Diarrhoea is caused by a number of infectious agents including viruses, bacteria, cryptosporidia and coccidia. Good housing and feeding practices along with good nutrition should reduce the incidence of calf diarrhoea. Calves with severe diarrhoea need oral or systemic rehydration, and antibiotics should be used on calves with diarrhoea caused by bacterial infections. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Metacam reduce inflammation of the gut and help calves return to health faster, improve appetite and increase weight gain.

Time to starter consumptionYoung calves with diarrhoea exhibit sickness behaviour that suggests they are experiencing pain, which contributes to their failure to thrive. It’s been proven that calves given Metacam according to label directions returned to health faster, had improved appetite and increased weight gain. In clinical trials conducted by a research team at the University of Guelph, Metacam 20 mg/mL Solution for Injection was evaluated as an adjunct therapy in calves with naturally occurring diarrhoea.5 The team determined that calves treated once with Metacam at the onset of diarrhoea:

Total weight gain

  • Had a stronger appetite
  • Needed less assistance when being fed milk
  • Began eating starter feed at a younger age
  • Ate starter feed at a faster rate
  • Consumed more water
  • Had a greater weight gain
  • Exhibited less pain-related behaviour.
  • Tended to be weaned earlier

A single treatment with Metacam 20 mg/mL Solution for Injection at the onset of diarrhoea provided relief from the pain of diarrhoea and, more importantly, helped keep the calves eating and growing. The study demonstrated that this difference in feed intake and growth among the calves treated with Metacam was still present weeks after the diarrhoea resolved. This was reflected in the more than 4 kg greater growth in these calves, suggesting a substantial economic return on investment (ROI). Additionally, because compensatory gain in young calves is minimal, growth differences early in life can translate into substantial production advantages later.

Time to starter consumption

In addition, Metacam-treated calves were observed returning to normal activity levels and vigour within two to three days after a period of rest, while placebo-treated calves remained inactive for almost a week.

5. Todd CG, Millman ST, McKnight DR, et al. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug therapy for neonatal calf diarrhoea complex: Effects on calf performance. J Anim Sci 2010;88(6):2019–2028.