Control Calf Diarrhea (Scours) in Midwest Beef Cattle Farms

ISU Extension and Outreach publication informs producers on a common disease


close-up photo of calfAMES, Iowa – Producers looking to minimize the problem of calf diarrhea (scours) in their herds should look beyond vaccine programs to the common causes and solutions to prevent spread of the disease, according to a new Iowa State University Extension and Outreach publication titled “Control of Calf Diarrhea (Scours) in Midwest Beef Cattle Farms.”

Because scours are typically caused by pathogens shed in manure, producers should treat the clinical signs while the calf recovers from the pathogens. Cow health ahead of calving, good hygiene, segregation of calves by age, immunization, and biosecurity all play a part in halting the spread through other calves.

This publication is authored by Grant Dewell, associate professor in beef production and extension beef veterinarian, and Vicki Cooper, senior clinician and diagnostic pathologist. It can be accessed online at the ISU Extension and Outreach Store.

“An outbreak of calf scours can be devastating to a cow-calf operation and even a few cases can cause problems for the best producers,” Dewell said. “Good management before and after calving is critical for calves to thrive in the first few weeks of life.”

This new publication will help producers identify signs of scours so they can treat calves effectively and learn a variety of management methods to help minimize future problems.