Group Title: Circular ;
Title: Calf scours /
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: Calf scours /
Series Title: Circular ;
Physical Description: 1 folded sheet : ill. ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Plummer, Charles B
University of Florida -- Agricultural Extension Service
Publisher: University of Florida, Agricultural Extension Service
Place of Publication: Gainesville
Publication Date: 1964
Copyright Date: 1964
Subject: Scours   ( lcsh )
Calves -- Infections   ( lcsh )
Calves -- Diseases   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: Chas. B. Plummer, Jr.
General Note: "December 1964."
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00102061
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 80276580

Full Text
Circular 273

Calf Scours




Pneumonia Complex
Calf scours is a serious disease of young
calves that is frequently corniplicatedl with
pneumonia. Other names for the disease are
calf diarrhea, white scours, septicemia, and
Calves ufider 10 days of age are most
often rt'tvrtld, although older calves may
have scours. Deaths from calf scours may
be as low as 1 to 2 percent the first year
the disease is present, but up to 75 percent
or higher where the disease is established
on the premises. Calves that recover are
generally unthrifty and stunted.

Causes for calf scours may be infecti-
ous or non-infectious. Non-infectious scours
may be caused by improper feeding, mineral
and vitamin deficiencies and other conditions
that lower the animal's resistance, such as
dampness, chilling, drafts, etc.
Frequently, non-infectious scours become
complicated with infections causing severe
losses. There are more than a dozen bacteria
and viruses that may cause or complicate
scours and pneumonia. It is not uncommon
to have a combination of infections, espe-
cially if the calves have been subjected to
lack of colostrum, over-feeding, under-
feeding, faulty diet, poor sanitation, over-
crowding, poor ventilation, or too little or
too much heat.

Spreading of the Disease
Calves contract scours by direct contact
with diseased animals or from contact with
contaminated materials. Infection may be
spread mechanically by insects and other
animals. Apparently, normal adult animals
may harbor organisms capable of causing
scours. Surviving calves may harbor and
spread the disease for a long time. Feed
i..i1. nipples, water-buckets, bedding, soil

and other objects contaminated with the
nasal secretion, breath, urine, or manure of
infected animals can spread the infection.
Frequently, the disease causing organisms
are tracked from one pen to another on the
feet of the attendant.
The concentration of infection tends to
build up in barns or ptin. in which the ani-
mals are housed, and the disease becomes
increasingly difficult to control. Unless an
adequate cleansing and disinfection program
is followed, a carry-over of disease may oc-
cur when successive groups of calves are
housed in the same facilities.

The symptoms of the different types of
infectious and non-infectious scours are so
similar that they can seldom be distinguish-
ed. This is also true for pneumonia. Scours
may precede visible signs such as abnormal
temperature, loss of appetite, listlessness,
weakness, coughing and labored breathing.
In acute cases, in which the disease spreads
rapidly through the body, death may occur
suddenly without visible signs of sickness.
In other cases, scours may follow or appear
simultaneously with one or more of the
above symptoms.

Diagnosis of a single case or an outbreak
of scours is difficult, if not impossible, unless
the following steps are taken:

DIET, feeding practices and the quarters
where the calves are kept;

BREAK and previous outbreaks on the farm;

FECTED CALVES, including body tem-
perature, pulse and respiration rate; and

of the blood and organs of any animals that
die to determine the kind of bacteria or virus
causing the infection.

Prevention is the best method of com-
bating calf scours.
Drugs, such as rumen cultures, antibiotics
and other bacteriostatic agents, used as a
sole means of controlling calf scours are
inadequate and costly. They may be bene-
ficial in reducing losses and salvaging
diseased animals, but, they do not remove
the infective agent from the premises. Also,
they have no direct action on most viruses,
and they will not correct mineral, vitamin,
and nutritional deficiencies that exist before
or occur after animals become infected.
Drugs cannot be expected to eliminate the
debilitating effects characterized by loss of
weight, unthriftiness and stunting of calves
infected with scours and pneumonia.
Prevention should start before the calf is
born. Calves born to cows in a state of
nutritional deficiency or disease are unlikely
to survive. Diseased cows and their calves
may be a source of infection to susceptible
calves. When the cows are ready to calve,
they should be placed in cleaned separate
stalls or fairly large holding pastures that
have not been heavily grazed in the past few
weeks. Small, continuously used calving lots
almost always have a build-up of organisms
capable of causing scours or pneumonia.
The calf's navel should be disinfected
as soon after birth as possible. The
calf should be fed colostrum for at
least 36 to 48 hours following birth. When
removed from the cow, the calf should be
placed in clean, dry and properly ventilated
quarters. If possible, have a pen for each
calf. If grouped, do not group more than
two calves. Do not mix calves of different
ages or from different sources.

Proper feeding is of utmost importance.
See Florida Agricultural Experiment Sta-
tion Circular S-118, entitled "Rai-ing Dairy
Herd Replacements". Be careful not to over-
feed or underfeed; either can cause trouble,
although overfeeding is more serious. A
regular feeding schedule should be followed.
Good hygiene is essential. Feeding pails,
nipples, etc. should be thoroughly sanitized
after each feeding. Water and feed contain-
ers should be cleaned regularly and im-
mersed in a good antiseptic solution between
feedings. Rats, mice, dogs and cats should
be kept out of calf quarters. Fly control
should also be practiced. See Exti.nsi'in
Circular 240, entitled "The Tail of a Rat and
a Mouse" and Extension Circular 206A, en-
titled "Control of External Parasites of
Livestock in Florida", for suggested control

Treatment is frequently ineffective. Calves
suffering from acute cases of scours and/or
pneumonia seldom can be saved. Some of
those with the milder and chronic forms can
be helped with proper drugs and supportive
treatment. Without an accurate diagnosis
of the causative agents) specific recommen-
dations cannot be given. No single treat-
ment will give uniformly good results. Many
chemotherapeutic agents are helpful, as are
certain serum globulins, immune sera, and
several commercial bacterins. Occasionally,
autogenous bacterins are helpful.
Debilitated animals frequently need saline,
glucose, or electrolyte solutions and other
types of supportive treatment. Treatment
without "knowledge of" or "know how and
when" may prove harmful or fatal. Indis-
criminate use of drt L is seldom helpful or
Treatment should be administered only
after a thorough investigation has been
made to determine the cause. A veterinar-

ian, because he has access to diagnostic fa-
cilities, is the best qualified person to do this.
Strict compliance with his recommendations,
plus good sanitation and prevention prac-
tices will keep losses from calf scours to a

Chas. B. Plummer, Jr., D.V.M.
Extension Veterinarian

NOTE: The author gives credit to various
USDA publications for excerpts.

December 1964

(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida,
Florida State University
and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkins, Director

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