Cryptosporidium parvum: What to do when your calves have it and how to prevent it

Cryptosporidium parvum (C. parvum) is a parasite that commonly infects dairy calves in the first month of life.

Assessing calf health

Healthy calves are productive calves. Click here for more information on what to look for when assessing calf health.

Salmonella Dublin risk increasing in Ontario

The cattle adapted strain of Salmonella known as Salmonella Dublin is becoming increasingly prevalent in Ontario. Surveillance data reported by the Animal Health Laboratory in Ontario indicates that positive diagnostic samples continue to be identified from new premises each month.

Symptoms and signs of disease

Knowing what is normal, and what isn’t, is key to catching health problems quickly.


Neonatal calf diarrhea, also known as scours, is one of the most common calfhood illnesses and can be a big problem for producers.

Respiratory problems

Early detection is extremely important for the successful treatment of respiratory disease and preventing the long-term impact of respiratory disease on calf health, welfare, and productivity.


The navel is the gateway to the liver. Bacteria enter a calf’s circulatory system by way of the navel into the liver, and then into the bloodstream.

Nutritional diseases

Good nutrition can form the foundation for healthy calves. A well-managed feeding program can help calves avoid common roadblocks to success.

Common diseases

Strategies for combating common calfhood diseases.

Working with your veterinarian

Your vet has first-hand knowledge of your farm and is familiar with your animals and management style. Working closely with your vet provides a second opinion and can help you assess your operation to manage animal health risks and set goals.

Why are calves so vulnerable to illness?

Calves are born with an underdeveloped immune system. Key parts of a calf’s immune system are present, but at much lower levels than an adult cow. This means the newborn calf’s immune system is slower to respond to pathogens (disease-causing bacteria, viruses, or microorganisms) and when it does, the response is weak.


Work with your herd veterinarian to develop disease treatment and prevention protocols that include judicious use of medications. Administring only when appropriate and careful storage and handling are essential to getting the most out of medications.


Euthanasia is a necessary reality of raising livestock. Euthanasia is necessary when a calf becomes ill or injured and treatments to alleviate pain or to treat the illness are ineffective or there is little hope that the animal will recover. Under these circumstances, using an approved method for euthanasia is often the best thing to do for the animal.