Diarrhea: a common problem, but there are plenty of solutions

Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria (E. coli, salmonella), viruses (rota, corona) or parasites (cryptosporidia, coccidia). Rota and corona infections, which generally occur during the first month of life, can in turn lead to parasitic disorders such as cryptosporidia. Feeding errors and insufficient hygiene can also cause diarrhea. Diarrhea results in discomfort and retarded growth in calves. In the worst case scenario, it can even result in death.

Colostrum plays a key role in tackling diarrhea.

Correctly providing each calf with good-quality colostrum allows the animal to build up immunity, which is a key tool in preventing diarrhea.

Dry period

If diarrhea regularly recurs on your farm, it is advisable to carefully analyse the dry period. It is during this period that the foundations are laid for a healthy start for the calf. Feed for healthy pregnant cows has a huge influence on the health of the young calf. If the rations are not in good order during the dry period, then the calf will have lower resistance, and the colostrum is often of poorer quality. As a result, the calf receives insufficient antibodies, thereby increasing the risk of diarrhea.

In an ideal dry period, the cow maintains her dry matter intake right up to calving day. That can only be achieved if the cow has access to tasty rations, 24 hours a day. The raw protein content of the rations and the amount of minerals and vitamins also influence the quality of the colostrum.