(Dr. Dan) Hey there, folks. Welcome to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’m sure glad that you joined us. We have a great show today. Dr. Emily Reppert from the Veterinary Health Center at K-State University College of Veterinary Medicine will be my guest. We’re going to talk about calf scours and how to prevent them. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.
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(Dr. Dan) Emily, welcome to the show. (Emily) Thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here. (Dan) Folks, this is Dr. Emily Reppert she is a DVM and she is an Assistant Professor here at the Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University. And we’re going to talk about calf scours. (Emily) Yep. (Dan) And you’re down in the clinic, you’re teaching students, seeing cases, so far so good? (Emily) Yes. It’s going very well. Kansas has been good to me. (Dan) We’re lucky to have you here for a faculty and lucky to have you here on the show. Well let’s talk about calf scours. As we were preparing for the show we were talking about different things that cause calf scours. So what are some of the big buckets that you put it in and then we’ll get into those buckets and talk about those different pathogens. (Emily) Sure. When we’re teaching student and talking with clients and working with other veterinarians there are really four big categories that we can break diarrhea down into. So first one, there is a handful of different bacterial organisms that can cause calf scours. there’s also some viruses that are responsible for causing diarrhea and then also some parasites. And then finally one that I think we oftentimes miss and that is the nutritional category associated with milk replacers, oral re-hydration therapy and that sort of thing. (Dan) Sure. So what are your common bacteria that would cause these types of issues like calf scours? (Emily) So I would say the most common bacterial organisms that we see with diarrhea in young calves is E.coli. Another one that’s not as common but we also see is salmonella. And those probably are the two big bacterial organisms, and then every once in a while clostridial bacteria. (Dan) Right, and then on the viral side we have a couple of… (Emily) …a couple of heavy hitters, certainly rotavirus and coronavirus would be up high on my list. I think BVD as well, but far and away the more common in young calves would be roto and coronavirus. (Dan) OK, and then we’re going to move into the parasitics. I think for most people the E.coli, the salmonella, the rotos, the coronas, most people have pretty well heard of those, but maybe some of these others like the parasites are not as common. (Emily) Sure. And I think probably our dairy population of people out there are maybe more familiar with these organisms. Cryptosporidium, that’s a fairly common one in that production system. And certainly coccidia would be another one that we see. (Dan) Let’s move into the nutritional component because that one kind of, we seem to be a bug – drug – disease community but what are some of the nutritional components that you see with diarrhea? (Emily) I think probably the most common time that we see it is associated with over feeding of milk replacer, oftentimes associated with bottle babies that are either being feed too much milk or being fed milk replacement that has been inappropriately reconstituted at a higher concentration than it needs to be. (Dan) Gotcha. (Emily) So those are the two times we see a nutritional type of diarrhea. (Dan) You did a great ob of setting us up for the rest of the show. We’re glad that you’re here. Glad that you’re watching DocTalk. When we come back we’re going to talk more about prevention of calf scours with Dr. Emily Reppert. We’re sure glad you joined us.
(Dan) Folks welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Emily Reppert from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine where she is an Assistant Professor in the Ag Practices section at the Veterinary Health Center, so many different breakdowns of where you’re located. In other words, she’s on the clinic teaching our students, she’s working with clients, she’s seeing cases, she’s a real veterinarian and we’re tickled to death to have her here on the show. You know, as we move through this calf scours, and working with the situation, what are some of the things in general, just kind of go through some of the classic situations as far as timing and clinical signs and things like that that we might see if we’re going to have this problem on our farm. (Emily) Sure. One way that we teach the different organisms that can cause diarrhea, is by when they typically occur. When we’re talking about our bacterial organisms, certainly E.coli associated diarrhea, is typically going to be the organism that we most commonly see in calves at one up to maybe three days of age. I think it’s important to realize that oftentimes it’s not just one organism that is causing the diarrhea. Sometimes they can have the bacteria and a virus infecting them at the same time which can complicate the situation. Wen we’re talking about our viral causes, the roto and corona viruses, those we’re going to typically see within the first one to two weeks of age. And then in the classic situation our parasitic causes, usually we see those in older animals, at three months. With coccid, usually that’s associated with calves that are at the time of weaning or even at transport to the feedlot, that sort of thing. The clinical signs that we often see with young calves is diarrhea during the first week of age. Depending upon the organism there may or may not be some blood associated with it. but oftentimes it’s that yellow, watery diarrhea and depending upon how long they’ve had the diarrhea, they may or may not be depressed, they may lose their suckle, may not want to keep up with the dam, that sort of thing. But those are the big things that we see. (Dan) What are some of the more dangerous things associated with this? I’m assuming dehydration, and that is something that septicemia and dehydration are two things that are very dangerous to the calf. (Emily) Yes. So probably our biggest concern initially is going to be dehydration, especially if the diarrhea is very watery and large volumes. Dehydration is definitely an issue and that would need to be addressed. On top of that is, any time you have diarrhea associated with inflammation of the GI tract, that sets up a perfect scenario for bacteria to get into the blood and potentially effect other parts of the animal, whether that be to go on to have a navel infection, a joint infection, that sort of thing. (Dan) Cool. Well, let’s take a break. We’ve got bacteria up front, viruses in the middle and parasites towards the end, different clinical signs and get on it as soon as possible. We’re going to take a break folks and when we come back more with Dr. Emily Reppert on preventing calf scours.