Recurrent Diarhea

Corinne

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Hello! I’m new to BYH and in need of a little advice. Typically I would opt straight for veterinary care vs “Dr. Goggling” but this hopefully is somewhat simple. First and foremost Regina (1.5 week old Brangus calf) is doing well for the most part. She is acting like a normal spunky little lady. Her appetite is great, she drinks water well on her own and every day we make more progress with calf starter... she is starting to graze a bit now as well. Since she was born she is having recurrent diarrhea that I’ve been monitoring very carefully. I first thought it was the colostrum supplement and then switching her to milk replacer but her feeding and schedule has been the same for about 7 days or so now. It’s intermittent and it seems every other bowel movement is VERY runny. I give her a dose of Probios probably every other day and it seems to help some, but then we just jump back to this runny stool. What would you all suggest my next step be? I was reading about scours pills (terramycin) but I’d prefer to not use anything and let it run it’s course if this is somewhat normal. She is my first bottle baby.
 

farmerjan

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Several questions. Where did she come from? Private owner, sale barn ????? Do you know if she got colostrum or just what you were giving her?

It could very well be coccidiosis as that will cause most scours in the 1-4 week time frame. It is supposed to be species specific; that said, I only have that problem when I keep calves at a barn where there were turkeys about 5+ years ago. And poultry are known to carry coccidiosis and often not have problems. Is there any blood in it?
How much water is she drinking? Honestly if she is drinking much water, she may just be getting more "liquid" than she needs right now. Plus, if it water that is from a spring or any type of access to water that is at all connected to run-off, or a stream or creek, there could be something in the water that is causing it. Even well water can cause some upset in very young calves if it has alot of limestone, or iron or sulfur or anything like that.
At 1.5 weeks, I think that she doesn't need so much of the water or calf starter. I never push mine to even try it before 2-4 weeks and usually they start it on their own from curiosity. If she were on her dam, she would be mouthing a little grass or hay but not getting any nutrition from it for a couple of months. Milk is what babies are designed to get a good start on. I realize milk replacer is expensive, but it is still the first best food for them; for a couple of months. That is why I just do not see the pushing them to get into "feed" before about 3-4 weeks. Getting them weaned by 8 weeks is what most shoot for, I like to wait to 10-12 weeks as they just seem to do better. If you are a top notch manager, like some on the dairy farms, you can get them weaned at 6-8 weeks. But you are putting in alot more expensive high quality feed to keep them on a "growing curve".

One other thing. Is the milk replacer - ALL MILK??? If there is a SOY base to it, that is most likely a big part of the problem. Calves do not digest any soy based milk replacers well. They might survive, but they will not thrive. If it says milk protein, whey , or anything like that it's okay. If it says anything with soy, it is not. And it should be a 20/20 protein/fat base. They do not need the 24% protein with only 16% fat. That is usually a soy based formula. You can get an all milk based replacer, and when the calf gets up to 6-7 weeks, use it half with the soy based to use up the soy if you don't want to waste it, which is what I have told many people in the past because it is very costly. By then, their gut tract can handle some other things and will not have the negative impact that it will as a new baby.
 

farmerjan

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I do not like to treat with antibiotics if I can get around it. For coccidiosis, I use Corid which comes in both liquid and powder. It is an "antibiotic" , but is available over the counter. You can add it to her bottle to drink. It basically only will affect the coccidiosis issue.
I prefer to use the anti-scour boluses (pills) only if I can't get it to clear up in a week or so, providing everything else looks okay.
Also, are you mixing the milk replacer at the proper strength? Sometimes people do not always use enough replacer in the bottle mix. Calves do need enough liquid so that they do not dehydrate, but they don't need to be "floating" with too much liquid" in their stomachs that has no food value in it either. Just a thought.
 

Corinne

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I appreciate your response!

Calf came from a private owner, herd has been established for well over 15 years and all are properly cared for as they belong to a large animal veterinarian.

She received a colostrum supplement. I was with her from birth and she was never allowed to nurse. Mom had just ruptured her stifle and could not stand/take care of herself so we had to induce labor in order to save the calf and unfortunately euthanize momma. :(

I do have chickens but everyone is treated regularly for coccidia... that being said my neighbor may not treat his chickens so it’s hard for me to say.

The water is from a water pail. I make sure it’s fresh and change it daily for now. She isn’t drinking an obscene amount but I do notice her at the pail often, sometimes I believe she is just playing in the water though. I keep and eye on water levels when I change it. No other animals have access to that water source.

Milk replacer is being mixed at the appropriate ratio however, it was recommended that I get the soy-based medicated milk replacer so that is what’s she has been on. I wonder if this is the problem. Do you have any recommendation/preference on replacer? I see a lot of above average reviews for Manna-Pro or Sav-A-Caf.
 

WyndSyrin

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What I use for milk replacer is a medicated one that has medication in it for coccidosis. I would have to ask a few questions
1. how much are you feeding? (ie 2 full bottles a day etc)
2. what color is her runny stool

I would not let the runny stool run its course because it could turn into scours if you are not careful, then you have a whole different set of issues.
Completely unrelated to this issue I would highly recommend that you find a way to give this little calf a companion of some kind, preferably another calf
 

farmerjan

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If the calf never received colostrum from the dam, and you did not milk any out of her, then colostrum "SUPPLEMENT" was not enough and the vet should have realized that. She should have gotten colostrum "REPLACER", there is a big difference in some of the "antibodies" . I would say that is the biggest part of the problem. The replacer is about $30-40 a bag or more, the supplement is alot cheaper.
That said, it is too late to change it now. I would keep up the probiotics, but do it on a daily basis for about a week. Also, there is something called first response, that might do you some good. It is used by alot of beef farmers that have calves with possible immune response problems. It is made for newborns. I have not used it so can't say by experience.

I will not use soy based milk replacer. Period. If you have any questions on that , try going on a forum called Cattle Today. Go to the Q & E and do a search for milk replacer. You will find a DOZEN different people who also say ONLY MILK BASED milk replacer. TC RANCH is a big proponenet of the first response for calves. As I said above, they will survive, but they will not thrive.
I have raised calves for years, both on bottles and on nurse cows. There is always something that can throw them off. I only use all milk , milk replacer. And the several dairy farmers that I test ( I am a Dairy Herd Improvement Assoc milk tester of 28 years) especially those that have registered calves, will tell you the same.
I think that if you get all milk replacer, you will see a difference. Everything else that you are doing sounds great and it sounds like you are being very pro-active.
I use the "house brand" that our feed store carries because it is an all milk, milk replacer. They will not carry any other kind. I do know that Land-o-Lakes makes one that I used years ago. It should say 20/20 protein/fat. They do not need a higher protein, and the fat is necessary as a beef cow will have a fat of 5-8% in her milk, as opposed to an average dairy cow will be in the 3.5%. That is why beef calves get "fat and sassy" looking. They are eating what they want, as often as they want, off momma, and they are getting the extra fat in the milk that helps them to grow and gain weight quicker and deal with more diverse conditions.

All other things you have listed sound fine and I think that she should be doing fine. I really think that not getting the colostrum replacer and now getting the soy based milk replacer are her 2 biggest hurdles.

Good luck, keep us up to date.
 

greybeard

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however, it was recommended that I get the soy-based medicated milk replacer so that is what’s she has been on.
recommended by whom?
I don't think I have ever heard of soy being recommended in the last 15-20 years. It generally causes more problems than it solves in calves.
 

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