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Fecal Scoring in Dairy Calves

As we approach the dog days of summer and the period of heavy calving that is typical on most Virginia dairy farms this time of year, we can anticipate scours as a common health issue in baby calves. It is important to identify scours early on; however, not every case of abnormal stool is in need of treatment. Fecal consistency scoring in calves is a valuable tool that can aid in the identification, monitoring and treatment of

sick calves.

Any variation in color (except bloody) can be considered normal as the calves transition through feeding and stages of life. A calf with score 2-3 may be in need of electrolytes or further treatment. Hydration is the most important part of treatment and milk should never be withheld from scouring calves. Fecal scoring can be a useful tool when working with your veterinarian to make sure appropriate treatment is implemented promptly when necessary.

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