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson here with Dr. Emily Reppert where she is a veterinarian at the Veterinary Health Center in the Ag Practices section here at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and we’re talking about calf scours. We’re going to jump right in to prevention. Emily, when we talk about prevention the first thing that pops into your mind is that colostrum, right? (Emily) Right. Absolutely. That’s critical to neonatal calf health, making sure that they have adequate passive transfer. (Dan) So colostrum is that first milking, not the second milking, not the third milking, because you have a complete drop off after that. The first milking, as far as the immunoglobulins and the immune tests, but how do I select which animal, if I’m going to get colostrum to freeze on the farm, which animals are going to be selecting? (Emily) We know that heifers cannot produce as large a volume and typically lower quality colostrum than an adult animal and so if we were going to have a colostrum bank we would want it to be colostrum from cows that we know produce a high volume, so our older animals in the herd, ones that have been well vaccinated which I think we’ll touch on in a minute, and then also I think it’s important if we have the capability, to pasteurize that colostrum so that we’re not freezing and then feeding bugs to our babies. So I think all adult animals would be the ones that we’d be targeting for our colostrum bank. (Dan) Cool. And as far as colostrum and when you feed it, what’s the recommendation on how soon or how long can you still add colostrum, when do we want to get to that cow? (Emily) Sure. The calf needs to for maximum absorption of all the good stuff that comes with the colostrum, they need to receive that within the first 24 hours. And we like to see them get 20 percent of their body weight in colostrum, total volume over that 24 hour period. (Dan) So 20 percent, s a 100 pound calf would get 20 pounds. (Emily) Yes. (Dan) So, 8 pounds? A little under three gallons for a 100 pound calf. Good. So get the colostrum from an adult animal, get it in the calf as soon as possible, and 20 percent of its body weight over 24 hours. That’s pretty good information of our viewers. When we start talking about colostrum, one of the things you know, hyper-immunizing cows, or just immunizing cows, are there things we can vaccinate for in the dam before she gives birth, for the calves that are going to suckle or for calves we’re going to have the colostrum bank for? (Emily) Absolutely. And one of those things would be for some of these viral organisms associated with calf scours. There are a handful of the different vaccines that are labelled just for that purpose. That would be a great way to interact with your local veterinarian to work out a vaccination schedule, but definitely, especially for the viral organisms. (Dan) The roto and corona viruses. (Emily) That would be something that I would, in some herds, it’s very helpful. (Dan) Cool. And I know some of the dairy herds are using some of the salmonella vaccines and some of the E.coli, but salmonella can also be something that’s septic in adult cattle as well. Well let’s take a break and when we come back we’re going to finish up with prevention of calf scours with Dr. Emily Reppert. thanks for joining us.
(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here with my guest Dr. Emily Reppert who’s a DVM and an Assistant Professor in the clinical sciences department at the Veterinary Health Center at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and we’ve been talking about calf scours prevention. And one of the things we talked about during the break is we talk about vaccinating the dams but actually maybe in the face of an outbreak vaccinating some of the calves with those viral vaccines can stimulate some immune response as well. (Emily) The idea being sort of a local immune response within the GI tract itself and so again that would be something you would want to work with your local veterinarian on, because those vaccines have to be administered prior to administration of colostrum in some instances but if you have a known problem on your herd with one of those viral organisms that would be something to look into for sure. (Dan) Cool. Well let’s talk about environment. We talked about the calf, we talked about the colostrum, we’ve talked about the vaccination and priming the immune system, but you know that biosecurity, or that disease pattern: host, environment, pathogen, we really need to talk about environment. (Emily) Yes, all the prevention in the world is not going to do us anything of we’re putting calves into a really contaminated area. And so certainly I think separation of different ages of calves, and certainly calves from heifers and calves from cows. If you have a geographic space, I think its good to try to keep the age groups together, so we don’t have day old calves commingling with two week old calves, that sort of thing. The other thing I think sometimes we don’t think about necessarily would be we think we have adequate pasture space for cows and calves but it seems like a lot of times we’ll have everybody kind of congregating around where they feed or where they water, so making sure that we move our hay bales or that sort of thing. (Dan) Having all the space in the world is one thing, but if you keep putting the feed and the water in one spot, specifically the hay bale. (Emily) Yes. (Dan) Dry, keeping those calves dry, keeping them warm, very important, I assume. (Emily) And making sure they have access to all the clean, fresh water they want is also really important. (Dan) Cool. And then let’s wrap up because we have just a little bit of time here, but these pathogens can cause disease in humans. (Emily) Absolutely, especially when we’re bringing those calves inside to warm them up, certainly salmonella, crypto, all of those can be zoonotic, so trying to do appropriate biosecurity ourselves making sure we wash our hands, all of those sorts of things. (Dan) And keep young children and pregnant females and people that can be immunosuppressed away. Well thanks so much for being on our show. (Emily) Thanks for having me. (Dan) It was great to have you, folks, Dr. Emily Reppert. thank you for watching DocTalk. Remember always work with your local veterinarian. And if you want to find out more about what Dr. Reppert and I do here at K-State, you can find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. You’ve been watching DocTalk today and we’re sure glad you joined us. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and I’ll see you down the road.
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