Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 February 2018

'Blood scour' hits two in three herds

Appropriate disinfectant and a clean environment will ward off scour
Appropriate disinfectant and a clean environment will ward off scour
Louise Hogan

Louise Hogan

A vet has warned of a sharp rise in the number of farms infected with coccidiosis, one of the most common causes of 'blood scour' in calves.

Eamon O'Connell from the Summerhill Veterinary Clinic in Nenagh, Co Tipperary said coccidiosis has become "very widespread" in recent years.

"Six or seven years ago we saw maybe one in 10 farms with an issue with coccidiosis, which was very easily cured," he said.

"This spring maybe two out of every three dairy farms would have problems with coccidiosis."

However, Mr O'Connell said using appropriate disinfectant and a good clean environment should be able to bring it under control.

"We'd nearly presume at this stage when you are buying calves in that there is so much coccidiosis around that they've definitely come into contact with it, some of them probably have it and a lot of them are probably shedding it," he said.

"It'll drop their immune system and leaving them open to picking up anything else in the environment."

He warned the disease, often marked by watery diarrhoea containing blood, will impact on the thrive of infected calves.

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Beef farmer Michael Murphy, who purchases calves from the dairy herd, said nearly every calf that arrives at two weeks of age is infected with it. He said more awareness was needed among dairy farmers about the effectiveness of specific disinfectants to kill the disease.

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