THE arrival of wetter weather sees increasing cases of calf scour.

Housing, higher environmental humidity and often increased numbers of cattle calving at the same time facilitates the spread of infectious causes of scour.

It is estimated that each case costs £200 and that half of all calf deaths are due to calf scour.

Scour can be caused by:

- nutritional issues: e.g. high mixing rates of milk replacer formulations; poorly formulated powders with high osmalality levels)

- management issues: e.g. overfeeding, particularly grain overload; overstocking of pens

- infectious diseases: viral, bacterial, parasitic and protozoal casues.

Major scour viruses include rotavirus and coronavirus (yes coronaviruses are commonplace on most farms but typically cause enteric conditions like scour more commonly than respiratory conditions as seen during the human coronavirus pandemic.

Bacterial causes include E. coli and Salmonella, with Coccidiosis being the main protozoal cause of scour and gut worms being the main parasitic causes.

Below are practical tips to reduce the risk and spread of calf scour on your farm:

- Provide a clean and comfortable calving and calf rearing environment

- Ensure effective levels of colostrum transfer are achieved e.g. feed 4 litres of high quality clean colostrum within 2 hours of birth

- Consider vaccinating against infectious causes (Rotavirus, Coronavirus and E.coli K99). It is the dam that is vaccinated pre calving and antibody immunity passed to the calf through the colostrum

- Treat clinical cases aggressively with supplementary electrolyte solutions alongside continued milk feeding

- Seek veterinary intervention for severe cases as some of these may need to be put on a drip or receive treatment straight into the bloodstream.

Paragon is a professional caring and approachable practice with centres in Dalston, Newbiggin and Wetheral.

The practice has a fully equipped small animal hospital as well as equine operating facilities, stabling and cattle housing facilities.

Their cattle advanced breeding team, based at Newbiggin, provide national coverage.

Paragon Vets is home to 15 farm vets, seven small animal vets and three equine only vets.

Paragon employs 14 highly experienced and dedicated farm animal vets.

The group includes one Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons recognised specialist in cattle health and production as well as two bovine diploma holders and four certificate holders.

There are always two dedicated farm vets available 365 days of the year and 24 hours of the day to deal with routine or emergency procedures on your farm.