Vecoxan® is used for the prevention of coccidiosis in calves and lambs. For more information on Vecoxan, including how and why to use it, watch the video below.
To prevent disease and reduce the impact of sub-clinical disease, treatment using Vecoxan® should be administered close to the time when exposure to coccidiosis is known to occur.
Exposure is required for protective immunity to develop. Therefore, treatments should be administered 8-15 days after moving to a high-risk environment or if historical data is available, approximately one week before the expected outbreak.
How to use Vecoxan – ‘No one size fits all’
There is ‘no one size fits’ all for treating coccidiosis on farms. It is important to speak to your vet about the best approach for your farm.
Treat whole group 1 week before expected clinical signs: Requires excellent records, knowledge of previous coccidiosis outbreaks & management history in herd/flock.
Treat 2 weeks after exposure or treat at time of stressfactor (e.g. dehorning, castration, transport, weaning, regrouping etc.)
Reactive treatment: Treat allcalves in a group when diarrhoea is first seen in 1 or 2 calves/lambs
It is important to always treat all the calves in the group, as coccidiosis is a group problem, not an individual problem.
A single administration to susceptible animals during risk periods is appropriate although a re-treatment may be necessary if the period of risk is prolonged.
Why use Vecoxan?
Licensed to prevent coccidiosis in both lambs and calves
Allows natural immunity to develop (1)
Higher daily live weight gain following use of diclazuril (2)
Environmentally friendly (3)
Check our new Vecoxan brochure
Philippe, P., Alzieu, J.P., Taylor, M.A. and Dorchies, P., 2014. Comparative efficacy of diclazuril (Vecoxan®) and toltrazuril (Baycox bovis®) against natural infections of Eimeria bovis and Eimeria zuernii in French calves. Veterinary parasitology, 206(3-4), pp.129-137.
Agneessens J, Goossens L, Louineau J, Daugschies A and Veys P (2006). Build up of immunity after a diclazuril (Vecoxan) treatment in calves, Poster at World Buiatrics Congress, Nice.
Van Leemput L. & Louineau., (2007). Diclazuril for coccidiosis in ruminants: safe for the environment? Janseen Animal Health, Beerese, Belgium.
This week, the judging for this year’s competition took place with the judges traveling to all four corners of Ireland to meet each of the lucky finalists.
The judges were particularly struck by the the attention to detail by all farmers. Each farmer was committed to rearing all their calves to the highest of standard and demonstrated care and compassion for their animals in doing so.
From birth through to weaning, each farmer was implementing best practice when is came to calf rearing and were excellent examples of how Irish dairy farmers are rearing calves on farms.
The ‘Pr€vention for Profit’ competition this year is focused on the newborn calf. The #MyCalfOurFuture concept is to highlight the importance of the newborn calf, to the future and sustainability of the farm, the farmer and their family and their rural economy.
The finalists were judged on the four key pillars of production. These pillars are nutrition, genetics, management and animal health; together giving an indication of that farms performance and profitability.
Through this competition we aim to showcase the management of Irish dairy calves by identifying farmers that implement best practice with regard to calf rearing.
The winning farmer will receive an all-expenses paid study tour to mainland Europe where they will get to spend some time on the top performing dairy farms to see and learn how their systems operate.
Keep an eye out in the Irish Farmer’s Journal where we will be featuring each of the four finalists!
Coccidiosis is an increasingly prominent disease in young calves and according to Eamon O’Connell from Summerhill Veterinary Clinic in Tipperary, farmers must be extra vigilant, particularly where hygiene is poor.
“When we started our practice 15 years ago, coccidiosis in calves was pretty much unheard of, whereas now, it is one of the main causes of disease that we are seeing on farm. Failure to control the disease can have a huge impact on a dairy farm, leading to massive labour costs and stress, not to mention the reduction in daily live-weight gain and thrive in the calves,” stated Eamon.
One farmer who witnessed the impact of coccidiosis on farm is dairy farmer, Shane Hanrahan, who is milking 110 cows, in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary. Hear Shane’s story in the video below.
“Historically, we had issues with coccidiosis when calves were turned out to grass. Following the advice of my vet, Eamon O’Connell, we implemented a rigorous preventative strategy using strict hygiene protocols and the oral solution, Vecoxan.
“It has worked really well for us. We’ve had no calf scour and calf health has never been better,” said Shane.
Coccidiosis in calves
Coccidiosis is a disease of the intestine and is often seen in calves ranging in age from 3 weeks to 6 months of age. The disease is caused by a tiny parasitic organism that damages the lining of the gut.
Clinical cases include watery diarrhoea, raised tail head and often the calf may be seen straining to pass faeces. More subtle signs of the disease can be decreased appetite and a reduction in daily live-weight gain.
