Calf paratyphoid (Salmonella), ( TSWANA NAME – Sebete) , is a bacterial infection which affects all animals includingcattle, birds, pigs, sheep and humans. It is more serious in young calves and weaned calves and can cause a wide range of symptoms.
In young milk fed calves, the disease is caused by a serotype Salmonella called Salmonella typhimurium. In weaned calves, the main cause of the disease is Salmonella Dublin.
The infection is carried from symptomless carriers, which is either the dam or other weaned calves when groups are mixed at weaning.
It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated pastures and feeds, housing, and contaminated stagnant waters.
Infection occurs after ingestion of causative agent. The affected herd may remain infected with Salmonella dublin for several years without causing a disease
- In young calves when the disease is caused by S.typhimurium, the characteristic symptoms include the following:
- In severe form, there is profuse yellow diarrhea with a very bad smell accompanied with septicemia and high temperature. Death may occur within 24 hours or less.
- In chronic form, the affected calf would have pasty dung, and is often unthrifty. In some cases, some calves would carry the disease without suffering adverse effects. This group of calves is called intermittent excretors. They may sometimes shed salmonella in their feces when they become stressed thus affecting other calves.
- In weaned calves, affected with S.dublin,symptoms include:
scouring which resemble the one caused by S.typhimurium may occur.
Septicemia, pneumonia, or meningitis.
Sometimes, scouring may be seen containing lumps of intestinal wall, blood and mucus. Infected calves would be dull, lack appetite and may also be coughing.
Occasionally, a group of calves may appear thrifty abruptly and sudden deaths may be observed.
- Isolate the sick calves to reduce the likelihood of infection to the remainder of the group. This is important because some infected animals do not show signs when they have the disease.
- Avoid feeding feeds contaminated with feces to calves.
- Vaccination using a live vaccine is a good control measure and this can be given from day old or soon after purchase of the calf.
- Give adequate colostrums (as soon as possible and as much as possible) to boost immunity of the calf soon after birth.
- Gentle treatment of purchased calves, e.g. good warm bedding, separate penning, feeding of fluid therapies and gradual increase of milk.
- Avoid purchasing replacement calves instead, it is advisable to rear your own replacement calves.
It is advisable to treat the animals as soon as possible with recommended antibiotics. The same drugs can be administered through the mouth or by injection.
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