We are headed off to another auction today to pick up a calf. We have changed some of our incoming market calf protocol to hopefully eliminate any potential issues.
On a second note, it was determined that T-Bone had Type A-Clostridium. The first time I had even heard about it was through my friend, Dairy Carrie. We were discussing scours and I happened to ask if she had ever seen a calf with scours get bloat. She sent me over to a webpage to read all about it and I could help but see the similarity to what had happened with T-Bone.
After reading a post on our Facebook page about the situation, one of my friends that just happens to be a vet student at Cornell University asked if she could do a necropsy report when he passed. It was determined that he had Clostridium. Not knowing that this was the real issue, the treatments he received did nothing to actually cure the unknown issue.
According to the page from The Dairy Site that Carrie sent me to reads as follows for the treatment:
“The treatment of syndromes caused by C. perfringens is frequently unsuccessful. Because clinical signs are usually a result of the toxin, not the bacteria itself, treatment with antibiotics (which act solely on the bacteria and not the toxins) is often less than rewarding. In addition, with many of these syndromes, death or severe illness occurs before treatment can even be attempted; therefore, early detection becomes essential if treatment is to be successful. Typical treatments for calves with milder clinical signs consist largely of antibiotics (especially penicillin) and the use of C. perfringens antitoxin products. Several injectable antitoxin preparations that contain specific antibodies directed against toxins produced by C. perfringens are currently available. While these antitoxin products are developed expressly for use against toxins produced by Types C and D (beta and epsilon toxins), there may be some effect against alpha toxin (Type A) as well. Supportive care with oral or IV fluids and anti-inflammatories may also be indicated. Any treatment plan needs to be developed in close consultation with the herd veterinarian.”
So, now our new protocol involves the same assessment of birthing time which will determine if the calf with receive a colostrum replacer or if the calf is slightly older a product, also recommended by Carrie, called Gammulin. Gammulin is derived from blood to help boost the immune system of young animals. I am not a fan of giving animals drugs just because they are available. Buying a calf from market provides additional challenges and exposures that need to be controlled as much as possible. Through an immunity boost, it will provide the calves a much better chance at leading a healthy life.
I am trying to take the same approach that I would with my children, who get booster shots to prevent sicknesses and diseases that can be prevented. This new protocol has not been an easy transition to make but I feel that I should try to do something to prevent future issues.
If anyone else has some advise or would like to discuss their own market calf protocol, I would love to hear what has or hasn’t worked for your farm. Discussions about what is really working out there in the real world is always helpful.
OH…and before I forget, I am excited about the Spring Jersey Sale coming up this weekend…don’t tell Mr. Farmer but I am going to see what kind of trouble I can get into and bid on some cows! Keep an eye out on Twitter and here for photos as the day progresses!!!