Homeopathic Remedies for Scours
Scours, or calf diarrhea, kills more newborn calves than any other disease, according to the Oregon State University Extension Service in their article “Causes and Treatments of Calf Scours.” According to the OSU’s research, calves born to nutritionally depleted, unhealthy cows are predisposed to the diarrhea because it is much easier for bacteria and viruses to invade the digestive systems of newborns if their immune systems are compromised. In order to help their herds survive, some organic farmers are researching natural and homeopathic remedies instead of using traditional veterinary treatments with antibiotics.
E. Coli (Escherichia coli) and salmonella bacteria cause the most instances of diarrhea in calves. The bacteria damage the cell lining of the intestines by producing a toxin that causes the cells to die. Two viruses, rotavirus and corona virus, and the protozoa cryptosporidium also infect the cells of the intestinal tract. They destroy the cells that help in the digestion and absorption of milk. This destruction of intestinal cells leads to fluid and electrolyte loss, and the resulting dehydration and acidosis kills the calves.
Oregon State says that “researchers and veterinarians now believe that the overall effect of oral (veterinary) antibiotics is detrimental to calves,” because the common viral and bacterial causes have become resistant. They advocate the administration of fluids with added electrolytes, and foodstuffs containing the natural biological products lactobacillis or streptococcus faecium–intestinal flora found in the gut of a healthy calf.
Homeopathy For Everyone, in a collaborative project of 17 milk cattle owners, suggests arsenicum album for distressed calves. Arsenicum album works against impaired nutrition with weight loss and the resulting anemia. Calves with “nutritional” scours caused by the over-consumption of milk can be given Calcarea phosphorica 200K. This remedy affects the lining of the intestinal tract to promote self-repair. China officinalis administered three times a day works against the dehydration associated with scours. Veratrum album stimulates the elimination of the toxins that cause the disease and also works to lessen the intestinal cramping associated with the diarrhea.
In his article, “The Natural Treatment of Dairy Cows”, Dr. H. J. Karreman recommends that calves with scours not be allowed to graze and that they be given HP arsenicum every four hours for watery diarrhea. He also suggests that calves with “pea-soup” scours be administered HP podophyllum to lessen the affects of the disease on the duodenum and small intestine. If the calf’s feces is bloody and/or slimy, Karreman proposes that HP mercurius corrosivus and the colloidal mineral “Ferro” be used to aid the body in binding nutrients to the intestinal lining and slowing intestinal contractions.