Spring calving has been going on, and with new calves we also have some calf scours. This can be a very devastating disease and can, and does, kill calves.

There are multiple causes for scours. We can have everything from bacterial to viral to protozoa A, including milk. Now these different things may not mean a thing to you, but to those of us trying to treat it, they mean a lot. They also determine how and what we use to treat.

So, to everyone walking in or calling wanting a scour pill, which one?

Let’s put a little science behind it and diagnose what is actually going on.

If I know what you have, I can treat more appropriately and have a better chance at saving the animal. I also can advise you on how to prevent the illness. Some of us  veterinarians actually have the tests that can be run at our clinic and tell you whether the causative agent is rotavirus, corona virus, E. coli, Enterotoxaemia, gut form blackleg or the evil crypto.

All of these agents are different and take different treatments. So, when you ask for that scour pill without testing, I really do not know which way to turn. Yes, I could shotgun it and guess, but I prefer treating and having a better outcome, if possible. Basically, I would rather spend a little money on testing and back up a treatment with science rather than shotguns blazing. We will have better use of medication in the long run and it will be cheaper on your pocketbook.

Another thing is that a lot of these so called “scour pills” are actually a form of tetracycline. All tetracycline is inactivated by milk protein, so it just goes out the rear end and does nothing in the body.

This also includes LA 200 and Noromycin 300. This is a pet problem I have had with the industry forever.

And a new one I have been asked is for Draxxin to treat calf scours. Please, explain to me how a drug that 15 minutes after you inject it, it is as if you gave it intravenously and then 24 hours later there is 74 times the amount of drug in the lung tissue proper as what’s in the blood. Is any of that in the gut? Very little. Also, Draxxin is labeled for pneumonia and not calf scours, making it illegal to use for that purpose in food animals. This is according to American Medical Drug Use Clarification and Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, which are laws governing the use of antibiotics in food animals.

We must stand by them since they are the law. I could also lose my license if I knowingly allow this type of use. You as producers could also be subject to fines and/or jail also.

Dr. Tim E. O’Neill, DVM, owns Country Veterinary Service in Farmington, Ark. To contact Tim go to ozarksfn.com and click on ‘Contact Us.’

Dr. Tim O'NeillAg-VisorsArkansas,Calves,Country Veterinary Service,Dr. Tim O'Neill,DVM,Farmington,scours,spring calving,The Udder SideSpring calving has been going on, and with new calves we also have some calf scours. This can be a very devastating disease and can, and does, kill calves. There are multiple causes for scours. We can have everything from bacterial to viral to protozoa A, including milk. Now...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma