Written by Administrator-GL   
Monday, 30 March 2009

Title: Scours-Cryptosporidiosis

Very similar to Coccidiosis, these oocysts (eggs) are shed in great numbers and infect young kids via oral contact (fecal contamination of the feed or water supply). Infection can be detected as early as 5 days of age (neonates will pick up the oocysts from the teats of the dam who have laid in infected areas).

This is a zoonotic disease, in other words, transmittable between species including humans. Baby kids typically are infected within the first week of life and are fairly resistant by 4 weeks of age. Other symptoms include, dehydration, anorexia, high morbidity (because of dehydration). Scouring can last up to 2 weeks and can be continual or intermittent. Other symptoms may include, depression, rough hair coat, inappetance, electrolyte imbalance, acidosis and death may occur. Spontaneous recovery may also occur. NO specific treatment exists, anti-coccidial drugs and antibiotics are not successful as a treatment. Scours are yellow or pale, watery, and contain mucus. The persistent scouring causes weight loss and emaciation. In most cases, the scouring may stop on it's own after several days.

Improve hygiene, remove infected kids from others, clean pens daily (Oocyst infected areas can be destroyed by ammonia, 10% formalin, freeze-drying, and exposure to temperatures <32F (0C) or >149F (65C). Ammonium hydroxide, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, 10% formol saline, and 5% ammonia are effective in destroying oocyst infected areas). The disease is difficult to control and difficult to diagnose with normal light microscopy but can detected by phase-contrast microscopy. Your vet will need to know this (many do not).

Fluid therapy is a must and because the scouring may last up to 2 weeks, milk withdrawal is not possible. Instead more frequent feedings, alternating milk with other fluids, (electrolytes and water) may help the gut avoid undigested lactose.
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