the strain involved is susceptible to certain antibiotics; this information can help your veterinarian decide whether or not to recommend antibiotic therapy. Treatment can include fluid and electrolyte replacement, administration of probiotics, warmth, and careful use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents for their anti-toxin properties. Unless laboratory work has been performed to diagnose Salmonellosis and determine antibiotic sensitivity, oral antibiotics should NOT be used — they will kill the beneficial intestinal bacteria that compete with Salmonella
organisms and help slow down their multiplication. In very young animals, Salmonella
can cross the intestinal tract and enter the blood stream, causing septicemia; these calves usually die within one or two days.
Several strains of another bacteria called Clostridium perfringens produce potent toxins that can cause a severe diarrheal disease known as enterotoxemia. Types A, B, C, D and/or E may be involved. Affected calves may appear ill suddenly, especially after a change in cows’ feed or change in the weather. Another predisposing factor is handling or any other practice that keeps calves away from their dams for a long period of time; when the pairs are re-united, the calves may consume too much milk all at once. This excess milk in the intestinal tract is an excellent growth media for Clostridium, which proliferates and produces its toxins. Some calves may die before they develop diarrhea; others develop colic, become depressed, and may bloat. On autopsy, the intestines may look purple and contain hemorrhages. Laboratory tests can identify the toxin involved. Again, a vaccine is available to help prevent scours due to this agent. An anti- toxin is available and can be used to save calves during an outbreak of enterotoxemia.
Campylobacter jejuni can cause a mild to moderate diarrhea that is often thick and contains mucous and/or blood. This agent is spread through the fecal-oral route, often via contaminated water, food, or milk. Contamination can be spread by birds, rodents, flies, feet, buckets, shovels, tires, and so on. Diagnosis of Campylobacteriosis is through blood work to test for antibodies or by fecal stain or culture. Treatment with antibiotics should be based on the results of sensitivity testing performed in a laboratory.
The three main viral causes of scours are Rotavirus, Coronavirus and Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). They can cause severe diarrhea themselves or in concert with secondary bacterial invaders such as those already mentioned.
Rotavirus usually affects calves less than two weeks old, but can be a problem beyond this age, especially the first time it