A stool of an unusual color with blood impurities, flatulence, colic — such symptoms indicate the occurrence of such a pathology as colibacteriosis of calves. This acute infectious disease is dangerous for calves up to ten days old. It is accompanied by severe intoxication and severe dehydration. With the rapid course of the disease can be fatal in a couple of days. Disappointing statistics show a high mortality of calves during infection.
Causes of disease
The causative agents of colibacillosis are strains of Escherichia coli, which enter the body of the calf in various ways, for example, through the dirty udder of the mother, from water, from feces and urine of already infected animals. One diseased individual releases to the environment waste materials containing pathogens, which are enough to infect all young.
Factors that influence the occurrence of the disease:
- a large number of cubs in the same space;
- untimely feeding of babies with colostrum;
- wrong calf diet (sour, stagnant feed);
- lack of vitamins;
- general body predisposition to the disease;
- thin, unformed intestinal wall in the first days of the calf's life;
- undeveloped protective function of the liver;
- low acidity;
- chronic maternal diseases;
- improper animal care.
Colibacteriosis brings the greatest economic damage to cattle owners compared to others, which is why it is so important to try to prevent disease in animals in a timely manner.
Flatulence and colic are important signs
At the same time, the calves feel unwell, the temperature rises sharply, colic and strong flatulence are observed. But the most obvious sign is a visible change in the stool.
The incubation period for colibacillosis sometimes does not exceed several hours. In this case, the calf becomes sluggish, apathetic, stops feeding on milk.
A very frequent, almost continuous, bowel movement occurs during the course of the disease. Initially, the stool is yellowish in color, with a very unpleasant smell, the texture is similar to paste. Then it becomes grayish or even white, it foams, there may even be an admixture of blood or mucus.
As a complication of this disease, there are lesions of the lungs, manifested by severe painful cough and nasal flow. Breathing and the pulse of the animal are becoming more frequent, the condition is rapidly deteriorating, dehydration and depletion of the body occur. In some cases, the joints may be affected. Depending on the course of the disease, the torment of an animal can last for several days or several weeks, and then it will be fatal.
The course of the disease
The course of the disease depends on the age and individual characteristics of each calf. Depending on these factors, colibacteriosis of calves can occur in subacute, acute and over-acute variations.
Subacute involves the occurrence of arthritis of the pectoral and pelvic limbs. Soreness, swelling of the joints, and then lameness - all these problems may arise during the course of the disease.
Acute illness usually occurs in animals up to a week old. The calf hurts, if you press on the abdominal wall, you lose your appetite, your eyes look hollow. Observed swelling or pulling up the abdomen, recession of hungry pits. Alternately, convulsions occur in different parts of the body. The breathing of the animal is heavy, intermittent, and the pulse is faint and rapid. Before death, the calf, as a rule, comes unconscious, like a coma.
Hypertensive course of the disease is typical for calves aged 3-5 days. It manifests itself in a short-term increase in temperature to 40-41 degrees, there is a ruffled coat. Conjunctivitis may develop, the calf is in a depressed state.
Forms of indisposition
There are such types of the disease as colisepsis and colidiarrhea (enteritis).
Enteritis form is characterized, above all, by continuous diarrhea, with streaks of blood and mucus. The calves have their sides and eyelids sunk, they lose weight sharply, and almost the full depletion of the animal's body is rapidly occurring. Almost from the very beginning of the disease, the animal’s stool is light and foamy.
The septic form is distinguished by strong, noticeable inhibition of the animal, unusual body movements and an elevated temperature. Diarrhea with this type of colibacillosis occurs rarely.
Sometimes the disease manifests itself in a mixed form. In this case, all these symptoms may appear simultaneously.
Do not forget that in any case, the disease brings suffering to the animal, so the treatment must begin immediately, after the first symptoms.
For the treatment of disease using drugs such as gamma globulin, immune serum, coliphage. Serum is administered intramuscularly in an amount of 30-80 milliliters once a day. Kolifag need to be given every couple of hours for 30-50 milliliters, depending on the age and physical characteristics of the calf. Before medication, an animal should preferably take 25-30 milliliters of a 5% soda solution.
Instead of milk, sick animals are given saline with a raw chicken egg. This product contains the medical substance lysozyme, and the protein helps the baby's body to regain strength. In this case, the calf is better to sow from the mother and water from a bottle.
Also, veterinarians prescribe antibacterial drugs. For intestinal infections, tetracycline, spectam, hectamycin and ampicillin are commonly used. All antibiotics should be given with milk or water in the mouth.
After treatment with antibiotics, it is necessary to restore the normal microflora of the body. For this, calves are given various drugs, most of which are probiotics, for example, Enterobifidine or Bifidumbacterin.
Diet and vitamins
The treatment of colibacillosis medication is usually prescribed in the system with a diet. It is very important to restore the balance of water and salt in the body and neutralize toxic substances. To do this, calves need several times a day to take a solution of salt, as well as flax, rice, starchy or oat broths. They have an enveloping effect and protect the nerve receptors of the baby’s intestines from irritation.
For the healing of the intestinal mucosa inflamed after the disease, astringent decoctions of plants are used: oak bark, sage leaf, St. John's wort grass, horse sorrel or chamomile flowers.
Herbal preparations will help the calf to gain weight, restore immunity and improve the digestive system.
Since during the illness of the calf metabolic processes are disturbed, the vitamins are not absorbed into the body, and the animal suffers from their lack. It is recommended to add vitamins of groups A, B, C and D, as well as complex vitamin preparations to fed babies.
Proper treatment can stop diarrhea after 48 hours. A few more days to monitor the feces of the calf. If digestion is getting better, you can transfer your baby to milk-feeding.
Having recovered from colibacillosis (so called colibacteriosis in a different way), young animals acquire a kind of immunity to the disease, and the risk of subsequent infection becomes negligible. To minimize it, it is necessary to periodically prevent the disease.
It is imperative to follow the hygiene rules of the maintenance personnel and keep the tools clean. It is also necessary to disinfect the premises and equipment.
In newborn calves, artificial immunity is poorly formed, so an important step will be to vaccinate adults. Before calving (and also one month before mating), two times in two weeks, cows should be vaccinated with an inactivated polyvalent vaccine or preparations that increase immunity.
It is very important to observe the hygiene of childbirth, for example, to carry out calving in special separate rooms, as well as to adhere to the system of raising newborns and proper feeding.
Separate attention is deserved hygiene feeding calves. Before him, the cow's udder must be rinsed with warm water, wiped with a towel and smeared with a special ointment or petroleum jelly. The first few grams of colostrum need to be decanted, because it may contain alien microflora that can harm the baby’s health.
Despite the fact that the active protection against the disease during artificial immunization in calves is poorly formed, vaccination should not be neglected. For this purpose, a vaccine against colibacillosis of calves called Kolivak-99 is used, as well as 987P, F41, TL- and TC-toxoids.
Preventing economic damage
When a pathology occurs on the farm, various veterinary and sanitary measures are carried out. Sick animals at the time of treatment must be isolated from other individuals in order to avoid mass infection. Animals suspected of having the disease need to be treated several times with bacteriophage or hyperimmune antitoxic serum.
It is allowed to kill sick calves only when their age exceeds two weeks. Until they reach this age, they must be kept in a special room.
The key to success in breeding any animals is proper care and maintenance. For any changes in behavior and state of health, you should contact your veterinarian and find out the reason for these changes.
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