Calf scour bug trials success

9 February 2001

Calf scour bug trials success

A NEW treatment for crypto-sporidiosis, one of the most common causes of calf scour, dramatically reduced disease incidence in a trial recently published in Vet Record.

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by a single-cell parasite, cryptosporidia, which rapidly multiplies in the gut meaning calves can succumb to the disease within the first week of life. Until this latest development, no vaccines or successful preventative treatments were available.

In the trial, the new treatment – halofuginone lactate – was given to calves between six and 48 hours old to assess its effectiveness in preventing the disease. Of treated calves, 65% fewer had liquid diarrhoea than in the untreated group.

Traditionally, calf scour has been treated using fluid therapy, but specific treatments are worth considering, says independent vet consultant Tony Andrews.

"Most organisms causing scour can now be identified. While there may not be a specific treatment once calves have scour, finding the cause allows use of preventative treatment."

Cryptosporidiosis is also a zoonosis, so having a specific animal treatment is a positive step, says Dr Andrews. "Young and immuno-suppressed people are susceptible to cryptosporidiosis and it can also contaminate water supplies."

Although it has been available on the Continent for some time, Halocur, the trade name for halofunginone lactate, has only recently been launched in Britain. "The treatment is administered orally, but avoid over-dosing, as it is toxic at two to three times the recommended dose," warns Dr Andrews.

Halocur is a prescription only medicine and a seven day treatment programme costs £39, according to its maker Intervet. &#42

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