Farm Ireland

Thursday 22 March 2018

Disease risks for calves at grass

One of the major risks in trying to get calves out to grass as soon as possible is coccidiosis.

This is a disease I have seen an increase in year on year and it has the potential to cause huge problems.

Coccidia are small parasites which can affect many species. As each parasite is specific to each species there is no transfer between animals, and although widely believed, birds do not transmit coccidiosis to calves.

The parasites are highly resistant and can live on pastures for over a year. It is important to try and prevent damp muddy conditions around water and meal troughs. Animals do not necessarily need to have the typical blood scour to be infected.

Calves should be treated before the onset of clinical signs as often these calves have damaged intestines and can suffer huge production losses as a result.

Maintaining hygiene standards and the use of appropriate disinfection measures is key.

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