Preventing scours early

Protecting calves against disease as early as possible after birth is essential to maximize lifelong health and performance. Because of the many stressors they face in the first few hours of life, calves are especially vulnerable to scours. The combined effects of scours — death loss, treatment costs and poor performance — can add up to thousands of dollars each year, so protecting against these potential losses is critical.

“The first two to three weeks of life is vital to getting calves started off right,” said Craig Bieber of Bieber Red Angus Ranch in South Dakota. “If you lose performance in these first few weeks, you set yourself up to lose a lot of performance over the entire life of the animal. By using a vaccine intervention, specifically Scour Bos®, we’ve seen the incidence of scours reduced significantly, getting calves off to a better start.”

Broad protection against scours

According to Bieber, the reduction in scours on his ranch can be tied directly to the broad-spectrum protection Scour Bos provides against the primary causes of the disease — coronavirus, rotavirus, K99 E. coli bacteria and Clostridium perfringens Type C. Compared to competitors, Scour Bos covers a larger number of key antigens and isolates to ensure this broad protection.

“With so much potential infection due to a variety of causes, choosing the vaccine with extensive coverage ensures more protection, and that’s what Craig has experienced on his operation,” said Kenton Carlson, Bieber’s Elanco sales representative.

Bieber used Scour Bos for approximately 10 years with satisfaction, but decided to try another product that appeared to be “a better deal.”

“When we tried the other product, we almost immediately started having issues with scours during calving that we hadn’t had before,” Bieber said.

“Last year, we switched back to Scour Bos, and this spring, we had virtually no scours problems.”

Vaccination flexibility

“The Midwest typically sees a higher incidence of scours, especially because of a wide range in temperatures and weather conditions during calving time,” said Carlson. “Scour Bos has a flexible vaccine window of up to 16 weeks prior to calving that allows Craig and other producers to ensure their vaccine protocol will help protect their calves against that stress.”

Unlike other scours vaccines that have a shorter vaccination window, Scour Bos can be administered 8 to 16 weeks pre-calving, offering the flexibility to vaccinate at preg-check or other timing based on each operation’s protocols and management practices.

“Many producers in our area give their vaccine in August or September, during ultrasound time,” said Bieber. “For our operation, we maximize our immunity by giving Scour Bos 9 in October, followed by Scour Bos 4 four to six weeks before calving. We have a lot of flexibility with this product.”

Herd-health planning

“Improving cattle production is a critical part of why I do what I do,” said Carlson. “Fall is a critical time to evaluate your health management protocols, and I enjoy working with producers like Craig to help identify areas of opportunity.”

That continual evaluation of your herdhealth protocol can make a big impact.

“We take a look at all of our vaccination protocols every year to make sure we’re doing the best job we can. We obviously left using Scour Bos and realized it was a mistake,” said Bieber. “Scour Bos is a product that works well for us.”

To learn more about the powerful, flexible protection of Scour Bos, contact your Elanco sales representative or visit