Diseases of Neonates
It is also known as dietary diarrhoea and is characterized by foul smelling liquid faeces, and weight loss.
Etiology: The disease can be caused due to ingestion of excess quantity of milk, use of inferior quality milk replacers in calves below 3 weeks of age, poor quality skim-milk powder intake, use of excess quantity of non-milk carbohydrate and protein in the diet and sudden change in diet from milk to milk replacers. It occurs in calves mainly of up to 2 weeks of age.
Pathogenesis: Excess ingestion of milk results in some quantity of it reaching duodenum un-clotted. This fraction of milk increases the osmotic pressure inside the lumen of the intestine and drags fluid from the body and retains fluid inside the lumen resulting in diarrhoea. Poor quality milk replacers are deficient in non casein protein due to which ineffective clotting of milk occurs in abomasums, and it reaches in duodenum as such resulting in diarrhoea. Excess lactose acts as hydrogogue and large quantity of fluid is accumulated in intestine. Whole of this fluid cannot be absorbed so diarrhoea occurs. Non-milk carbohydrate and proteins are not digested properly in calves as they lack enzymes for digestion.
Clinical signs: There is passage of light yellow-coloured, foul smelling soft faeces which soil the tail and perineum of animal. The calves remain bright and alert initially, but after 2 days, there is bacterial contamination due to which they become dull, weak, dehydrated, and anorectic, and have mucoid diarrhoea. There is a gradual weight loss and recumbency.
Diagnosis: It is diagnosed by clinical symptoms and history of feeding and confirmed by postmortem examination of dead calves which reveal emaciation, absence of body fats, serous atrophy and dehydration.
Treatment: The ingestion of milk and milk replacers should be checked and animals should be given oral electrolyte solution and intestinal protectants with antibiotics. As intestinal protectants, kaolin 200 g and pectin 4 g be dissolved in one liter water. Around 30-40 ml of solution is given after every 6 h for 2 days. Normal saline 1-1.5 liter can be given to prevent dehydration while neomycin sulfate @10 mg/kg body weight or nitrofurazone @0.5 g orally can be used twice daily for 3 days. Calves may be given nitrofurazone @0.5g or oxytetracycline @6-8 mg/kg body weight by oral route to prevent the occurrence of disease.