Prevention of calf scours can be difficult. The absorption of the antibodies from good quality colostrum is the first line of defense and the foundation which other factors depend upon.
Sanitation is the other means to prevent scours. Ideally, both strategies will be utilized together.
The only way to administer antibodies against these diseases is through the mouth and into the gut, where absorption takes place.
There are two ways to do this:
- Vaccinate the cow against these pathogens so her colostrum is full of specific antibodies.
- Use products containing these specific antibodies and administer directly to the calf.
Both methods are time dependent; the sooner they are administered, the more complete the absorption.
Vaccines for Pregnant Cows
There are several vaccines available for pregnant cows:
There are differences in the vaccination schedule and pathogen combinations as well as differences in their slaughter withdrawal. It is very important to follow the vaccination schedule of the vaccine used to ensure that antibodies in colostrum are maximized.
There are many colostrum replacer choices if an operation decides not to use the cow’s colostrum. A good quality replacer will have IgG levels over 100 grams. It is vital that sufficient amounts be administered in the first twelve hours of life when the calf’s ability to absorb the antibodies is at its highest.