Attention! This is a potentially life-threatening condition for your Cow. Time is of the essence, contact your veterinarian immediately.


Cryptosporidiosis is an important zoonotic gastrointestinal disease caused by infection with cryptosporidium protozoa, predominately C. parvum. C. andersoni, C. baileyi and C. meleagridis have also been isolated from outbreaks of disease incidents in cattle. Cryptosporidiosis is characterized by the the onset of scour in young calves. Scouring calves have been found to shed large amounts of oocysts in their feces. Adult cattle and recovered animals will continue to shed oocysts, but in smaller amounts.

C. parvum is transmitted by fecal-oral route. Calves become infected through eating, drinking, or licking feces shed by infected animals or feed, water, soil, equipment or personnel which have been contaminated with oocysts of cryptosporidium.

Incubation period
The incubation period on average in calves is 4 days.


Profuse diarrhea
Mild to moderate yellowish watery diarrhea w/ mucus
Bloody diarrhea
Loss of condition
Loss of appetite


  • History
  • Clinical signs
  • Physical exam
  • Fecal floation test
  • stained biopsy/necropsy specimens
  • PCR
  • antigen-capture ELISA
  • IFA


Supportive therapy


  • Practice good sanitation and biosecurity

Article Reference

Age Range

The disease most commonlt occurs in neonatal calves from one to two weeks of age.

Risk Factors

  • Keeping young calves on overcrowded lots or pastures
  • Unsanitary environments
  • Rodent infestation
  • Improperly storing cattle feed


  • Cryptosporidium parvum
  • Cryptosporidium andersoni
  • Cryptosporidium baileyi
  • Cryptosporidium meleagridis

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