Peri-weaning (or post-weaning) diarrhoea is becoming a significant and increasing disease of calves on many farms.
Peri-weaning diarrhoea is an apparently new syndrome in calves around the time of weaning (usually, but not always, after weaning). The cause of the disease is unknown, infectious agents, managemental, environmental and nutritional factors have all been implicated.
The diarrhoea is usually first seen fairly soon after group housing, particularly if the animals were previously kept in outdoor hutches. However, in some outbreaks diarrhoea can begin up to two weeks before weaning.
The cause is unknown so no specific prevention programme has been developed. However several management and nutritional factors have been implicated, and preventing these has reduced the incidence of peri-weaning diarrhoea on many farms:
Management: Avoid abrupt weaning and ensure calves get colostrum for at least the first week after birth.
Nutritional: Avoid the use of calf pellets that rapidly ferment in the rumen, use slower fermenting coarse mixes. Also avoid products containing heat treated soya.
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