves on a milk diet normally pass only a small amount of droppings. If the gut is affected, the amount passed can increase markedly. For example, the amount of water passed in a scouring calf can be 20 times normal. This extra water is mixed with salts and other food, so the calf is losing more than it can eat. The loss of water and salts leads to dehydration. This causes shock and death. In other words, the germ that started the scour is usually not the direct cause of death. It is the shock caused by the loss of body water and salts that is the actual cause of death.

Causes:
There are four major causes of scours:

  • E. coli (white scours)

  • Salmonella

  • Rotavirus

  • Cryptosporidia

All these can occur separately or together.

Signs and Symptoms:
There is profuse watery diarrhea, progressive dehydration and acidosis. Calf is dull and lethargic and in many cases dies in a short time.

Treatment:
The most important thing to do is to replace the lost body water and salts. This is done by using electrolytes in their correct concentration. The earlier this is done, the better the response. Antibiotics can be used if necessary. Make sure affected calves are warm and dry. Exposure to the weather when sick will make things worse.

Prevention of scours

  • The most important method of prevention is to provide adequate colostrum (beestings) in the first few hours after birth.

  • Provide adequate housing or shelter from the weather to reduce stress. Stress is important in allowing scours to develop.

  • Maintain a suitable management and feeding system. Overfeeding and sudden changes of diet can cause further stress.

 

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