“In Shane’s case, his calves were having issues with coccidiosis 2-3 weeks post turnout to grass. He is also seeing early cases of coccidiosis in younger calves indoors, particularly where calves are moving from individual pens to group pens and similarly, after stressful situations such as dehorning at 3-4 weeks old,” said Eamon.
Preventative plan for coccidiosis
“We tried other products on the market; however, Vecoxan has worked the best for us. Every calf now gets treated with Vecoxan at 4 weeks old, to prevent coccidiosis indoors, and receive a second dose at 2 weeks post turnout the to tackle the disease at pasture,” said Shane.
Vecoxan can be used as a preventative. The active ingredient, diclazuril has a short duration of action which allows exposure to the parasite and the development of natural immunity. This reduces the risk of reinfection going forward.
Eamon advised that the whole group are treated the same, as failure to do so could cause reinfection. If one calf is sick with coccidiosis, we must presume that a number of calves are sub clinical cases also.
He explained, “When the calves leave the individual pens and enter group pens, they should be left for 7-10 days to gain exposure to the parasite. The whole group should then be treated with Vecoxan as a preventative.
Similarly, when calves are let outdoors, they need exposure to the parasite and after 2 weeks post turnout, the whole group should receive their second dose of Vecoxan. On farms where records are available, the whole group can be treated one week before the expected outbreak.”
Vecoxan can be administered orally at a rate of 1ml per 2.5kg body weight. For example, a 50kg calf will receive 20mls of Vecoxan.
Hygiene is key to disease control
Eamonn stresses that Vecoxan alone should not be used in place of poor hygiene and a dirty environment.
“Feeding equipment and calf sheds should be cleaned and disinfected regularly and calves should be kept dry with a warm and comfortable straw bed.
“If your calves experienced coccidiosis last year, look at the paddocks that were a source of disease and avoid them if possible.
“Areas around water troughs and feed troughs can be a source of infection also, so make sure they are clean and dry. If the area begins to get mucky or wet, it is important to move the troughs to a new location,” stated Eamon.
Don’t take chances
Eamon concluded: “For farmers who suspect a case of coccidiosis on farm this spring or who have had a historic problem with the disease, it is critical to act promptly and contact your local vet to formulate a preventative plan.”
If you suspect your animals to have coccidiosis, contact your vet. They will carry out a full clinical examination and take faecal samples to confirm if it is coccidiosis. Treatment of your calves will be very much dependent on the outcome of the sample results.
Vecoxan – Added Benefits
Vecoxan can be administered to animals of any age or any weight. It is safe to use in calves, lambs, cattle and sheep that are indoors or outdoors.
Studies have shown that dairy heifers treated with Vecoxan achieved better average daily live-weight gains than those treated with a toltrazuril based product.
Vecoxan is environmentally friendly as the manure from treated animals has no environmental concerns and can be safely applied to land.
We recently caught up with Westmeath dairy farmer, Michael Clarke to see how he got on tackling cryptosporidium on his dairy farm, which had been a problem up to the spring of 2020.
“2021 was the best year we’ve had in terms of calf health, with little or no sick days. Calf housing is still number one, but accurately following a solid vaccination programme against rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli has had a huge impact,” said Michael.
The Clarkes converted to dairying in 2010. They bought 200,000L of quota under the new entrant scheme and started off milking 48 heifers. They have since built the herd up to 270 cows.
The Westmeath dairy farmer had a bad run with cryptosporidium some years ago. “It was a nightmare. It involved shocking work over two to three weeks, keeping calves alive through feeding electrolytes and water – not to mention the cost of treatment and the loss of a few calves,” explained Michael.
It was after this episode and following the advice of his vet, John Moore, that Michael decided to get on top of cryptosporidiosis and make an oral solution to tackle cryptosporidium a critical component of his prevention programme.
Cryptosporidium is one of the main causes of scour in calves less than four weeks of age. As part of its life cycle, Cryptosporidium produces huge numbers of oocysts, which are shed in the faeces of infected calves. Older animals can act as a reservoir of infection.
A contaminated environment can serve as a source of oocsyts for new infections to occur. At peak shedding, there may be as many as 10 million oocysts per gram of faeces and it can take as few as 10 of these to cause disease in young, susceptible calves.
Typically, clinical signs appear in calves from 5 to 14 days old and can vary greatly from mild diarrhoea to severe, watery scours and eventually death. Calves become rapidly dehydrated and suffer loss of appetite.
Late intervention was a big issue on Michael’s farm, with oral solutions only administered after the first calves were diagnosed with cryptosporidium.
“We had the first outbreak in 2018. It didn’t hit until around the 7th of March when most of the cows had calved. In 2019, it came much earlier – around the 22nd of February. This was right in the middle of calving. Intervention came too late,” said Michael.
