Thirty-eight, one- to two-week-old calves with experimentally induced Escherichia coli diarrhoea were randomly assigned to three treatment groups. Two groups of 15 calves were treated intramuscularly once daily for three days with either danofloxacin mesylate at 1.25 mg/kg bodyweight, or with baquiloprim/sulphadimidine as a positive control (10 mg of combined active ingredient/kg); eight calves were treated with 0.9 per cent sodium chloride solution as a negative control (1 ml/20 kg). Faecal consistency, demeanour, hydration status, appetite and bodyweight were monitored before, during, and for four days after treatment by an investigator unaware of the animals' treatment. Before treatment, the clinical, biochemical, and faecal indices were similar among the groups. By 24 hours after treatment began, the proportion of observations of faeces recorded as of normal consistency was highest in the danofloxacin-treated group (26 of 60), compared with 16 of 60 in the baquiloprim/sulphadimidine treated groups and four of 32 in the control group. The proportion of calves with a normal demeanour was highest in the danofloxacintreated group at all the evaluations and these calves gained significantly (P<0.05) more weight (1.6 [0.27] kg) than the calves treated with baquiloprim/sulphadimidine (0.67 [0.36] kg). The calves in the danofloxacin-treated group maintained relatively normal blood pH values, whereas the calves in the control group became progressively acidotic. By the end of treatment, the mean bicarbonate concentration was significantly (P<0.05) higher in the danofloxacin-treated calves than in the control group. The pH of the calves in the baquiloprim/sulphadimidine-treated group changed little during treatment, but by three days after the last treatment their mean pH had dropped to the level of the calves in the control group. The mean bicarbonate concentration of the baquiloprim/sulphadimidine-treated calves, like that of the danofloxacintreated calves, was significantly (P<0.05) higher than that of the calves in the control group.
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