Our Friend, Cryptosporidia
In a Swedish study involving 26 herds (13 organic and 13 conventional), 259 cows and 221 calves researchers collected fecal samples to determine the presence of cryptosporidia.
Approximately one-half of the calves regardless of organic/conventional status had infections severe enough so that the calves were shedding oocysts in their feces.
Variation among herds suggested these factors influencing rate of infection among calves:
- age of the calf - one to three week-old calves are most likely to be shedding crypto compared to older calves.
- calves with cleaner bedding are less likely to be shedding compared to calves with soiled bedding.
- farmers' attitudes toward biosecurity - this factor should not come as a big surprise to any of us since these attitudes are the basis for reducing exposure to cyrptosporidia oocysts.
- Calve in clean surroundings.
- Once the calf stands up, get her away from adult animals including the dam.
- As soon as practical after birth feed plenty of clean high quality colostrum.
- House her in as clean environment as practical whether in individual or group pens.
- Provide plenty of clean wholesome milk/milk replacer.
Hoards' Dairyman article
For a quick picture of how common this infection is in the US (from 20 years ago but still probably pretty accurate) click here:
Crypto Overview USA