Cryptosporidium Infection in Calves

Date: 01/05/14

Cryptosporidium Infection in Calves

A Kilco Perspective

Cryptosporidium parvum is the most common pre-weaning scour causing pathogen in calves. The organism exists as an oocyst which may then rupture after being ingested by the calf. The sporozoites which are released after the break-up of the oocyst then attack the stomach lining of calves, and can lead to dehydration, poor digestion of feed, and even death. Even sub-clinical Infections can cause major economic losses on farm due to decreased live weight gain and an increase in susceptibility to other ailments.

The most common method of transmission is through the faeces of other calves or older cattle. It is essential to break this cycle of infection to prevent Cryptosporidium being a major cause of financial loss in a herd.

There are a number of ways to prevent infection by Cryptosporidium in calf housing:

  1. Ensure an adequate supply of good quality Colostrum is given shortly after birth. Two litres within 6 hours, and a further two litres within 12 hours of birth is recommended
  2. Remove the calf from her dam as soon as possible, so minimising the risk of infection from adult cattle’s faeces
  3. Operate an all in-all out batch system of same age calves if at all possible to limit disease spread between age groups
  4. Or; Keep calves in individual pens or hutches until they are at least 5 weeks old to prevent cross contamination
  5. Thoroughly muck out, clean and disinfect calf pens using Kilcox Extra to disinfect thoroughly between each group of calves or individual hutches

Between each batch of calves the following procedures should be employed:

  1. Muck out the shed thoroughly, ensuring all faecal matter is removed
  2. Pressure wash the shed to remove any remaining muck
  3. Apply Kilco’s Ecofoam Advanced through a pressure washer with a foaming lance at a dilution rate of 1:50
  4. Leave for 10-30 minutes
  5. Rinse with clean, cold water
  6. Remove any excess, standing water for floors etc
  7. Disinfect the area by applying Kilcox Extra at a dilution rate of 2-3%, and an application rate of 0.3L/m2, Allow to dry
  8. Add fresh, clean, dry straw to the pen

Kilcox Extra – a key weapon in the fight against Coccidiosis and Cryptosporidium

Kilcox Extra is DEFRA approved (General Orders, Diseases of Poultry/Avian Influenza, Swine Vesicular Disease) product which contains 40% by weight of biocidal actives.


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