There are several infections that can cause diarrhoea in calves, with the most common being parasitic or viral infections, according to Ingrid Lorenz from AHI.

She says that any calves housed in groups that begin to scour should be removed from the group immediately, as they will shed infectious agents among healthy calves.

“The most important treatment measure for calves with scour is that everything that they lose additionally has to be fed into them additionally,” Ingrid says.

For an average Holstein calf, this is around four litres of fluids each day. Ingrid recommends feeding two litres of electrolyte solutions twice a day to make up for these losses.

She points out that feeding milk while a calf is scouring does not prolong the period of sickness, while withdrawal of milk ultimately causes starvation, which weakens the immune system further.

Ingrid says that milk should be drank voluntarily by the calf and not stomach-tubed, as it can damage the rumen wall. However, electrolyte solutions can be stomach-tubed into scouring calves. If calves repeatedly refuse to drink milk, she recommends farmers contact their vet.

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Avoiding scour in calves