Electrolytes for calves from diarrhea: instructions for use

Electrolytes for calves from diarrhea: instructions for use

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One of the most dangerous diseases for calves is diarrhea, which, if not treated promptly, can lead to death. As a result of prolonged diarrhea, a lot of fluids and salts are excreted from the animal's body, which leads to dehydration. Therefore, it is important to restore the water balance by drinking with special solutions. The electrolyte for calves during diarrhea treatment can compensate for the loss of fluid, but it is important to correctly calculate the amount of solution, because its lack will not reduce dehydration.

In case of diarrhea, it is important to water the calves with an electrolyte solution to restore the water balance in the animal's body.

What is electrolyte

Electrolytes are vital minerals for any living organism. They contribute to the restoration of water-salt metabolism and acid-base balance, as well as help the complete absorption of nutrients. A lack of electrolytes can lead to a decrease in the performance of the body as a whole, the loss of a large amount of fluid, as well as muscle cramps and subsequently to the death of the animal. With diarrhea, it is the loss of electrolytes that occurs, which is the cause of dehydration.

The drugs themselves, containing electrolytes, are divided into 2 types:

  • water replenishing solutions for the treatment of diarrhea in milk-fed calves;
  • electrolyte powder preparations that maintain and normalize ionic equilibrium in older calves.

The difference between these two types is only in consistency. For young animals transferred from milk to plant food, the funds are presented in the form of a powder, which requires preliminary dilution with water.

Benefits of electrolyte for calves

Regardless of the type of drugs, their composition necessarily includes the following components and substances:

  • water, which helps to replenish fluid in the body;
  • sodium - one of the main trace elements involved in the formation of an electric charge on the membrane;
  • glucose, which facilitates the absorption of sodium in the gastrointestinal tract;
  • glycine is a simple amino acid that acts as a glucose auxiliary;
  • alkaline substances - they are designed to reduce metabolic acidosis, especially bicarbonates;
  • salts (potassium, chlorine) - are participants in the recovery process of the water balance;
  • thickeners that provide the necessary consistency of the drug;
  • microorganisms that are assistants in the normalization and resumption of the gastrointestinal tract.

Thanks to this composition, electrolyte solutions have a positive effect on the calf's body in case of diarrhea, restoring the water balance, and also normalizing the gastrointestinal tract, which makes it possible to stop diarrhea.

Indications for use

There are several reasons for the appearance of diarrhea in calves:

  • a disorder of the digestive system, which can occur as a result of feeding with a milk substitute, when switching to plant foods, vaccinations and other similar reasons;
  • diarrhea due to infection.

A calf with diarrhea quickly weakens and loses strength, so it is inactive and lies almost all the time

For the first reason, the intestinal flora is not much harmed. Therefore, the calves do not need intensive treatment, but they must be fed with electrolyte solution. In case of infection with the animal, it is required to conduct strict supervision, as well as to carry out timely treatment with other drugs in addition to the rehydration drug. Diarrhea caused by pathogenic flora can cause severe dehydration in the calf. Due to the loss of fluid, there is a sharp decrease in weight up to 5-10% per day. At the same time, the rate of rehydration increases as the degree of lost fluid increases.

Attention! The extreme phase (decompensated dehydration up to 14%) can be fatal.

Therefore, it is important to check the calves on a daily basis, paying attention to the following symptoms of dehydration:

  • dryness, lethargy and decreased elasticity of the skin;
  • irritation and restless behavior;
  • impotence, in which the calf cannot stand, eat or even drink;
  • the condition of the gums, the color of which in a healthy animal should be pink (dry and white tint means severe dehydration).

The percentage of dehydration can be found by the following signs indicated in the table.

Dehydration (%)



Diarrhea without other clinical symptoms, mobility and good sucking reflex


Inactivity, depressed appearance, when pinching the skin, its smoothing occurs in 2-6 seconds, a weak sucking reflex


The calf is inactive, lies all the time, the look is depressed, weakened, the gums are white and dry, the skin is smoothed when pinching for more than 6 seconds


The calf cannot stand up, the skin does not smooth out, the limbs are cold, loss of consciousness is possible


Fatal outcome

Method of administration and dosage

As long as the calf's intestines are functioning normally, it needs to be soldered off with an electrolyte preparation. But with a severe degree of dehydration, in which the animal does not even have the strength to rise, it needs to inject electrolyte solutions intravenously.

Electrolytes are used as a solution, but in order to achieve a therapeutic effect, it is required to calculate the volume of a rehydration drug as accurately as possible, because with a lack of it, diarrhea will not stop.

It is very important to water the calf or give it an electrolyte solution until the diarrhea has completely stopped.

You can correctly calculate the amount of electrolytes per calf using the following formula: you need to divide the percentage of hydration by 100, multiply the result by the weight of the calf (kg). This number will indicate how much electrolyte solution the calf needs to give along with milk (its substitute). If this number is further divided by 2, then the result will correspond to the amount of required liquid in liters.

Electrolytes can be used with milk in the following ways:

  • complete rejection of milk (substitute), using only a water-replenishing solution for the entire period of treatment;
  • gradual introduction of milk into the diet during treatment (for the first two days, give the calf only an electrolyte solution, on the third day give milk together with the drug in equal proportions, and on the last day of therapy completely switch to milk);
  • without excluding milk from the diet - in this case, a solution of electrolyte and milk is given in full, only at different times of the day.

Important! The electrolyte should not be mixed with milk; there should be a gap of at least 2 hours between drinking the solution and feeding.

Contraindications and side effects

As a rule, electrolytes have no contraindications and do not cause any side effects. Many veterinarians advise giving the sick calf exactly the purchased drugs, and not trying to prepare the electrolyte by mixing various substances on their own. In this case, you should definitely pay attention to the sodium content.

Attention! A large amount of electrolyte is not as harmful to the calf during diarrhea as a lack of electrolyte, because a small amount of solution will not stop dehydration and will not stop diarrhea.


Calf electrolyte is one of the most important drugs for treating diarrhea. This solution allows you to replenish the acid-base balance, as well as to normalize the water-salt metabolism in the animal's body.

Watch the video: Do You Know how to manage calf scours? (February 2023).

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