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Managing to Prevent Calf Scours: The Sandhills Calving System. David R. Smith 1 Dale Grotelueschen 2 Tim Knott 3 Steve Ensley 1 1 University of Nebraska–Lincoln 2 Pfizer Animal Health 3 Sandhills Veterinary Hospital.

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Managing to Prevent Calf Scours: The Sandhills Calving System


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managing to prevent calf scours the sandhills calving system

Managing to Prevent Calf Scours: The Sandhills Calving System

David R. Smith1

Dale Grotelueschen2

Tim Knott3

Steve Ensley1

1University of Nebraska–Lincoln2Pfizer Animal Health3Sandhills Veterinary Hospital

slide2

Calf Scours:Death loss Performance loss Treatment costsLabor, medicationHuman tollRisk for injury, frustration

therapy
Therapy

Replace fluids, electrolytes, bicarbonate

Treat septicemia

slide4

The faith in “cures” and the practice of dealing with disease problems only after they have arisen... is antagonistic to disease prevention.

Dr. Leunis Van Es

Lincoln, NE

1932

infectious disease triad
Infectious disease triad

Host

Agent

Environment

agents
Agents
  • Bacteria
    • E. coli, Salmonella
  • viruses
    • rotavirus, coronavirus
  • protozoa
    • cryptosporidia
  • fungi
    • mycotic superinfection
concept 1 agents of calf scours
Concept #1Agents of calf scours
  • Diarrhea-causing organisms are widespread in cattle populations
    • including herds without scours problems.
infectious disease triad10
Infectious disease triad

Host

Agent

Environment

slide11

Immunity

Exposure

Time

slide13

Immunity

Antibodies from colostrum

Time

Passive

slide14

Immunity

Active immune response

Antibodies from colostrum

Time

Passive

Acquired

slide15

Immunity

Window of vulnerability

Time

Passive

Acquired

slide16

Immunity

Immunity

Window of vulnerability

Scours

Exposure

Time

slide17

Immunity

Immunity

Scours

Exposure

0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30

Days

concept 2 age specificity of calf scours

Frequency histogram

age of calves at death

25

20

15

Count

10

5

0

5

10

15

20

25

More

0

6

11

16

21

26

Age at death (days)

Concept #2Age specificity of calf scours
  • Calves at highest risk for scours at 1-2 weeks of age

And to begin

shedding

scours agents

slide19

Immunity

Scours

Exposure

Time

slide20

Immunity

Exposure

Time

slide21

Immunity

Scours

Exposure

Time

slide22

Immunity

SCOURS

Exposure

Time

concept 3
Concept #3
  • The level of pathogen exposure is a function of TIME and:
    • ANIMAL DENSITY (crowding -rapid environmental contamination)
    • MULTIPLIER EFFECT
      • Cows carry, shed diarrhea-causing organisms at “low” levels.
      • Calves are exposed, shed at “high” levels, serve as multipliers.
biosecurity pathogen containment
Biosecurity/Pathogen Containment

Host

?

Increase resistance

Prevent effective contacts

X

Agent

Environment

Remove the agent

biosecurity pathogen containment30
Biosecurity / Pathogen Containment
  • Prevent effective contacts -decrease the number of contacts that result in transmission.
  • physical separation: dilution, segregation, quarantine
  • minimize dose-load: prophylactic medicines, sanitation
  • minimize contact-time
prevent effective contacts
Prevent effective contacts

-decrease the contacts that result in transmission.

Ex. calf hutches

slide32

Beef Systems

Can they be modified to reduce effective contacts?

sandhills calf scours project
Sandhills Calf Scours Project

Frequency of births

120

100

  • Prevent contacts
    • Segregate calves by age to prevent the multiplier effect
    • Move pregnant cows to new calving pastures to minimize dose-load and contact time

80

Count

60

40

20

0

5/1

5/8

5/15

5/22

5/29

6/5

6/12

6/19

6/26

7/3

More

5/2

5/9

5/16

5/23

5/30

6/6

6/13

6/20

6/27

7/4

Date

sandhills calf scours project34
Sandhills Calf Scours Project
  • Prevent contacts
    • Segregate calves by age to prevent the multiplier effect
    • Move pregnant cows to new calving pastures to minimize dose-load and contact time

Enough Theory!

Let’s put it

to work...

sandhills calving system week 3
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 3

1-2 week old

Pairs

Calving

Pasture

sandhills calving system week 4
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 4

2-3 week old

pairs

1 week old

pairs

Calving

Pasture

sandhills calving system week 5
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 5

2 week old

pairs

1 week old

pairs

Calving

Pasture

sandhills calving system week 6
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 6

Calving

Pasture

2 week old

pairs

1 week old

pairs

sandhills calving system week 7
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 7

Calving

Pasture

1 week old

pairs

2 week old

pairs

sandhills calving system week 8
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 8

Calving

Pasture

1 week old

pairs

2 week old

pairs

sandhills calving system week 9
Sandhills Calving SystemWeek 9

Calving

Pasture

-Finish out

1 week old

pairs

2 week old

pairs

Groups commingled after youngest calf is 4 weeks of age

case herd 1
Case Herd 1
  • 800-900 March-calving cows
    • paired out from calving lot
  • Mortality due to scours
    • 14% 1995
    • 6.5% 1996
    • 8.2% 1999 (similar losses in ‘97 and ‘98)
  • Treatment expenses $3114 /yr (‘95-’99)

55-120

dead calves

every year

attributed to scours

case herd 144
Case Herd 1
  • Sandhills Calving System in ‘00, ’01, ‘02
  • Greatly reduced morbidity and mortality
    • 4 calves treated for scours (2000)
    • No deaths due to neonatal calf diarrhea (p<0.01)
  • $128.83 /yr in veterinary expenses
    • a 24-fold reduction (p<0.01)
case herd 145
Case Herd 1
  • Owner estimates the change was worth $40,000-$50,000 /yr
    • greater number of weaned calves
    • improved calf performance
    • reduced expenses for treatment
case herd 2
Case Herd 2
  • 300-400 Summer calving cows
  • Intensive grass management
    • cattle move through pastures every 2-3 days
  • Mortality (1° due to scours)
    • 6.5% in 1999
    • 11.9% in 2000

Summer calving and

rotating calving pastures

did not prevent

calf scours!

case herd 247
Case Herd 2
  • Sandhills Calving System in ‘01-’02
  • Modified for intensive grass management
    • Split off groups every 100 pairs or 10 days
    • multiple groups moving through different pastures
  • Mortality significantly reduced
    • “all cause” death loss 2.3% and 1.5% (p<0.01)
    • NO deaths from neonatal scours (‘01, 02)
slide48
Sandhills Calving System
  • Prevent Effective Contacts to Control Calf Scours
    • Move “Heavy” Cows to Clean Calving Pastures
    • Segregate Calves by Age
slide49
Sandhills Calving System
  • Prevent Effective Contacts to Control Calf Scours
    • Calf Health and Well-Being
    • Productivity
    • Labor Efficiency
slide50

[those concerned with] food-producing animals must think in terms of hygiene, for their success is in no small measure dependent upon their knowledge of the subject...

Dr. Leunis Van Es

Lincoln, NE

1932

questions
Questions?

David R. Smith DVM, PhD

Extension Veterinarian

402 472-2362

dsmith8@unl.edu