Calf disease mythbuster

Published 21 August 13

A literature review has highlighted a number of areas where the latest evidence could improve control of two of our most damaging diseases – diarrhoea and pneumonia – says the Royal Veterinary College’s Kate Johnson.

Scouring is the greatest single cause of death in young calves, while pneumonia is the most common reason for death or poor performance from weaning to 10 months, according to the 2012 Cattle Health and Welfare Group report.  

But PhD researcher Ms Johnson has identified a number of areas where new findings could significantly improve current practices in controlling the diseases.  In a new video, which is part of DairyCo’s research partnerships for dairy heifer calves, Ms Johnson presents an overview of literature that dispels a number of myths and answers some recent burning questions.



The 14 minute film covers areas such as:

  • Colostrum management: which problems can it fix and when do we need other strategies?
  • Nutritional scours: the trade-off between nutritional scours and feeding higher volumes of milk pre-weaning to improve productivity and immune function
  • Antibiotics in milk: how effective were they really at reducing pneumonia and what other strategies should we use instead
  • BVD: can we can live with this, or does it need to be top priority?