Common Calfhood Diseases

Diarrhea causing pathogens tend to strike at different ages, therefore, the age at which diarrhea strikes provides a clue as to what disease we are dealing with. The chart below indicates what pathogen is likely to present itself in preweaned calves. By determining the likely pathogen, the correct course of intervention can be utilized. If diarrhea persists, contact your veterinarian for assistance. If diarrhea appears to be a chronic issue at your facility, speak with your veterinarian or nutritionist about preventative methods to consider.


Disease Transmission

Pathogens are typically transmitted through five routes in young calves: Fecal/Oral, Fecal/Navel, Milk, Nasal/Saliva, and In Utero. Below is as table laying out transmission routes for various diseases.


To prevent disease transmission via fecal/oral or fecal/navel routes ensure calves are born in a clean pen free from manure. Remove the calf from the dam quickly after birth and dip its navel to disinfect it and prevent pathogens from entering through this vulnerable site. Remember that the umbilical stump is an opening straight into the calf’s circulation making it a prime entry point for disease. Do not feed milk from dams infected with any of the diseases that can be transmitted through milk. If these diseases are an issue in your operation consider ending the cycle of infection by feeding colostrum replacer and milk replacer in place of whole milk.

During outbreaks of disease where calves are struggling with diarrhea, Famo Feeds recommends feeding electrolytes to maintain hydration. For extreme dehydration, contact your veterinarian for further assistance. Calves can rapidly become dehydrated and should be monitored closely when disease strikes.

Need more information or looking for help?
Contact:
Katie Johnson
Famo Feeds Calf & Heifer Specialist
(715) 279-1252
kjohnson@famofeeds.com

Famo Feeds • 446 Industrial Dr • Freeport, MN  • 800-450-2145