Cryptosporidiosis in Cattle

Moredun-logoSummary written by Elisabeth Innes BSc PhD and Stephen Wright BSc PhD

Taken from Moredun Foundation Newsheet Volume 4 No. 18 (2008)



  • white park cattleCryptosporidium causes diarrhoea in young livestock and is also infective to man
  • Transmission is via the faecal-oral route
  • Older livestock do not show clinical signs of infection, but nevertheless can act as a reservoir of infection
  • Following infection, calves are known to develop good immunity to Cryptosporidium and are resistant to a subsequent infection.
  • Oocysts survive well in cool, moist conditions and are resistant to standard water disinfection processes such as chlorination.
  • Rehydration is the most effective therapy available for all livestock species. Halofuginone lactate (Halocur TM produced by Intervet Animal Health) can also be very effective for the therapeutic and prophylactic treatment of cryptosporidiosis in calves when used in conjunction with rehydration therapy. However, this product is only licensed for use in calves.
  • Control is through animal management and hygiene procedures.
  • Ammonia based disinfectants or steam cleaning are the most effective methods of cleaning contaminated pens or utensils
  • Correct disposal of animal wastes will reduce environmental contamination with viable oocysts
  • Cryptosporidium is easily spread from livestock to people so it is important to observe good occupational hygiene and wash hands thoroughly before eating to help prevent transmission of infection.



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