Michael’s Veterinary Practitioner, John Moore said where cryptosporidium is a problem on a farm the use of the oral solution should be a critical component of the prevention programme.
“As the disease hits so fast, it can get out of control before the farmer has time to take action. Mortality can be high and even when calves survive, thrive can be severely affected.
“All calves should be treated daily from 24 to 48 hours old for seven consecutive days. Dosage levels should correspond to the weight of the calf and when used as a treatment make sure the calf is fully hydrated and bright before use,” he stressed.
“Use of the oral solution as a prevention is a more economical option than the massive labour, stress and cost involved in treating sick calves as well as the potential losses from dead calves and poor thrive in those that survive,” John added.
This oral solution, containing the active ingredient Halofuginone lactate, it is only available on veterinary prescription.
Learning from the past
Michael said: “Since 2020, we don’t wait for the disease to hit. Instead, we start the programme at the beginning of the calving season. Calves receive their first dose the day after birth for seven days.”
Vaccinating the cows prior to calving has also become a critical component of Michael’s vaccination programme.
“We saw fantastic results in controlling cryptosporidiosis, however in that first year, some calves started to show positive signs of rotavirus at around 10 days old.
“I talked to John and we now vaccinate the cows three weeks pre-calving for rotavirus and then protect the calves against cryptosporidium from the start of calving season. I get great peace of mind with this broad range of cover,” said Michael.
Calves are also given plenty of colostrum within a few hours of birth and close attention is paid to nutrition levels and to bedding, hygiene and ventilation.
“It’s a must to have your sheds properly power washed and disinfected before calving starts. Three to four weeks into calving, the disease pressure is at its highest, so in more recent years, we clean out the calf shed every 10 days. That, along with accurate treatment and good management has been effective at keeping the disease at bay,” concluded Michael.
Now we’re looking for the best dairy calf rearer in the country! #MyCalfOurFuture
This year, the Pr€vention for Profit competition is focused on calves. The #MyCalfOurFuture concept highlights the importance of the newborn calf to the sustainability of the farm, the farmer, their family and the rural economy.
This competition is aimed at dairy farmers who are maximising their on-farm profitability by focusing on the four key pillars of production – Nutrition, Genetics, Management and Animal Health. We aim to showcase the management of Irish dairy calves by identifying farmers who implement best practice when it comes to calf rearing.
Of those that enter the competition, there will be one dairy farmer selected from each of the four provinces as finalists. The four finalists will be assessed based on the four pillars of production. A panel of four judges will conduct a single half day farm visit to assess their calves’ level of productivity and profitability.
The winning farmer will win an all-expenses paid study tour to mainland Europe to visit some top-performing dairy farms, to see and learn how they operate. For your chance to win, click the link below. Good luck!
Please read the terms and conditions of the competition, here.
The newborn calf will face many infectious diseases in the early stages of life, with calf scour being one of the most common challenges.
Creating a calf health plan now, will help reduce the risk of calf scour occurring in the first place. For Cork dairy farmer, James Murphy, this means making sure colostrum is of the highest quality, in addition to ensuring good environmental hygiene and management on farm.
James highlights the key steps he is taking in preparation for calving 2022 and why vaccination plays such an integral role in his calf health plan to reduce the risk of calf scour occurring on his farm.
Good Colostrum Management – Key to preventing calf scour
Calves are most at risk of calf scour during the first 4 weeks of life; therefore, rely entirely on good high-quality colostrum for protection.
Paul Ryan, Vet Practitioner with Waterside Vets, Co. Limerick, said that “to achieve adequate protection from calf scour, we recommend vaccinating the cow or heifer with the Bovilis Scour Vaccine 12-3 weeks prior to calving.
“This will allow her to increase the concentration of antibodies produced in colostrum antibodies against the main calf scour causing pathogens,” said Paul.
It is critical that the calf receives three litres of good-quality colostrum as soon as possible after birth. The calf should also be fed within the first two hours of birth, to obtain the necessary antibodies which will kick start the calf’s immune system and protect against disease.
According to James, “vaccinating the cows prior to calving gives us an extra boost of confidence going into the calving period as we know the colostrum contains the critical antibodies to reduce the risk of calf scour.
“We place a big emphasis on getting the colostrum right and into the calf as soon as possible after birth. We operate the 1,2,3 rule of colostrum, and use a Brix Refractometer to ensure calves receive high-quality colostrum with a reading greater than 22%.”
Calf health programmeto reduce calf scour
The direct cost of treating calf scour can be easily determined from treatment costs and losses, but the overall indirect losses, such as reduced growth rates and labour requirements, are often underestimated.
“We vaccinate against calf scour for two main reasons: Animal welfare and labour. We don’t want the animals getting sick, and from an animal performance point of view, it is important that they reach their target growth rates. Sick calves also add to the workload at an already busy time of year,” explained James.
