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I'm sorry to hear about the trouble with your calf. It sounds like your calf did not get any colostrum which is likely to affect how is immune system is going to respond to everything. Colostrum, or the mother's first milk is rich in antibodies. Without it, the calf will be susceptible to all of the potential disease entities in the environment. It's too late now to give him colostrum. If he has failure of passive transfer, he can receive a plasma transfusion to acquire the antibodies if needed.
Scouring can be due to overfeeding (it doesn't sound like he's doing that), cryptosporidium (an intestinal parasite) or a host of other difficulties. The Bo-Se and Excenel are great choices. How many doses of Excenel have you given? How high was his fever? How many days did it last?
You should start to feed this calf some green forage -- grass hay or alfalafa for him to nibble on. It will help stimulate a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Did the tongue issue resolve after the Bo-SE?
It sounds to me like your calf may have Listeriosis. This is a potentially fatal infection. You can read about this disease at
Penicillin G is the drug of choice for this disease at high doses. Listeriosis would account for the drooling, high fever, tongue signs, and difficulty drinking/nursing. It is an infection of the brain stem which causes neurologic signs.
Check out the link -- let me know if the signs described there match what you see. Either way, I would also treat this calf with Pen G. It won't hurt and may be the answer you need.
Please let me know if you need more information.
Thanks for the additional history. It certainly helps. I'm glad to hear that he got colostrum. The amount you fed should have been sufficient. From your description above, the tongue travel and drooling are slightly improved, but have not resolved entirely.
I would not feed grain at all to a calf that young. Some calves will show a small interest in roughage like grass hay at early ages -- taking nibbles. I'm not suggesting that you feed it in any significant amount, just that you place a small amount in a feeder so that if he has interest, it's available. Since he has fresh forage available, this may be unnecessary.
When approaching a case, I try to see if I can make all of the clinical signs fit one disease -- usually animals don't have numerous concurrent diseases. The tongue travel is a unique sign combined with the fever. That's why I hit upon listeriosis.
The scours could be due to cryptosporidium (usually found in dairy cattle, but I've seen it in young beef breeds on occasion)or other intestinal parasites like coccidia. Both of these parasites produce mucoid diarrhea. Mucous is from increased residence time of fecal material in the rectum. The goblet cells produced mucus at a constant rate, and if transit rate of feces is decreased, then a larger than normal mucus pellicle will develop around the fecal matter. If there is no stool, mucus is formed, and deposited directly in the rectal lumen. So, in a nutshell, the mucous indicates an issue in the large bowel or colon/rectum.
Is there any evidence of coughing in your calf? Bovine Viral Diarrhea or BVD can cause mucoid diarrhea, fever, and excessive salivation without any evidence of difficulty breathing. You may see ocular (eye) changes with this disease as well like "blue eye". Another possibility is "enteritis" which is caused by Salmonella typhimurium or S. dublin. Clinical Signs of this disease include fever, diarrhea and dehydration. Feces are usually soft, then watery fluid and after 2–3 days contains mucous , blood and intestinal lining.
I hope that this may shed some light on the situation. Please let me know if this is helpful.
How did you check his stool for Salmonella? You would have had to culture his feces at a lab. I would treat him for BVD. TMS is not a good antibiotic for ruminants - it is broken down in the rumen and not as effective.
Here is a good link to a source on antibiotic choices:
Another link on calf scours -
A good link on BVD -
I would treat with procaine penicillin G. Use the labeled dose on the bottle. You can also feed with an esophageal feeder if needed - tubing the calf.
Please let me know what other info you need. I'm pretty sure your calf has BVD.
I'm so sorry to hear about your calf. I have seen calves have a piece of telescoping bowel cause the types of signs you had, but never this type of foreign body. I too am stumped as to how he ingested this. I would love to see the photos of the necropsy. Please email them to [email protected].
Again, my condolences on your calf.......