How To Naturally Treat and prevent Scours in Calves

Learn how to identify scours, its causes, and all natural treatments for your calves.

Posted by Brooke Loeffler on Feb 13, 2024 10:46:57 AM

What is Scours?

Signs and Symptoms

Even mild cases of diarrhea in calves is a cause for concern. Immediately following birth, watch for these signs so you can take action right away:
  • Watery stool that is typically brown, yellow, green, grey, or sometimes rusty in color
  • Blood in stool
  • Lethargy, weakness, inability to stand or walk properly
  • Inability or no desire to nurse
  • Sunken tissues around eyes (due to dehydration)
  • Overly bony around hips, ribs, and shoulders as they lose body fat

Natural Scours Treatment and Prevention

Scours can be caused by a wide range of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. While the exact culprits may vary, the results are typically the same.

3 main problems caused by scours

Effective scours treatments address 3 main problems of the disease to prevent death:

When scours strike, fluids and nutrients are passing through the calves’ body too quickly for proper absorption into the blood. This rapid flow also strips their digestive system of the healthy microbes needed for proper digestion.

Keep On Feeding

It is critical to continue regular milk or milk replacement feedings for calves afflicted with scours. If the calf is having difficulty standing, offer bottles. If they struggle with suckling, try esophageal feeders or even intravenous feedings with the assistance of your veterinarian. Make sure you follow manufacturer’s instructions on mixing ratios and storage temperatures. Get all hands on deck to keep those feedings coming!

Fluid Therapy

For scours, calves will need more than just milk to correct the 3 problems listed earlier. They will need additional liquid supplements, along with continued milk feedings. According to Michigan State University Extension fluid therapy “corrects dehydration, restores normal acid-base balance, and replaces salts in the calf’s bodily fluids.” Ideally, fluid therapy treatments should contain:

  • Alkaline/base ingredients to correct acidosis and balance pH levels
  • Electrolytes/salts (electrolytes power the tiny electrical impulses needed for muscle, central nervous, and circulatory function)
  • Gut protectants that guard the digestive lining, slow digestion, and bind to harmful toxins so they can be excreted instead of absorbed
  • Probiotics supplements to replace and grow healthy gut microbes that are killed off by scours

Bottle feeding a calf

Improve Calf Environment / Prevent reinfection

Scours are extremely contagious and their range of harmful pathogens can be passed easily between calves, other animals, and humans alike. Even while you are treating calves for scours, they can be re-infected and infect others if they are in an unclean environment. Improve your biosecurity with the following steps:

  • Separate infected animals as much as possible.
  • Replace bedding often.
  • Clean and disinfect pens/stalls as you move animals around.
  • Make sure all humans milking and feeding wash hands frequently and disinfect equipment between uses.
  • Store all milk and replacement mixtures in the recommended temperature ranges.

Other Protective Care

Here are a few other tips that can help your animals divert all their energy towards healing.

  • Protect affected calves from inclement weather (especially temperature extremes).
  • Limit them to smaller enclosures so they are encouraged to rest and don’t have to go far for their next feeding/treatment.
  • Separate them from other animals (not just for cleanliness, but to ensure they do not get injured if they are lying down/recovering).

Natural Scours Treatment from Redmond

Even after over 50 years, Redmond is always looking for new ways to support our hard working farmers. We are happy to offer a wonderful new product, Redmond First Month Immune Stimulator. First Month is an effective immune stimulator containing a nourishing blend of ingredients that are perfect for naturally treating scours:

Naturally Treat Scours in Calves

  • Redmond mineral conditioner (bentonite clay with electrolytes and 60+ minerals) to correct acidosis, replenish electrolytes, balance pH levels, bind to harmful toxins, protect gut lining, slow digestion speed, and increase nutrient absorption
  • Probiotics to replace stripped microbiota in the digestive tract
  • MOS (mannan-oligosaccharides) yeast derivatives that feeds healthy gut microbiota and prevents harmful pathogen colonization

Customers have found that First Month increases mineral and IgG (immunoglobulin) levels in the blood and reduces calf mortality rates; they already love the results they are seeing:

"I had been losing almost every calf within 3 days of life.  My Redmond rep got me a small pouch of Redmond First Month. I started feeding it in the colostrum. My next 2 heifer calves are doing great. I will not raise calves without this product.” -Paul H. Pennsylvania

Give us a call today at 866-709-3192 so we can help you protect your next generation of calves!

© 2021 Redmond Minerals Inc.

Topics: How to naturally treat scours

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