Control of bovine coccidiosis with monensin: in nonresistant newborn calves

Fitzgerald, P.R.; Mansfield, M.E.

American Journal of Veterinary Research 45(10): 1984-1988


Newborn Holstein male calves were purchased within 3 days after birth and were removed from the local farms to the Dixon Springs Agricultural Research Center (Illinois, USA). They were hand-fed for 7 wk and then weaned to a prepared feed. Eight groups, each of 4 calves, were housed in separate pens. In each of 4 pens (pens 2-5), 1 calf was inoculated with sporulated oocysts of Eimeria bovis (and was not medicated); 1 calf was inoculated and given feed with added monensin at the dosage level of 10 g/906 kg of feed; and 2 calves were inoculated and given medicated feed with added monensin at the dosage level of 20 g/906 kg or 30 g/906 kg. In the 4 other pens (6 to 9), the calves were inoculated with E. zuernii and otherwise were given feed without or with added monensin as in pens 2 through 5. Another group of 5 calves (all kept in 1 pen), served as noninoculated, nonmedicated controls. At 14 days after inoculations with E. bovis, the single calves in each of the 4 pens that were given the nonmedicated feed began to show clinical signs of coccidiosis and discharged increasing numbers of oocysts. The other inoculated calves (given monensin) had fewer clinical signs and discharged fewer oocysts in the feces as the level of medication in the feed increased. The calves inoculated with E. zuernii developed only moderately severe infections when compared with those inoculated with E. bovis. Inoculated (with E. bovis) nonmedicated calves had severe reductions in feed consumption and weight, and 3 of 4 died. Calves given feed containing 10 g of monensin also had reductions in feed consumption and weight loss, but none died. Calves given feed containing 20 or 30 g of monensin had only slightly reduced feed consumption and no weight loss when compared with the noninoculated controls.