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, virus, or microorganism) and when it does, the response is weak. The immune system […]

Symptoms and signs of disease

Early disease detection Download our booklet on why calves get sick, the importance of colostrum, indicators of health and sickness, and working with your veterinarian. Assessing calf health Print out this cheat sheet and post it in your calf barn for a quick reference on assessing whether a calf is healthy or sick. Monitoring calf […]


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. Antibiotics Careful use of antibiotics can keep the valuable resource available and effective for the future. Vaccines Vaccines don’t just […]

Cleaning feeding equipment

Milk and milk replacer are ideal feed sources for bacteria. If not cleaned properly, milk feeding equipment can easily become a breeding ground for bacteria. It is vital that milk feeding equipment such as bottles, nipples, buckets, hoses, mixing instruments, storage containers, etc. are cleaned and sanitized after every use. Bottles, buckets, and nipples Bottles, buckets, […]

Approved methods of euthanasia in calves

Euthanasia, or the humane termination of an animal’s life, 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 […]