There are several infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea in calves less than 21 days of age. Regardless of the cause, diarrhea results in increased loss of electrolytes and water in the feces of calves and decreases milk intake. Ultimately, this process causes dehydration, metabolic acidosis (the blood is more acidic than it should be), electrolyte abnormalities including a critical sodium deficiency, and a negative energy balance from the lost nutrients and lack of milk, explains Michelle Arnold, veterinarian with the University of Kentucky. 

Oral electrolyte solutions have typically been used to restore fluids, correct pH and electrolyte levels in the blood, and provide nutritional support with the added benefit of being relatively inexpensive and easy to administer. However, there are a tremendous number of products on the market to choose from and they differ considerably.

In the February 2013 Kentucky Dairy Notes, Arnold looks at the topic of oral electrolytes and provides guidance for selecting an oral electrolyte product according to the latest research.

Read "What to look for in an oral electrolyte product"

Source: February 2013 Kentucky Dairy Notes