How Can You Prevent It
- Provide sufficient quality colostrum at birth: 10% of bodyweight fed within the first three hours of life. Test colostrum using a refractometer
- Vaccinate animals to increase immunity
- Improve housing: ensure calves are in a draught-free area with adequate ventilation to remove moisture. Porous walls can harbour bugs so consider using a resin coating or plastic sheets. Concrete panels can be cold. Locate feeders and water troughs on the outside of pens to prevent bedding from getting wet.
- Hutches are good because they give you good isolation from disease and you can move them. Ideally, you should locate them on a concrete pad with a slope for drainage or use gravel to allow good drainage.
- Temperature: provide plenty of dry straw to keep calves warm. Straw is the best bedding because its super absorbent and allows calves to nest.
- At less than 15C, calves aged two weeks and under will feel the cold so use a jacket
- At less than 10C, calves aged three to eight weeks will feel cold so use a jacket
- If the temperature is colder at night and warmer in the day, take jackets off and put them back on
- Have a thermometer in the shed to check the temperature
- For every 5C drop in temperature below 10C, calves require an additional 50g of milk powder per day
- Have a clear protocol so all staff know what to do in colder weather
- Dont overstock
See also: Better calf housing advice
Risk Factors For Calf Pneumonia
Inadequate ventilation of calf barns increases the risk of disease due to the buildup of humidity, noxious gases, dust and bacteria content . The main environmental risk factor predisposing calves to respiratory disease is poor ventilation in calf housing . Cold, humid conditions, sudden changes in air temperature, stress due to different causes and change in the environment have also been associated with outbreaks of pneumonia in young calves .
Inadequate intake of colostrum or poor quality colostrum will affect the calves defense against respiratory agents and make them more susceptible to infection . Rearing systems where calves of different origin are mixed together at a young age suffer from high levels of respiratory diseases . Large, shared air spaces, calves from different age groups and poor sanitation between calf batches often make these systems even more vulnerable . The stress associated with management procedures such as disbudding and castration may also be associated with a high respiratory disease incidence.
Control and Prevention of Calf Pneumonia
Management of calf pneumonia is reliant on a good understanding of the causes and risk factors . The incidence and severity of calf pneumonia is closely allied with management and disease patterns on farms and so the best approach is to implement a control program tailored to the individual farms needs. . These approaches can be divided into three areas:
Etiology Of Aspiration Pneumonia In Large Animals
Inappropriate administration of therapeutic agents is a common cause of aspiration pneumonia in large animals and more common than in dogs and cats. Liquids given by via nasogastric tube or oral dose syringe should not be delivered faster than the animal can swallow. Oral fluids or treatments should be administered to ruminants with an oral esophageal tube that is passed into the rumen the location should be checked via auscultation.
Oral fluids and treatments administered to horses by means of a nasogastric tube should be done only by a veterinarian and with the horse properly restrained. In horses, negative pressure should be present while passing the nasogastric tube down the esophagus. If the tube is passed into the trachea, negative pressure will not develop, and the horse should cough. Additionally, it is advisable to start oral administration with water only to ensure the nasogastric tube is in the stomach and not the lung. Horses should cough if fluid is delivered into the lung.
The animal may regurgitate in the tube if the rumen or stomach is full. Administration of fluids should be stopped immediately if this occurs. Administration of fluids via nasogastric/esophageal tube is particularly dangerous when the patients tongue is drawn out, when the head is held high, or when the patient is coughing or bellowing.
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What To Do If The Goat Gets Cold
If goats are kept on the ground floor, the risk of cold-related disease in goats is high. And so the goat has to be kept on a platform 3 feet above the ground. Goat calves are more prone to colds as their immunity is much lower at this time.
If the goat gets cold, the first thing to do is to ensure a dry and comfortable environment. Goats should be given paracetamol for fever. In addition, cough syrup and amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin antibiotics may be needed.
