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♦ Electrolyte Program Gives Calves a Healthy Start
♦ Electrolyte Program Gives Calves a Healthy Start


Robert East, Resale Product Manager, Genex

Calf scours can be a problem on dairies of all sizes. According to the 2014 Hoard's Dairyman Continuing Market Study, 63.3% of herds reported cases of calf scours with an average of 20.4 cases per herd (average milking herd size of 189.9 cows). The predominant causes of calf scours were E. coli, salmonella, cryptosporidium, rotovirus and corona virus. The 2014 Hoard's Dairyman study also indicated 89.2% of herds use an electrolyte and 25.4% feed an electrolyte as a routine treatment.

It is important to remember scours is a visible clinical sign, not a disease. Calf death is a result of electrolyte depletion, acidosis and dehydration from the body's rapid response to flush the disease.

Young calves are especially vulnerable to calf scours. A University of California-Davis Vet Views1 article indicates calf scours are common in the first few days of life, typically by day five and around days 10 to 21 of life.

With all of this in mind, CRI developed a program called NuLife® Pre 14-14, utilizing a low does feeding of NuLife Oral Electrolytes. Feeding a low dose of electrolytes during the time period calves are especially vulnerable to developing scours helps to prepare calves should an episode of diarrhea occur and to maintain hydration and appetite. Veterinarians Dr. Sassi and Dr. Whitten assisted in developing this concept of pre-hydration using NuLife Oral Electrolytes.

The advised NuLife Pre 14-14 protocol is to add 14 grams of the oral electrolyte to a quart of warm water and offer it to a calf at the midday feeding. This protocol should begin on the calf's third day of life and continue for 14 days. If a calf would develop scours, the amount of NuLife Oral Electrolyte should be increased to a standard 100 gram rate in two quarts of water offered twice daily for two days. Please note that Nulife Oral Electrolytes can be fed without withholding milk.

The NuLife Pre 14-14 program has benefits year-round, as calves can suffer from mild dehydration in both hot and cold weather. In winter, calves are extremely vulnerable to cold, and dehydration is a major concern. In summer, heat stress combine wit ha scour event is a serious concern, and nutritionists agree feeding an electrolyte with the proper formulation is a good idea for all calves.

NuLife Oral Electrolytes help maintain and encourage water consumption. This is important as water consumption is the key to feed consumption during periods of stress.

Genex members with herds of all sizes as well as calf ranches have given great reviews of the NuLife Pre 14-14 program. These members accept the fact calves are probably going to scour and proactively set calves up to handle the vent quicker and easier. in response to the wide-spread acceptance of this program, NuLife Oral Electrolytes are offered in individual 100 gram packets as well as 44 pound bulk boxes with volume pricing.

In closing, Genex strives to produce a top-of-the-industry electrolyte product with quality ingredients. These products come backed by consultants and industry professionals. For dairy producers currently using NuLife Oral Electrolytes and the Pre 14-14 program, thank you for entrusting your calves to Genex. For those looking for an effective electrolyte program, please contact your Genex representative for more information on our products.

1 "Feeding Cows to Prevent Scours in Calves." UC_Davis Vet Views. 2002.

August 2014