|STOP Calf Scours Before It Stops You!|
With calf prices at record highs, maximizing calf survival and thriftiness is more important now than ever before. Calf scours cause more financial loss to cattle producers than any other health issue. Losses are not only reflected in lost calves and treatment costs, but also in reduced performance in surviving calves.
It is estimated 61 percent of calf deaths are caused by scours. Calf scours are not a disease per se, but a symptom of one of a great variety of causes. Noninfectious causes of diarrhea include poor nutrition of the dam, inadequate colostrum intake, poor management and/or poor environmental conditions. Infectious causes include bacterial, viral and protozoan infections. Of the infectious agents, E. coli is the most common source of scours.
E. coli colonize within the gut by attaching to the finger-like projections within the intestines. Every animal carries E. coli, even you and I, and it is part of the normal flora of the gut. Calves are born with a sterile gut, but pick up E. coli from the environment. When the amount of challenge exceeds the body’s ability to keep the bacteria in check, scours occur. Traditionally, E. coli is controlled through a combination of management, sanitation and antibiotics.
It goes without saying that properly-fed dams that have received proper mineral nutrition, particularly copper, selenium and zinc, will give birth to thriftier calves. This is partially due to improved quality and quantity of colostrum ingested by the calf to impart passive immunity. The mentioned minerals are key building blocks in antibody production. Additionally, these calves will be born with adequate supplies of these key minerals so their own bodies will have what is needed for the development of their own immune system.
However, even the strongest immune system can be subverted when faced with overwhelming numbers of infectious invaders. Because E. coli is spread from animal to animal via manure, proper sanitation is a must. Provide a "clean" calving area if possible. Sunlight and fresh air are the best sanitation agents; thus calving in the open on clean, dry ground is preferable to a dark, damp stall. If you do calve inside, be sure to thoroughly disinfect calving areas and put down fresh bedding between calvings. Avoid over-crowding in barns and shelters, and be sure there is proper ventilation.
Many producers utilize antibiotics in feed or milk-replacers to prevent E. coli outbreaks, particularly when there have been outbreaks in the past. Use of antibiotics has historically served the cattle industry well. However, in today’s current production environment, there are times when use of antibiotics is undesirable, whether due to antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli or a desire by the producer to market organic or natural beef. Luckily, other options have emerged.
The new SWEETLIX® 20% Protein Plus Mag Bio-Mos® pressed block contains a revolutionary ingredient called Bio-Mos®. Technically, Bio-Mos® is a phosphorylated manna-oligosaccharide derived from a specific strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae capable of binding pathogenic bacteria like E. coli that express a type I fimbriae.
What does that mean in English? Simply, Bio-Mos® is a "sticky sugar" derived from yeast that binds to E. coli and doesn’t let go. Because E. coli has only one binding site, if it is bound to Bio-Mos® it cannot bind to the gut lining. If it can’t bind to the gut lining and is floating free, it can’t establish a colony and passes out in the manure.
The new SWEETLIX® 20% Protein Plus Mag Bio-Mos® pressed block delivers recommended levels of Bio-Mos® in addition to supplemental protein and a complete mineral and vitamin package with NRC-recommended levels of copper, zinc and selenium for a strong immune system. Extra magnesium is added as well to address the risk of grass tetany in early spring pastures. The SWEETLIX® 20% Protein Plus Mag Bio-Mos® pressed block is compatible with most Natural Beef Programs; however, you should always confirm that all ingredients listed on the label are compatible with YOUR chosen Natural Beef Program as programs can vary greatly.
The SWEETLIX® 20% Protein Plus Mag Bio-Mos® pressed block is an economical means to deliver Bio-Mos® to cattle along with essential protein, minerals and vitamins in one convenient block. No messy, bulky feed bunks necessary; these blocks can be placed directly on the ground. SWEETLIX® 20% Protein Plus Mag Bio-Mos® blocks are small enough that anyone can easily place them exactly where needed. An added benefit is you won’t have to collect empty tubs afterward and you can see at a glance how much has been consumed rather than having to get out of your truck to check inside of mineral feeders, bunks or tubs.
When it comes to pressed blocks, SWEETLIX® is the industry standard. With more than 40 years’ experience, you can be sure SWEETLIX® high-quality pressed blocks will hold up in the weather and be readily eaten by cattle at the stated rate. Ask for SWEETLIX® by name!