He continues, “since vaccinating with the Bovilis Scour Vaccine, we have had no sick calves and there is less pressure on the animals as well as the people working on the farm.”
It is important to remember that calf scour vaccination is not a substitute for good hygiene, housing, and environmental factors. Every attempt should be made to keep housing clean and dry, and reduce draughts, where possible.
All feeding equipment should be disinfected after every milk feeding and calf pens should be cleaned out, power washed and disinfected between batches of calves to reduce the build-up of bugs.
Bovilis Scour Vaccine – At A Glance
Single shot primary course.
Low dose volume (2ml shot).
Broad window of vaccination (Vaccinate pregnant cows 12-3 weeks pre-calving).
Reduces the severity of diarrhoea caused by E. coli (K99).
Reduces the incidence of scours caused by rotavirus.
Reduces the shedding of virus by calves infected with rotavirus and coronavirus.
The Bovilis Scour Vaccine is a single-shot injectable vaccination, given to pregnant cows to subsequently help protect the calf from diarrhoea caused by rotavirus, coronavirus and E. coli (k99), once the calf has been fed sufficient colostrum.
The Bovilis Scour Vaccine is a single 2ml vaccine. It is administered to pregnant cattle 12 – 3 weeks prior to calving. It is given into the muscle of the animal.
The Bovilis Scour Vaccine will stimulate the dam to produce antibodies which will protect the calf against rotavirus, coronavirus and E.coli (K99). These antibodies will be stored in the dam’s colostrum. The dam will pass these antibodies to the calf through the colostrum at the first milk feeding.
This is why is is crucial that the calf receives adequate colostrum as soon as possible after birth.
Remember the 1,2,3 rule when feeding colostrum. In the 1st 2 hours, ensure the calf gets at least 3 litres of colostrum. Feeding the calf good quality colostrum will enhance the protection of the calf against these scour causing pathogens.
New additions to the Bovilis Scour Vaccine
The Bovilis Scour Vaccine has undergone some recent changes. The following are some of the changes to note:
The vaccine pack has changed from blue to purple packaging.
A new 50 dose pack size, is now available to complement our current 5 dose and 20 dose presentations and to support use whatever the herd size.
All presentations are being transitioned from glass to a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottle, instead of glass vials, to reduce the risk of breakage.
Bovilis Scour Vaccine – How does it work?
Single shot primary course
Low dose volume (2ml shot)
Intramuscular (IM) administration
Broad window of vaccination (Vaccinate pregnant cows 12-3 weeks pre-calving)
Why choose the Bovilis Scour Vaccine?
Reduces the severity of diarrhoea caused by E. coli (K99)
Reduces the incidence of scours caused by rotavirus
Reduces the shedding of virus by calves infected with rotavirus and coronavirus
Unique 28 day in-use shelf life
Reduces the risk of breakage with new PET bottles
Available in 5, 20 and now 50 dose packs
NEW calf scour guide
Want to learn more about calf scour and how you can use the Bovilis Scour Vaccine to protect your calves against scour? Check out our NEW Calf Scour Guide by scrolling through the PDF document below.
Ask your vet about our new Calf Scour Guide and how you can use the Bovilis Scour Vaccine to help reduce the risk of calf scour occurring on your farm.
This year, the Farmers Journal #DairyDay will be held virtually on Tuesday the 24th of November. The virtual event is divided into three different sessions which can be viewed for free at here
As we move into the winter months, it’s a great time to reassess the herds winter vaccination plans prior to calving next spring. MSD Animal Health advise that a month pre-calving is a good time to give a booster shot of Bovilis IBR Marker Live.
Also, the time for scour vaccination is soon approaching. Remember, vaccinate cows & heifers 12 to 3 weeks prior to calving to provide passive protection to calves through colostrum feeding against three common causes of scour. For more information on winter vaccination, talk to your vet.
See some of our product and disease brochures below. If you have any questions, please contact your local vet to discuss in more detail.
As part of the Green Acres program, Agriland have constructed a Calf Health and Management series. As part of that series, Suzanne Naughton from MSD Animal Health discussed some of the key challenges when purchasing calves and the role of vaccination throughout the rearing period.
While calf purchase price and the genetics of the calf are foremost in terms of making a profit on calf-to-beef systems, calf health is also a pillar which deserves significant consideration. Focusing on hygiene and vaccination is the best policy to ensuring this happens. Pneumonia and scour are the two major illnesses that compromise calf health and reduce lifetime performance.
Prevention is always better and cheaper than the cure and a health plan should be implemented on-farm. It should be noted that no amount of vaccination can overcome a lack of quality colostrum administered to the calf at birth and the bacterial and viral challenges calves face when the environment they are reared in is not up to scratch.