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Diarrhea is one of the most likely reasons young beef calves become sick or die.(45) Besides its detriment to calf health and well-being, calf scours is costly to cattle producers due to poor calf performance, death, and the expense of medications and labor to treat sick calves. (3, 41) In addition, catching and treating young calves puts herd owners and their employees at risk of injury, and many producers become disheartened after investing long hours to treat scouring calves during an already exhausting calving season.
Calf scours is a complex disease, with many interrelated causes.(1, 2, 37) Agent, host, and environmental factors collectively explain scours, and these factors interact dynamically over the course of time. Cattle producers and their veterinarians must understand the relationships between these factors within the production system to control the disease or prevent its occurrence.(6)