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Am J Vet Res. 1980 Jul;41(7):1143-9.

Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin in feces and intestines of calves with diarrhea.


Two experiments were conducted to evaluate detection of Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin (ST) in the feces of calves as a method for implicating E coli in neonatal calf diarrhea. The first experiment evaluated the use of the infant mouse test for detection of ST in the feces of calves with naturally occurring diarrhea. Simultaneous identification of bovine enteropathogenic strains of E coli (EEC) and of other infective agents implicated in neonatal calf diarrhea was attempted in these samples. The ST was detected with certainty in only 7 of 41 samples from calves less than or equal to 3 weeks old. Enteropathogenic E coli, however, was detected in 27 samples. In 23 of these 27 samples, EEC was the only recognizable diarrheagenic agent. In a small percentage of the samples, Salmonella, rotavirus, coronavirus, and cryptosporidium were recognized alone, in combination with each other, or with EEC. In the second experiment, 6 calves were fed colostrum from cows inoculated with the bovine EEC strain B44; 6 were given colostrum from cows vaccinated with non-EEC strain 28F, and 4 were given milk from nonvaccinated heifers. Two of the calves that were given colostrum from cows inoculated with strain B44 were challenge exposed with the non-EEC strain 28F. The remaining calves were challenge exposed with the EEc strain B44. Fecal samples were taken from these calves at intervals and were examined for the presence of ST and of the challenge-exposure organism. The ST was detected in approximately one half of the fecal samples obtained, and it was most often detected in the early stages of the induced diarrhea. Calves were observed to shed the challenge-exposure EEC strain for long periods in the absence of diarrhea or detectable amounts of ST in the feces. The ST was detectable in fecal samples when the diarrhea was severe and when the dry matter content of the fecal samples was low.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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