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      Prevalence, prediction and risk factors of enteropathogens in normal and non-normal faeces of young Dutch dairy calves


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          Between January and April 2007, 424 calves under 22 days of age from 108 Dutch dairy herds were sampled to estimate the prevalence of non-normal faeces (‘custard-like’—yellowish-coloured with custard consistency or diarrhoea: watery-like faeces) and the shedding of enteropathogens Escherichia coli K99 ( E. coli), Coronavirus, Cryptosporidium parvum ( C. parvum), Rotavirus and Clostridium perfringens ( Cl. perfringens). In addition, information was collected on animal characteristics and herd-management practices. The probability of detecting each one of five enteropathogens given a calf with ‘custard-like’ faeces or diarrhoea was estimated using Bayes’ rule and was based on the predicted probabilities from a multinominal model including each of five enteropathogens as independent variables. In addition, putative risk factors for the presence of each of five enteropathogens were analysed using logistic regression models with random herd effects.

          Fifty-seven percent of calves had faeces of normal colour (brownish) and consistency (firm), 23.8% (95%CI: 19.8–28.2%) had ‘custard-like’ faeces and 19.1% (95%CI: 15.5–23.2%) had diarrhoea. E. coli was the least detected enteropathogen (2.6% (95%CI: 1.3–4.6%) of calves, 9% (95%CI: 5–16%) of herds) and Cl. perfringens was most detected (54.0% (95%CI: 49.1–58.8%) of calves, 85% (95%CI: 77–91%) of herds). E. coli and Coronavirus were detected incidentally in only one or two calves per herd, whereas C. parvum and Cl. perfringens were frequently detected in up to four calves per herd. For calves with ‘custard-like’ faeces, the probability of detecting Rotavirus from a calf in its first week of age was 0.31 whereas for a calf in its second week, there was a 0.66 probability of detecting C. parvum. The probabilities of detecting E. coli, Rotavirus and C. parvum in calves with diarrhoea in their first week of age were 0.10, 0.20 and 0.43, respectively. In calves with diarrhoea between 1 and 2 weeks of age, the probability of detecting enteropathogens was 0.43 for C. parvum. None of the tested enteropathogens were related to ‘custard-like’ faeces or diarrhoea in the third week of age.

          Putative risk factors for E. coli, Coronavirus and C. parvum included the presence of peer-calves shedding Coronavirus, C. parvum or Rotavirus, respectively. Additionally, managerial risk factors such as non-optimal hygienic housing (for Coronavirus) and the routine use of antibiotics for diarrhoeic calves (for C. parvum) were found. No animal or managerial factors were associated with shedding of Cl. perfringens.

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          Most cited references30

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          A review of the importance of cryptosporidiosis in farm animals

          Cryptosporidium species are coccidian parasites with a large capacity to reproduce and to disseminate. Several species are known to infect farm animals, although the economic importance of cryptosporidiosis is highly host species dependent. This paper reviews the impact of cryptosporidial infections in livestock and poultry. For different farm animals, the Cryptosporidium spp. that occur, as well as their clinical and pathological features, and their interactions with other pathogens, are described. In addition, data concerning the prevalence, the transmission and the epidemiology of the disease are mentioned and a description of the economic losses associated with cryptosporidiosis in each of the hosts is given. Cryptosporidiosis seems to be mainly a problem in neonatal ruminants. Cryptosporidium parvum is considered to be an important agent in the aetiology of the neonatal diarrhoea syndrome of calves, lambs and goat kids, causing considerable direct and indirect economic losses. Avian cryptosporidiosis is an emerging health problem in poultry, associated with respiratory disease in chickens and other Galliformes, and with intestinal disease in turkeys and quails. Because of limited availability of effective drugs, the control of cryptosporidiosis relies mainly on hygienic measures and good management.
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            Aetiology of diarrhoea in young calves.

            Faeces samples were collected from 302 untreated calves on the day of onset of diarrhoea and from 49 healthy calves at 32 farms experiencing outbreaks of diarrhoea. At least four diarrhoeic calves were sampled on each farm, and samples were examined for rotavirus, coronavirus, cryptosporidium, enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli and Salmonella species. Although all these enteropathogens were excreted more frequently by the diarrhoeic than by the healthy calves, the difference was significant overall only for rotavirus. Rotavirus was excreted by 18 per cent of healthy calves, coronavirus by 4 per cent, cryptosporidium by 14 per cent, and no enterotoxigenic E coli or Salmonella species were detected. The most common enteropathogen in diarrhoeic calves was rotavirus, which was excreted by more than half the diarrhoeic calves on 18 farms. Coronavirus was excreted at a similar high prevalence on one farm, cryptosporidium on five farms and enterotoxigenic E coli on three farms. Concurrent infection with two or more microorganisms occurred in 15 per cent of diarrhoeic calves. There was no difference in the isolation rate of campylobacters between diarrhoeic and healthy calves.
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              Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli Infections in Newborn Calves: A Review

              Diarrhea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli is an infectious bacterial disease of calves that occurs during the first few days of life. The Escherichia coli that cause the disease possess special attributes of virulence that allow them to colonize the small intestine and produce an enterotoxin that causes hypersecretion of fluid into the intestinal lumen. These enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli are shed into the environment by infected animals in the herd and are ingested by newborn calves soon after birth. There is some natural immunity to enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, however, it often fails to protect calves born and raised under modern husbandry conditions. Hence, methods have been developed to stimulate protective immunity by vaccination of the dam. The protective antibodies are transferred passively to calves through the colostrum.

                Author and article information

                Prev Vet Med
                Prev. Vet. Med
                Preventive Veterinary Medicine
                Elsevier B.V.
                12 October 2009
                1 February 2010
                12 October 2009
                : 93
                : 2
                : 162-169
                [a ]GD Animal Health Service, P.O. Box 9, 7400 AA Deventer, The Netherlands
                [b ]Department of Farm Animal Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author at: GD Animal Health Service, Department of Diagnostics, Research and Epidemiology, P.O. Box 9, 7400 AA Deventer, The Netherlands. Fax: +31 570660345. c.bartels@ 123456gddeventer.com
                Copyright © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

                Since January 2020 Elsevier has created a COVID-19 resource centre with free information in English and Mandarin on the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The COVID-19 resource centre is hosted on Elsevier Connect, the company's public news and information website. Elsevier hereby grants permission to make all its COVID-19-related research that is available on the COVID-19 resource centre - including this research content - immediately available in PubMed Central and other publicly funded repositories, such as the WHO COVID database with rights for unrestricted research re-use and analyses in any form or by any means with acknowledgement of the original source. These permissions are granted for free by Elsevier for as long as the COVID-19 resource centre remains active.

                : 3 November 2008
                : 16 September 2009
                : 17 September 2009

                Veterinary medicine
                enteropathogens,non-normal faeces,dairy calves,risk factors,prediction
                Veterinary medicine
                enteropathogens, non-normal faeces, dairy calves, risk factors, prediction


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