Calf scours or calf diarrhea remains still a major problem on many farms and ranches. No matter what the causes are, the results can be dramatic in a very short time span. One day you seem to have a perfectly healthy calf and the next day it can be dead.
To recognize the symptoms in an early stage is vital in the chances of recovery, especially if dehydration is becoming an issue. It helps a lot if you know the history of the calf and the dam.
- If the dam had problems during her pregnancy, it doesn’t mean that there will be problems, but the chances of problems with the calf are bigger.
- How was the calving process (this can be very stressful for a calf)? Again, with problems at that time, more health problems can occur.
- Was the calf exposed to other stressful situations?
- What about contact with older (sick) calves or not well cleaned and disinfected housing?
These are all circumstances that have the potential of a calf developing scours. So these are the calves you have to keep an eye on.
A healthy calf is:
- During feeding time standing up immediately.
- Always willing to have more milk.
- Having a good suckling reflex.
- Seeks contact with other calves or you after finishing their milk in order to satisfy their suckling need.
If one of these features is absent, there can be something wrong with the calf. The early symptoms are:
- Is a calf lying down more than usual?
- Is a calf lethargic or weak?
- Is it depressed or dull?
- Does it have a very dry, thick manure?
These are all early signs that a calf is developing scours, At that point you have to take action to prevent a worsening of your calf’s condition. What you can do next you can find here.