April showers bring May scours
By Georgeann Wearin
According to area veterinarians, scours in calves aren’t really prevalent until there is more precipitation. Dr. Gary Sears of the Hyannis Veterinary Service said that he has seen a relatively mild level of scours this year.
“It seem like the end of April and the month of May are tougher on scours,” said Sears.
The severe spring weather did cause some problems with the area calf crops in other ways. Dr. Jim Furman of The Animal Center in Alliance said that “purple gut” was a concern earlier this spring. Clostridium perfringens type CD or otherwise known as “purple gut” is seen in stressed calves. Because of the severe winds and cold temperatures the newborn calves would bed down for 24 hours and not eat. When they did get up to eat the cows had too much milk and the calves gorged on it. They would then bloat. Dr. Furman reported that the condition can be treated with mineral oil and anti-biotics but the success rate is usually only 50%.
According to Dr. Furman, he hasn’t seen many other problems although ranchers seem to be calling him more than in the past. “The value of calves is up this year,” said Furman, “and that causes people to call you earlier to ask for help.”
Dr. Sears of Hyannis said that they saw more frozen ears and feet this year than they have in more milder years. He stated that the ranchers had a lot more work this calving season due to the harsher weather. “Our area as a whole is doing really well this year,” said Sears. “I believe that is due to the fact that we have very competent operators.”
Dr. Tim Knott of The Sandhills Veterinary Clinic in Arthur said that calving season has been pretty good in his area as well. “The weather might have caused a little more respiratory problems than normal,” stated Knott, “but I think as a whole it’s going pretty good.”
Every calving season has it’s particular woes and hopefully the bad spring weather is now a distant memory. Ranchers and farmers can look forward to branding season and hope for some much needed precipitation – keeping in mind that April showers bring May scours!
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Fresh spring growth is a welcome sight for producers looking for animal forage. However, this lush growth may also be the perfect set of conditions for a case of grass tetany.