Calf Pneumonia Causes Costs And Prevention
Calf pneumonia or Bovine Respiratory Disease is a complex, multi-factorial disease which results in inflammation and damage to the tissues of the lungs and respiratory tract. It is the most common reason for poor performance and death in growing calves1.
Any level of impaired respiratory health can impact a calf for its entire life leadingto reduced growth rates, later finishing times and lower milk yields. Combined with increased feed requirements and veterinary attention, the impact pneumonia can have on the profitability of the whole farming unit is often sizeable.
There are many causes of pneumonia. The graph shows the prevalence of each pneumonia-causing pathogen.
Any of these pathogens can contribute to calf pneumonia but mixed infections are also common. Its important to work with your vet to diagnose the cause of pneumonia accurately and re-test regularly because pathogens can change over time.
Pneumonia Stress Factors
Some of these pathogens live in the calfs respiratory tract without causing disease, but when the calf is stressed or immunocompromised they can become pathogenic, causing pneumonia. Environmental or management factors can cause stress and directly impact the susceptibility of calves to disease as well as its spread and volume.
Factors known to have a significant impact on calf pneumonia:
Clinical signs of pneumonia include:
The Cost of Pneumonia
Cost of pneumonia to dairy herds:
Cost of pneumonia to beef herds:
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Management Steps To Prevent Summer Pneumonia
Ensuring water and feed quality and quantity, providing adequate shade/shelter opportunities, addressing sanitation, and minimizing stress will go a long way to preventing pneumonia year-round. Whether on range, pasture, or in barns, animals should not be overcrowded and ventilation should be regularly assessed to ensure quality and lack of irritants.
A veterinarian should be consulted to develop an appropriate vaccination program. Many different vaccines and combinations are availablemostly for cattleand a veterinarian will be able to develop a farm-specific protocol based on goals, management practices, risks, and disease history. As with other extra-label drug use, vaccines approved for use in cattle cannot be used in other species without the oversight of a licensed veterinarian knowledgeable about the herd and with whom the livestock owner has a business relationship. Many vaccinations have a meat and/or milk withholding period, too.
Those taking animals to fairs, shows, breeding appointments, etc. introduce added risk to their farm. Any animal taken to another premises should be quarantined from one to three months when taken home. They are at risk of contracting diseases from other animals and surfaces at the exhibition and bringing these diseases back to the home herd.
What To Look For
It is critical to know how the lungs sound to decide which treatment route to go. If the lungs sound raspy and rough, then natural treatment can be very effective. If you hear wet abscess sounds, the animal needs antibiotics. And if you hear consolidated lungs, its too late for anything. Consolidated lungs are lungs with permanently damaged areas that are compacted and can no longer inflate. Usually the worst animal is the first to catch the farmers attention.
Oftentimes the sickest calf in the group will already have serious lung damage . A consolidated lung means that air entering the lungs through the windpipe never gets effectively absorbed because the areas of diseased lung tissue are no longer functional. By listening with the stethoscope, a vet can alert the farmer as to how much permanently damaged tissue there is. These calves, if they survive, usually show respiratory problems in a couple of years when heavy in calf in the hot summer days. Aggressive antibiotic and anti-inflammatory therapy is their only hopebut the permanently damaged tissue will still be useless later on. Animals simply dont function well with less than 100 percent lung capacity .
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Pneumonia In Dairy Cows: How To Avoid Financial Losses And Reduced Milk Yield
Pneumonia is one of the most economically significant diseases in dairy farming because it is a common respiratory disease in dairy cows throughout their lifetime and can have serious consequences – from permanent damage to the lungs associated with subsequent performance losses to the animal’s passing away.
