Coccidia are parasites that are present in virtually all cattle. Their life cycle begins as oocysts are ingested from contaminated bedding grounds. Typically calves will be infected from nursing or licking themselves or others who have been in contact with contaminated feces. Once ingested, coccidia rapidly reproduce and multiply, invading the intestinal lining. Although bloody diarrhea is the symptom most often associated with severe outbreaks, subclinical infection can interfere with normal growth and development and can suppress the immune system which compounds the problem at times of stress such as weaning and bad weather at calving time. About 21-28 days after ingestion these oocysts are shed in the feces and the cycle starts again.
Calving ground management by providing fresh bedding in confined areas and moving cattle to clean bedding areas if possible will help to reduce re-infection. The use of ionophores (such as Bovatec & Rumensin), Amprolium, and Deccox are effective strategies to kill the parasites in the cow herd so over time the number of Coccidia are significantly reduced and infection in the newborn calves is largely prevented. Your veterinarian and mineral supplier can work with you to formulate a mineral or trace mineralized salt with a coccidiostat to prevent outbreaks.
*For more information, please contact Craig at (403)-894-3147