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Electrolyte Use

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By Kelly Hubert, B.S.

Electrolytes are an important tool to use when supporting scouring and dehydrated calves. Scours are the leading cause of death in young calves, primarily because scours cause calves to rapidly dehydrate. It is important to monitor calves daily and treat them quickly when needed.  A calf needs to receive 10% of its body weight in fluids each day for maintenance, while a growing calf will require even more1. Scouring calves need the calories from milk feedings as well as the extra fluids and nutrition that electrolytes provide. Electrolytes should be fed between the normal milk feedings. Mixing milk and electrolytes together interferes with the clotting mechanism of the milk and is not recommended1. It is best to start with a higher feeding rate of electrolytes and reduce it as the calf’s condition improves. If a calf is not drinking on its own, the use of an esophageal feeder may be required.

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Give Your Beef Calves A Strong Start

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By Erik Brettingen, B.S.

The stress caused by weaning decreases a calf’s immune function and makes them more vulnerable to disease. For many years it has been common practice to give medicated feeds, pellets, or additives around the time of weaning to decrease the incidence of disease. Treating with these medicated feeds can be expensive, counterproductive to rumen function, and now requires a veterinary prescription due to the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD). Crystal Creek® formulates products that have natural ingredients proven to support calves during the stress of weaning and do not require the need for a VFD. Crystal Pellets and Heifer Pride are two products that can help give your beef calves a strong start.

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Ask The Vet / Ask The Nutritionist

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We provide our calves with a clean maternity pen to be born in, good quality colostrum at birth and a sound nutrition program as they grow but we still have outbreaks of scours.  We work hard to keep our calf pens clean and have developed a good vaccination program with our veterinarian. What are we missing?”

-Wondering from Minnesota

Congratulations on providing your calves with a healthy start to their lives. The three most common areas for exposure of newborn calves to harmful pathogens are 1) the maternity pen, 2) the calf hutch/housing and 3) feeding utensils, bottles and pails. Read More →

Providing A Clean Environment=Healthier Calves And Increased Profit

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Lorrie

By Lorrie Meister, CVT
Livestock Specialist

A clean environment is essential to successful calf raising. Housing, air quality and cleanliness of the surfaces the calf comes into contact with (hutches, panels, bottles, pails, feeders, etc.) all play a role in raising a healthy, robust animal. Many producers fall into habits of using certain products, or practices, to clean and disinfect surfaces because they have never considered, or have not taken the time to look for a better alternative.

For many years, bleach has been the most commonly used disinfectant on livestock operations.  While bleach is effective in some ways, it has several major downfalls. Cryptosporidium and giardia are two common pathogens that bleach will not control. A common misconception when cleaning facilities is if it looks clean, it is clean. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Studies of bacterial loads in dairy farm environments have shown that only 10% of bacteria present is free floating. That leaves the remaining 90% of bacteria attached to surfaces or trapped in biofilms.1 Biofilms are a group of microorganisms which stick to each other and adhere to a surface. This representation of bacterial distribution proves how important the steps of sanitation (past the removal of gross debris) are in our cleaning protocols. Finding a disinfecting agent that can provide a broad spectrum of protection for your animals can be a challenge. Some agents work well in certain settings but not others. New studies have shown that chlorine dioxide is the best choice for on-farm sanitizing applications.

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Preventing Scours Is Cheaper Than Treating Them

Click here to view as a pdf:  Preventing Scours Is Cheaper Than Treating Them

DrRyan

By Ryan Leiterman, D.V.M.

Calf scours have been around as long as we have had domesticated cattle and yet they continue to plague the dairy industry. When it comes to getting serious about preventing calf scours, there are four main areas to consider. They are 1) maternity pen cleanliness 2) colostrum management and dry cow vaccination 3) monitoring total solids concentration and temperature of milk or milk replacer and 4) using an intestinal stabilizer such as Calf Shield® to support the GI health of the calf.

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