Natural Management of Scours

Calves Gut Support Lambs

Scouring calves, lambs, & goat kids can be a challenge any time of year but are more critical during the winter months. Here is my review of some products that can be beneficial.

Impro Opti-Start – A powdered product that is mixed in milk or electrolytes.  Contains antibodies and bioactive peptides from Impro whey and dried egg proteins.  High levels of active probiotics are combined with psyllium, which acts as a probiotic.  Also included are vitamins and electrolytes.  This is fed at 1-2 oz. per day for the first 2-4 weeks of age.  Approximate cost is $0.50 to $1.00 per calf per day. Buy Here

Impro Lacto Paste B – This gel comes in a 6 dose tube and is given orally.  This contains the whey and egg proteins and very high levels of probiotics.  I like this product at birth to inoculate the gut with beneficial bacteria.  If using antibiotics, giving this at the same time will help to maintain beneficial bacteria in the gut.  Approximate cost is $2.00 per dose per calf. Buy Here

Bismusol Liquid – This pink liquid is comparable to Pepto-Bismol but much cheaper.  Feed directly orally with a syringe or mixed with milk.  Benefits include reducing inflammation and irritation of the gut, blocking toxins produced by E. coli and Salmonella and increasing fluid absorption from the gut.  Given at 2 oz. per day the cost is approximately $0.40 per day.

Barnyard Boost – A 60 gm tube that contains Impro whey as a source of bioactive peptides that enhance the immune system.  High levels of antioxidants are beneficial in sick calves.  Prebiotics and probiotics contribute to good gut health.  Approximate cost per dose is $2.50. 

Farmatan Paste – The primary ingredient in this paste product is Farmatan, a sweet chestnut tannin.  Major benefits include establishing tight cell junctions to prevent “leaky gut” and protecting the lining of the gut.  This makes it more difficult for bacteria, viruses, cryptosporidium or coccidia to invade the gut lining.  Its ability to bind iron helps reduce E. coli & Salmonella growth.  Also contains multiple strains of highly effective probiotics.  Approximate cost per day is $2.50 per dose. 

Dr. Paul’s Calf Start Liquid – The primary ingredient in this product is a humate.  The fulvic acid and humic acid in the humates are excellent in establishing a strong gut lining, binding toxins produced by bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella and providing very high levels of antioxidants.  Garlic and cayenne are 2 natural products that have an effect on pathogenic bacteria.  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and helps acidify the stomach.  Fed at ½ oz. per day the approximate cost is $0.35 per day. Buy Here

Dr. Paul’s Calf Ease Boluses – The 8 ingredients in these boluses provide support to the scouring calves.  In practice I have seen these stiffen up the manure.  Give 1 pill every 12 hours as needed, but do not do at same time as feeding milk as they contain sodium bicarbonate.  Approximate cost is $1.10 per bolus. Buy Here

Electrolytes – Dehydration and acidosis are the primary factors that kill scouring calves, goats & lambs.  It is important to keep calves on milk during cold temperatures, but they need additional fluids, this can be accomplished with additional feedings of electrolytes.  Wait at least 1-2 hours after milk feeding to offer electrolytes, especially if the electrolytes contain sodium bicarb.  Dr. Paul’s Lab has an electrolyte powder called Extra-Lytes.  Resorb is a commercial product that I also use. 

Lactated Ringers Solution – Calves with severe scours require other sources of fluids.  The advantage of this fluid is that it can be given sub-cutaneously.  Make sure it is warmed up to body temperature and can be administered under the skin over the ribs.  I can easily give 500cc at a time, split between 4 sites.  If a calf has a cold mouth and unwilling or unable to suck, this is the way to go.  Certainly, IV therapy can be considered but this is a simple and fast way to help those severely affected calves. 

These are just a few of the products that can be used in managing scouring calves.  Maximizing calf health starts with the dry cow and continues through calving and newborn calf management.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss your individual situation or are interested in the products listed above. 

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