For dairy calf raisers, it’s almost a sure bet that cryptosporidium is present in the operation and causes significant losses ranging from delayed growth to high levels of mortality.
Indeed, cryptosporidium is the pathogen most commonly diagnosed in association with clinical calf scours in North America. However, a full potential diet can help prepare calves to battle against cryptosporidium.
“Crypto can be devastating to a calf’s long-term growth and overall health,” said Dr. Tom Earleywine, director of nutritional services with Land O’Lakes Animal Milk Products. “Feeding a full potential diet of at least 2.5 lb. of milk solids in 8-10 quarts of liquid per calf daily in conjunction with good calf management can help calves be better equipped to fight off disease challenges.”
In a study conducted by Dr. Daryl Nydam, a veterinary epidemiologist with Cornell University, calves fed a full potential diet were shown to gain weight, stay hydrated and resolve scours quicker than calves fed a low plane of nutrition. In fact, calves fed a lower amount of nutrition ended the study weighing less than their birth weight.
“Despite experiencing scours for several days due to the challenge dose given, the more generously fed calves gained weight and eventually thrived,” Nydam said. “Providing more nutrients before and during periods of scours is the best thing you can do to help them recover.”