Diarrhea in neonatal ruminants, or scours, is common in newborn calves, lambs, and kids. This can range from mild diarrhea without systemic disease to profuse, acute diarrhea associated with rapid dehydration, severe disturbance of acid-base and electrolyte balance, and sometimes quick death.
Losses from scours are considerable in small herds and flocks where hygiene is lacking. Escherichia coli and certain viruses are usually incriminated as the cause of gastro-enteritis infection. Calves deprived of colostrum are at much greater risk. Treatment by antibiotics is of uncertain value. Moving calf pens to fresh clean ground at frequent intervals has been found valuable in Kenya for clearing up outbreaks. In rangelands where the young suckle, perinatal diseases are usually not serious although salmonellosis has been responsible for early deaths in calves, lambs and kids.