How often can u feed electrolytes?

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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:27 pm

regolith wrote:Four times a day feeding electrolytes is fine for a severely dehydrated calf - it can take that much to get them over it.
Sorry to hear about the calf.
Milk and electrolyte feeds are supposed to be at least four hours apart I think - the key is that additional water may interfere with milk clotting in the stomach, so you want to give time for the milk to be digested before giving electrolyte again.
As for feeding 'just' electrolytes, max out at 48 hrs. It's how we used to do it before vets started saying they needed the milk for energy (even though a scouring calf can't digest milk well). For mild scours I'd still alternate milk and electrolyte feeds, or add an electrolyte between milk feeds. For severe scours try electrolyte at 6 - 8 hr intervals and start back on milk only when the calf starts to recover and show hungry - provided it's no longer than two days without milk.

Thanks For this info I will definitely refer to it in the future. The other calf is showing signs of sickness too so I’ll be going by this along with advice I’ve had from the vet. Thanks so much.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby farmerjan » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:40 pm

@Regolith has it down pat as far as the basic way I would also do it. One thing, if these are sale barn calves, I would put them on corid after 3 days , for 5 straight days. Use 2 cc. straight down their throat or in their milk if they will drink it. Some never notice it and some won't drink a bottle with it. Most all mine want the bottle bad enough they don't seem to notice it.
There is so much stuff at the sale barns, and really, I have gotten calves from farms that have "different bugs" than I have and have them get sick. The biggest thing I deal with is coccidiosis and it will put them down quick. Then they are more likely to get pnuemonia and everything else on top of it.
If you go the every 4 hour route, only give a 1/2 bottle of milk, but give a full bottle of the electrolytes. And if at all possible, get the calf up to drink. He could have gotten some in his lungs when giving a bottle laying down. Been there done that. I have gotten them "draped" over a hay bale to just get them more upright. If they drink while laying down, the airway doesn't seem to "close off" and when drinking the liquid will get by and some will wind up in the lungs.

I also am a big believer in some sort of pro-bios type stuff and yes, yogurt or some keifir , sometimes called drinkable yogurt, will be very beneficial. They will get more out of the fermented products and it will be less upsetting to their stomachs. Also thicker so doesn't go through them as fast.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:13 pm

Thanks Regolith and FarmerJan - this is the advice I’ve been hoping for! So this calf has had me scratching my head. Yesterday morning when I walked in the barn I saw my dad had been there before me and hauled out the dead calf. The remaining one wasn’t so enthused about his bottle but drank it. After dinner when I went back the thing would NOT get up!! The straw around him was disturbed like he had been trying and struggling. He was not at all interested in my hand/fingers to suck on. I came back 15 min later and tried getting him up again, lifted up his back end, he stood on his back legs a bit and flopped right over. I got him a shot of penicillin and resflor immediately and went to call the vet. After that I went out with tube feeder of electrolytes and what do you know, he was up on his feet and in no way was I gonna even try tube that stuff into him, he rather drank it from a bottle no problem. Gave him milk in the eve and he’s been eating ever since! This morning I finally saw scours in the pen, about like yogurt consistency. But he’s been taking a bottle, even jumping around excitedly! Can anyone explain to me what he went thru? I gave him electrolytes in the afternoon just for precaution as I hardly trust him right now
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby farmerjan » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:47 pm

Sounds to me like coccidia. They will go from enthusiastic, to lethargic, and them sometimes back to enthusiastic. Just MY experiences with mine. That is why I go the corid route and a retired vet friend said not to mess with the mixing and all that, just give 2 cc straight down the throat for 5 days. They will get a "tummy ache" sometimes from coccidia and thrash around like a horse with colic occasionally. A "bloom" of coccidia in the gut can cause them to almost get bloated it seems too. This is just my experience and my thoughts.
I wouldn't consider yogurt like manure, scours. I like the calves to be a little bit soft rather than hard. Formed but softer. Coccidiosis will not always show up with blood in the manure so don't let that fool you. Lackluster appetite is the first sign for me. Weak getting up and "wobbling" like they are drunk and even falling down is another sign it has hit them. Since I have had it here at this barn where I have my nurse cows and calves, I treat for it before it can get a foothold. It usually hits them at 1-2 weeks and they always seem to be the calves that were doing great.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby SDM » Fri Jan 19, 2018 4:29 am

regolith wrote:... the key is that additional water may interfere with milk clotting in the stomach...


What if you just added the electrolyte powder to the milk replacer, no additional water?
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby redcowsrule33 » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:12 am

SDM wrote:
regolith wrote:... the key is that additional water may interfere with milk clotting in the stomach...


What if you just added the electrolyte powder to the milk replacer, no additional water?

No, it will interfere with the milk clotting. The only electolyte powder I am aware of that you can mix in with milk replacer is Diaque. Otherwise you need to space it out at least 30 minutes.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:04 am

Farmerjan, do you think I need to worry about coccidiosis if he ate good all day yesterday and never showed signs of lethargy since the day before? Just wondering because we are 1/2 hour from any vet to pick up corid. We don’t treat for it yet on our farm but it’s very possible he could have brought it with him. We are keeping him separate from our other cattle just in case.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:32 pm

You can also treat with Sulfa boluses. Do you have that? Like Sustain III
Edit: ALL cattle have Coccidiosis in their system. It only "bothers" them when they get stressed, like weather, moving to a new home, etc. I don't know, but I'm going to "assume" it runs high in bottle calves. They shed it in their manure, so your barn area/pen would be contaminated. If you plan to raise more bottle calves, I would suggest getting some Corid to automatically dose new calves to be on the safe side.
Last edited by Jeanne - Simme Valley on Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby farmerjan » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:37 pm

If he ate good and isn't showing any other signs maybe you won't need to treat. I would ask your vet. I forgot that you are north of the border and that your rules are different on medications. Here we buy corid over the counter. The medications that we are restricted on are any that can be feed additives. Don't know your rules on things like sustain boluses.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:49 pm

Yeah those rules are maybe for a good thing but they sure can be a pain.. we can’t just bring every little ache and pain to town but so far we’ve had good vets that will prescribe from what our description of symptoms. I don’t plan on getting any more calves right now. This guy will just have to drink a lot of milk! I’m slowly upping his intake of cow milk and today he got put outside in the sunshine much to his delight!
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:52 pm

We have Calf Span pills (sulfamethazine) on hand so that’s probably the same thing?
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby farmerjan » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:55 pm

Yes, sustain is sulfa. So it would be basically the same as Jeanne said. I would watch him close and if no more symptoms then great; if you see a repeat then I would treat to be on the safe side. Can you buy another calf directly off a dairy or do you only have the option of a sale barn? I only buy directly off a farm now. Too many sick and dead calves from the sale barn. Seldom lose one that comes from a farm.
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:14 pm

There are a few dairies around.. closest is probably 45 min away. I know one that’s just selling off it’s herd has very healthy calves, but I might just sit tight and wait and see if there’s any chance for a beef calf from neighbors as those pay off a lot better. Calving is ramping up around here so might be something yet. Holstein does taste great tho if we want but it’s always a little hard sending a pet to the freezer !
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby JCcattle » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:17 pm

These two I got from a guy who I’m guessing buys from dairies and he takes them to Alberta to be raised. I saw his trailer stuffed full of babies and I have a bad feeling about getting from him again. I don’t know how many dairies were represented in that trailer. :o
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Re: How often can u feed electrolytes?

Postby Jeanne - Simme Valley » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:51 pm

Lesson learned - the hard way.
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