How can cryptosporidiosis be prevented?
Cryptosporidiosis is a widespread problem in newborn calves that mainly affects calves with a poor immune system. Therefore, good colostrum management is essential. In general, this means from the 1st milking 2 – 3 liters should be fed within the first 2 hours after birth. Within the first 12 hours after birth, another 2 liters should be given. The colostrum should contain at least 50 g IgG/liter, which can easily be checked using a colostrometer or refractometer.
The second pillar of cryptosporidia prevention is hygiene in the calving box and calf hut. If possible, the calving box should be mucked out after each calving. Also, the use of the calving box as a sick box is to be rejected urgently. Both measures considerably reduce the pathogen pressure on the calf. Calf huts should also be kept clean and dry. Before the calf huts are re-occupied, they should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. When disinfecting, care must be taken to the fact that cryptosporidia are resistant to many disinfectants. Disinfectants that are suitable for destroying cryptosporidia and other unicellular parasites usually state this.
Furthermore, feed additives that stabilize gut health and improve gut integrity can help to prevent cryptosporidiosis, as it requires much higher numbers of cryptosporidia to establish an infection in a healthy gut compared to a gut with preexisting disorders. If a calf has fallen sick, it is most important to keep the milk uptake high, as water and energy loss from the gut must be compensated to reduce the impact of diarrhea. Bitter substances have proven to improve milk intake in calves, even during diarrhea.