Fluid Therapy in Calves

Check out the key ingredients to look for in your electrolyte formulation.

There are many different electrolyte solutions sold anywhere you can buy animal health supplies. Different solutions have their pro’s and con’s so there are some key ingredients to keep an eye out for that are important to ensure dehydration is corrected.

The building blocks to an electrolyte solution: 
Sodium - to help correct dehydration
Potassium and Chloride - these are lost in the faeces when the calf is scouring
Glucose / Dextrose - energy source and to help with sodium uptake in the intestines
Amino acids ( at least one of Glycine, Alanine or Glutamine) - to help with sodium uptake, glutamine also helps with recovery of the gut
Buffering agent (at least one of bicarbonate, citrate, lactate, acetate or propionate) - to help buffer the acidity of the blood (scours causes the blood to become more acidic)

Other important things to note:
Ensure you follow the instructions of how to mix it up - if you add more powder than the label tells you, you can make the dehydration worse or the amount of electrolytes could be in toxic concentrations. 

Continue to feed milk. Calves still require nutrition and energy from milk.

DO NOT mix electrolyte powder with milk unless the label says you can. Bicarbonate interferes with milk clotting in the abomasum so any electrolytes containing bicarbonate should not be fed within 2 hours of a milk feed.