Calf Health Management Practices, Pre-Weaning Disease Levels And Calf Mortality – Westpoint Veterinary Group

6 Oct 2018

In a survey conducted on 21 dairy farms an average pre-weaning mortality rate of 3.4% was calculated from records from January 2011-2012. The average disease incidence of pneumonia and diarrhoea was found to be 7.7% and 11.4% respectively, and a large variation in calf management practices existed between farms.
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Calf health and management is an area of bovine medicine that is important for the future productivity and health of any dairy herd rearing their own replacements. Common calf diseases such as pneumonia, if experienced by a calf will not only impact its growth but also the survivability of heifers within a herd. However, calf health is not a topic that is routinely assessed, monitored and investigated unless a problem is identified. In a recent study, only 50% of vets regularly discuss calf mortality with their clients and just 10% of farmers said they discussed calf mortality
with their vet routinely2. Improvement to calf health on farm requires vets and farmers to be aware of the calf
rearing management practices and disease incidence. By understanding practices and performance at an individual
farm level, bespoke health and disease management plans can be implemented to improve calf health and welfare.


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