Diseases Diseases

What Are The Causes Of Calf Diseases


There are many respiratory calf diseases in young animals. The multi-factorial disease in young calves is enzootic pneumonia. It occurs in two systems; In house dairy calves and in house calves. House calves are reared for beef in a herd instead of the herd of origin. House dairy calves are reared for the replacement. Dairy calves can suffer from disease in any age. These calf diseases can be chronic, coughing pneumonia and enzootic calf pneumonia. After housing in the autumn, the old dairy calves are also vulnerable.there can be respiratory diseases in the suckler calves. These diseases occur in between the age of 2 and 5 months. The calves can also be suffered from pneumonia which are outdoor reared beef suckler.


There can be many causes of enzootic pneumonia in calves. In determining the outcome of an infection; infectious agents, environment, management and the immune status of the calves are very important factors. There can be many infections like viruses, bacteria and Mycoplasm, they are very dangerous to the calves. The primary infections are virus and mycoplasmal agents. The secondary infection involve bacterial agents. The defences of bacterial agents are weakened by the primary infections. The viral agents include the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), parainfluenza III virus (PI3), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus (IBR) and bovine viral diarrhoea virus (BVD).


The most common agents in calf diseases are mycoplasmal. They cause chronic form of enzootic pneumonia. in many acute outbreaks, Mycoplasma bovis has been identified as the causative agent. There are some of the most common isolated bacterial agents and these are Pasterurella and Hemophilus subspecies. The poor ventilation in calf housing is the main reason of these respiratory diseases. There are also some factors which are associated with the outbreaks of pneumonia in young calves; and these are cold, humid conditions, sudden changes in air temperature, stress due to different causes and change in the environment. The calves defence against respiratory agents can be affected by inadequate intake of colostrum or poor quality colostrum. Respiraory diseases can be increased by the weaning of calves before 5 weeks of age.

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There can also be many calf diseases which can be occurred due to some infections or the untidy environment. These are listed below:

  • Diarrhea which is the most common reason of deaths in the calves.
  • Salmonella species which causes diarrhea.
  • Clostridium perfringens type C
  • E.Coli, most of the calves are affected by this disease.
  • Septicemima which produces toxins and orghanisms in theblood.
  • Campylobacter spp. It is cause of calf diarrhea.
  • Rotavirus, it is present in feces of many calves.
  • Coronavirus, it is just like Rotavirus which causes diarrhea.
  • Bovine Diarrhea Virus (BVDV), it is the cause of the diarrhea in young calves and causes calf diseases. .
  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Eimeria spp. (coccidiosis), it is very difficult disease to handle in the young calves.
  • Giardia spp. It happens under unusual circumstances.
  • Pneumonia. It is actually the inflammation of the lungs. If the calves have nasal discharge, dry cough, body temperature is greater than 41°C, respiratory distress, and decreased appetite then that calf is suffering from pneumonia.
By Ali Javed, published at 04/03/2012
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