Year: 2022 | Month: June | Volume 12 | Issue 3

Epidemiological Pattern of Neonatal Calf Diarrhea and a Randomized On-Field Trial to Evaluate Effectiveness of Zinc

I.A. Bhat Q.U. Ain S. Bashir T. Nazir G.N. Sheikh1 A.A. Khan A.A. Dar


Diarrhea is a major cause of mortality in neonatal calves. The objectives of this on-field trial were to study factors responsible for neonatal diarrhea and to evaluate effectiveness of zinc. Cross-bred calves of either sex aged 1 to 45 days were randomized to one of 5 treatments within 1 day of their first diarrhea onset. Calves received a daily dose of zinc @ 2 or 4 mg/kg BW along with zinc-free oral rehydration solution (ORS) either alone or in combination with sulphamethaxozole and trimethoprim @ 20 mg/kg BW till resolution of clinical signs. Fecal and blood samples were collected upon enrolment and exit and analysed for microbiological and parasitological parameters, and trace elements. The study revealed high (80 %) diarrhea occurrence in spring season; more in calves aged less than 30 days (Odds Ratio = 6.000); more in male (63 %) than female (37%) calves. The association between body weight and diarrhea was strong (Odds Ratio = 6.4167). Comparison of epidemiological parameters revealed no significant difference between healthy and diseased calves. E. coli was isolated from all enrolled subjects but was not considered causal. Salmonella was isolated from 2 cases only. None was found Cryptosporidium positive on coprological examination. Diarrheic calves showed relatively low plasma zinc concentration and high fecal coliform count compared to controls. Calves treated with zinc either @ 2 or 4 mg/kg BW alone or together with antimicrobial took significantly (P<0.05) less number of days for clinical recovery. The results endorsed zinc as a viable non-antimicrobial alternative.


  • Study on epidemiology of neonatal diarrhea complex in calves and therapeutic potential of zinc.
  • Zinc alone or in combination with antimicrobial was found to have good success in treating calf diarrhea.

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