Calf gastroenteritis

Calf gastroenteritis

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Gastroenteritis in calves and cows is a fairly common disease of the digestive system, which occurs against the background of inflammatory processes occurring in the gastrointestinal tract of animals. The most dangerous consequence of this disease is dehydration that occurs in calves and adults, which can lead to rather sad consequences.

Causes of gastroenteritis

Gastroenteritis can occur in young and adult cattle for several reasons:

  • sanitary and epidemic (violation of sanitary norms and rules for keeping animals, lack of timely vaccination, etc.);
  • genetic (low level of the immune system of young and adult animals);
  • physiological (general weakness of animals caused by improper conditions of their keeping, lack of a constant temperature regime in the places where they are kept, their hypothermia or overheating, lack of walks in the fresh air at any time of the year);
  • infectious (infection of livestock from various sources).

In calves, gastroenteritis most often occurs due to improperly organized nutrition, namely:

  • feeding calves with low-quality, sour milk;
  • too abrupt transition from the milk type of feeding to the adult type of feeding;
  • watering the calves with too cold or dirty water.
  • in the use of poor quality feed;

    Important! The main cause of gastroenteritis is improper feeding of cattle. This can manifest itself:

  • non-observance of the diet and drinking regime;
  • the use of frozen feed in feeding livestock, as well as rotten, sour, moldy or littered with earth and sand feed.

Symptoms and course of the disease

Gastroenteritis is a disease that is always accompanied by very striking symptoms.

Important! The main symptom of gastroenteritis is the presence of intense diarrhea in the animal.

Depending on the nature of the inflammation, several forms of this disease are distinguished, each of which has its own characteristic symptoms:

Form of gastroenteritis

Characterizing symptom


Watery stools with distinct soft tissue fragments.


The stool contains dead tissue and a patch of yellow-gray lumps.

Ulcerative erosive

Watery stool with blood clots.


Feces contain fibrin films.

By the nature of its course, gastroenteritis has 2 main forms, each of which also has its own symptoms.

The acute form is characterized by:

  • weakened behavior of a calf and an adult: the animal can lie for a long time in the same position or move chaotically;
  • decreased appetite or complete loss of interest in food;
  • a sharp increase in the body temperature of the animal;
  • diarrhea, colic and bloating;
  • disturbance in the work of the cardiovascular system, rapid breathing;
  • teeth grinding and moaning.

The presence of these signs indicates the need to provide prompt assistance to the animal, since the lack of medical intervention can lead to a decrease in temperature, thickening of the blood and death of cattle.

For the course of the chronic form, all the same signs are characteristic as for the acute one, but they express themselves much softer. This manifests itself in jumps and constant drops in the improvement and deterioration of the animal's condition, which makes the individual very exhausted.


For the correct diagnosis of gastroenteritis, a whole range of studies and activities are carried out, namely:

  • Laboratory examination of the blood of a sick individual. The blood of a calf or an adult animal is taken for analysis in order to establish in it the quantitative characteristics of leukocytes, erythrocytes, hemoglobin, etc. The analysis is also carried out to exclude the possibility of influencing the course of the disease of intestinal infections;
  • The body temperature of the animal is constantly monitored, according to which, in this disease, one can talk about the course of its course and the dynamics of development;
  • A thorough analysis of the feed ration of calves and cows and their living conditions is carried out. In case of illness of a young calf, which is on the dairy type of feeding, the regime, completeness and quality of nutrition of its mother are analyzed;
  • They study the epizootic situation - the prevalence of the development of infectious diseases in the area of ​​residence of the sick individual.

Methods for treating gastroenteritis in calves

Treatment of gastroenteritis in calves and cows takes place in several main stages:

  1. Isolate a sick animal from the herd, stop any feeding and call a professional veterinarian. Isolation is carried out in order to exclude the possibility of infection of other animals from a sick individual.
  2. Calf gastric lavage to eliminate further intoxication with toxic substances. Washing is performed, most often, with sodium bicarbonate solution or isotonic solution. Laxatives may be prescribed to empty the bowels.

    Important! It should be remembered that on the first day, after the establishment of gastroenteritis in a calf or cow, they are prescribed the complete absence of any type of feeding. Only unrestricted clean drinking water is allowed. In some cases, to exclude the possibility of depletion of a sick animal, glucose, sodium chloride or ascorbic acid may be added to the water.

  3. Prescribing antibiotic drugs and antimicrobial agents. In addition, the veterinarian necessarily prescribes vitamins of groups A, B, C, E to the animal. Elimination of pain and spasms in the gastrointestinal tract of the animal is carried out using various analgesics, No-shpy or Anestezin. To restore normal intestinal microflora, the animal is prescribed probiotics.
  4. After the critical point of the disease has been passed and the improvement of the individual's condition has a positive trend, a separate dietary food is prescribed for the calf. A slimy rice broth, a decoction of oat flour, infusions of medicinal herbs, for example, chamomile, have a beneficial effect on the body of a sick animal.

Attention! The sooner medical assistance is provided to a sick animal, the less likely it will be that severe consequences of the disease will occur.


When the first signs of gastroenteritis are detected in a calf or cow and when veterinary care is sought in time, a positive outcome of the disease will depend on the correct diagnosis and qualified treatment. If these conditions are met, the prognosis for the complete restoration of normal vital activity of cattle individuals is:

  • with an acute form of gastroenteritis - about 10 days;
  • in the chronic form - about 30 days.

Preventive actions

Gastroenteritis belongs to the category of diseases that are very quickly transmitted from individual to individual. This means that one sick calf can easily infect an entire herd. In order to prevent such a development of events, you should carefully follow all preventive measures to counter the appearance of this disease in livestock and carefully monitor the following aspects of the life of calves and cows:

  • The mode and quality of the received food. For calves, it is especially important to control the observance of the "soft", gradual transition from the dairy type of feeding to the adult type;
  • Feed intended for food for calves and adults should be additionally enriched with vitamins and minerals;
  • Young animals should not be grazed on frozen ground;
  • Sanitary living conditions for cattle. All bedding, stalls and feeders should be cleaned at regular intervals, the water in the drinking cups should be kept clean and preferably at room temperature;
  • The ambient temperature in the area where calves and cows are kept should be uniform.


Gastroenteritis in calves and cows is a disease of the gastrointestinal tract, which is characterized by pronounced symptoms and transience. The main danger of this disease for cattle is the dehydration of the body of sick individuals. If medical assistance is not provided to the sick animal in a timely manner, the consequences of the disease can have a sad result. However, with timely diagnosis and correct therapy, gastroenteritis is successfully treated, and the animal quickly returns to normal living conditions.

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