The Record’s Ag Report
The mid-April winter storm generated some calls to Dr. Sheldon Malmedal of Linton Veterinary Service regarding a few sick calves.
“We had a few phone calls, and I heard some farmers did lose a few newborn calves,” Malmedal said. “One farmer had calves that were buried in the snow, and I heard one guy may have lost nearly 10 calves.”
Malmedal said the calls he received were seven to 10 days after the storm.
“Baby calves can actually take inclement weather pretty well, but they can only handle so much stress, and then sickness sets in,” he said.
With the accumulation of snow in mid-April, it was more than some of those newborn calves could tolerate. That, Malmedal said, is what causes too much stress for calves.
Although Malmedal did not have reports on pneumonia, he did provide advice and medications for treating the scours.
“The scours cases were ‘simple scours,’ so we recommend treating that by replacing fluids as the calf is very dehydrated, and then also prescribed antibiotics, normally oral products,” he said.
If the report made by the farmer would have given him an indication that it was more severe, such as “toxic scours,” then Malmedal would have taken other necessary measures.
Calves that develop scours and are excessively stressed because of the scours can develop a secondary pneumonia which complicates the picture and can be hard to treat. Malmedal emphasized how important it is to protect livestock against scours.
“There are several scour vaccines available, and vaccines often are given to the cow prior to her giving birth,” Malmedal said.
Proper procedures for controlling the spread of scours are equally important.
“Keeping a clean environment for those livestock is so important,” he said. “Messy corrals and barns are just not good, nor healthy.”
“During the cold weather, calves get hypothermic, so it is good to bring the newborn calves inside and heat them up,” he recommended.
For farmers who have a consistent problem each year with scours in their herd, he advises the feces or dead calf be sent to a lab to determine what type of vaccine could be recommended to control that specific type of scours.
Malmedal said the calls have slowed down, and although the moisture was great for the land, the farmers having livestock would have been much happier with a rain.