Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Neonatal diarrhea: infectious causes

Synonym(s): Calf scour

Contributor(s): Tim Potter, Mike Reynolds

Introduction

  • Neonatal enteritis is the most common cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality and remains one of the biggest health and welfare issues for youngstock. It accounts for significant financial losses on both beef and dairy enterprises.
  • In the US, neonatal enteric disease has been associated with approximately 50% of the mortality observed in pre-weaned dairy heifer calves, and enteric pathogens have been implicated in the death of 25% of the annual calf crop.
  • Diarrhea can result from several different infectious and non-infectious causes and in the absence of diagnostic testing it is not possible to predict the specific cause based on clinical presentation alone. Accurate diagnosis is often further hampered by the fact that many outbreaks are caused by multiple pathogens.
  • There are various cow-side ELISA test kits available globally which can assist with diagnosis, but these have varying degrees of sensitivity and specificity and so although a useful adjunct to diagnosis, do not obviate the need for a thorough work up of cases.
  • This article focuses on neonatal diarrhea cause by infectious agents.

Types of diarrhea

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Causes of diarrhea

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Clinical investigation

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Lorenz I (2004) Investigations on the influence of serum D-lactate levels on clinical signs in calves with metabolic acidosis. Vet J 168 (3), 323-327 PubMed.
  • Barrington G M, Gay J M & Everett J E (2002) Biosecurity for neonatal gastrointestinal diseases. Vet Clin Food Anim 18 (1), 7–34 PubMed.
  • Lofstedt J, Dohoo I R & Duizer G (1999) Model to predict septicaemia in diarrheic calves. J Vet Intern Med 13 (2), 81-88 PubMed.
  • Fecteau G, Van Metre D C, Pare J et al (1997) Bacteriological culture of blood from critically ill neonatal calves. Can Vet J 38 (2), 95-100 PubMed.
  • Garthwaite B D, Drackley J K, McCoy G C et al (1994) Whole milk and oral rehydration solution for calves with diarrhea of spontaneous origin. J Dairy Sci 77 (3), 835-843 PubMed.
  • Fettman M J, Brooks P A, Burrows K P et al (1986) Evaluation of commercial oral replacement formulas in healthy neonatal calves. JAVMA 188 (4), 397-401 PubMed.

Other sources of information


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