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April 1, 2014

Don’t let coccidiosis prevent spring calf success

With the UK recovering from the wettest winter on record and now basking in the mild spring weather, the perfect conditions are created for coccidiosis to go into overdrive. Scouring is the commonest disease seen in young calves and the greatest single cause of death so tackling coccidiosis should be high on every farmer’s list. Warm, wet days favour survival of the oocysts of the Eimeria parasite, so infection levels in calves are set to be high this spring.

So why should farmers worry? Scour is one of the most costly diseases to affect production and average losses may be in the order of £33 per calf.1In extreme cases where several calves die, then costs can be up to five times that. In the UK, it’s estimated that one in seven dairy breed calves and one in thirteen beef breed calves die in the rearing phase, with mortality at its highest during the first six months of life.1

Farmers should watch out for a rise in cases of coccidiosis at critical points this spring. Weaning, castration, transport and turn out can all act as immune system stressors and trigger outbreaks of disease.1 Warmer springs mean a potential increase of oocysts in the environment, on pasture, in bedding and around areas like feed troughs where calves mix in larger numbers so farmers must be aware of the risks out there.

Treatment with a single dose of diclazuril (Vecoxan® 2.5 mg/ml Oral Suspension) at the correct time can treat for coccidiosis while allowing natural immunity to develop, and reduce oocyst spread in the environment. This results in better feed conversion efficiency (FCE) and weight gain.2Where there is a known pattern of disease on the farm, Vecoxan® can be given metaphylactically 14 days after a known stress trigger or seven days before the time when disease normally occurs.

So this spring don’t forget the risk that coccidiosis can pose and make sure you nip it in the bud before it burns a hole in your wallet.



  1. http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/welfare/documents/cattle-rearing10mon.pdf
  2. Alzieu JP, Mage C, Maes L et al. Economic benefits of prophylaxis with diclazuril against subclinical coccidiosis in lambs reared indoors. Vet Record 1999;144:442-444 http://veterinaryrecord.bmj.com/content/144/16/442.abstract?sid=a1f7ce35-9e7f-4919-9cd0-441aacfe29fe


Vecoxan® 2.5 mg/ml Oral Suspension contains diclazuril 2.5 mg/ml. Legal Category POM‐VPS. Vm 00006/4145

Advice on the use of this or alternative medicines should be sought from the medicine prescriber.

Withdrawal periods:

Meat and offal: Lambs: zero days, Calves: zero days.

Use Animal Medicines Responsibly


For full product information please refer to the product SPC

For further information contact Elanco Animal Health, Lilly House, Priestley Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG24 9NL, Tel 01256 353131, Fax 01256 779510 Email elancouk@lilly.com