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20. Summary

Short-term treatment and control of scours is often difficult.  Antimicrobials should only be used for scours when an individual calf is showing signs of a systemic infection.  Rehydration is the most effective treatment for scours.

Proper management can go a long way to control scours (clean maternity pens, quality colostrum management, good milk replacer, individual isolated hutches, proper vaccinations, good biosecurity measures, and isolation of new or sick animals).  The quality and quantity of colostrum given within the first 6 hours of birth is crucial to getting calves off to a good start.  Have a high-quality colostrum management program and place the calf in a clean, stress-free environment to reduce the likelihood of them becoming sick and needing antimicrobial treatments.     

By following these guidelines, you will be providing the calves with a clean, low-stress environment and adequate nutrition to fight off opportunistic infections when they occur.



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Keys to preventing scours in calves:
  • Employ an excellent colostrum management program.
  • Cleanliness is essential in maternity pens, hutches and calf stalls.
  • Caretakers must employ proper hygiene to prevent transmission among calves.
  • Provide an adequate level of nutrition in milk replacer and grain.
  • Fresh clean water should always be available.
  • Reduce stress and transmission with a comfortable environment—spacious, dry, clean, and ventilated.
  • Employ consistency in caretaker duties and feeding schedules.
  • Use an appropriate vaccination program for calves.
  • Regulate the traffic flow—very few people need access to the calf-raising area.
    • When examining or caring for calves, reduce transmission of disease agents by moving from young to old and/or from healthy to ill.