The high susceptibility of cows to respiratory diseases is mainly favored by the anatomical structure of the lungs. In general, the low lung capacity in relation to body weight and the late completion of lung development play a role on cattle. To make matters worse, lung diseases can rarely be traced back to a single cause, but rather a wide variety of factors frequently promote or trigger the disease complex. For example, viral respiratory diseases can weaken the organism and become a precursor for later, bacterial diseases. The germs, which can be found in the organism even in healthy cows, then have easy access to pre-damaged mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and lungs and can cause serious damage.
If the symptoms of cattle flu such as increased temperature, nasal discharge or coughing remain undetected or are not treated until it is too late, cattle flu can turn into chronic pneumonia. In this case, there is a risk of permanent lung damage which can lead to a permanent loss of performance and, in particularly severe cases, even to the death of the animal.
Treatment Of Calf Pneumonia
Calf pneumonia is more common in cattle. Calf pneumonia increases the risk of death. And so the calf needs to ensure a germ-free and comfortable environment from birth.
What needs to be said about the treatment of pneumonia in calves is that the calves should be taken to the Livestock Office immediately. The doctor will observe the calf and provide medical treatment.
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Treatment Of Goat Pneumonia
In addition to the common cold and cough, goats get pneumonia. Goat pneumonia is seen to cause shortness of breath. There is pain in the lungs. Goats can die if not acted upon quickly.
The treatment of Cattle pneumonia in goats can be compared to the treatment of pneumonia in cattle. An advisory veterinarian should be consulted. There are many types of goat cold medicines available in the market.
How Lung Wash Helps Target Treatment For Pneumonia In Cattle
Carrying out a lung wash to identify the cause of respiratory symptoms has enabled one beef farmer to better target antibiotics treatment, and use a specific vaccine to prevent further pneumonia outbreaks.
Ted Chapman, who runs a herd of 60 high-health commercial Limousins at Lane Head Farm in Kendal, Cumbria, had a flare-up of pneumonia in calves early last year.
Despite having used a viral vaccine that covered bovine viral diarrhoea, infectious bovine rhinotracheitis , bovine respiratory syncytial virus and bovine parainfluenza-3 for many years, more than one-quarter of his nine-month-old calves required treatment.
My first thought was the vaccine wasnt doing its job, admits Mr Chapman.
He sought the advice of vet Kirsty Ranson, of Westmorland Veterinary Group in Kendal, who suggested he took lung wash samples using the bronchoalveolar lavage procedure.
Ted Chapman says the outbreak of pneumonia cost him £1,000
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Preventing And Treating Pneumonia
Hue Karreman starts his article with the best common sense, and least expensive, way of preventing pneumonia , Yes! Fresh air and dry bedding make for healthy animals. This time of year, with very variable weather patterns and stress on housing, the problems with maintaining a healthy herd, especially among young stock, is always an immediate concern for livestock producers. For a comprehensive article on preventing and treating pneumonia.
Respiratory problems are unfortunately too common during various stages of life. Especially at risk are weanlings and yearlings which were born during the previous winter or early spring, robust when on milk for a solid 3-4 months but then sent out on the same pasture lot in the summer that other calves have been on during previous years. Usually by early autumn those once great looking calves begin to look a bit rough coated, pot-bellied, and may have frank diarrhea. These symptoms are classic for internal parasitism. If then put inside when the weather starts to turn dreary and chilly, these animals often start to cough when introduced to barn air. If left in the same barn area for any length of time, the coughing can become worse. While the coughing and lung infection can be treated, any treatment is at best a band-aid to the root cause of the problem: parasitism weakening the animals immune system. Once the immune system is weakened, a relatively weak challenge of stale barn air creates a suddenly serious problem in the animal.
Treat Calf Pneumonia Early
Pneumonia can affect calves of any age. Most of the pathogens that cause lung infections are always present in the calfs respiratory tract and become a problem only when his immune defenses are compromised by stress. Stress may be due to bad weather, extreme changes in temperature, a long truck haul, overcrowding in a dirty environment, or nutritional stress due to deficiencies of an important mineral like copper or selenium. A newborn calf in a drafty or humid barn may get pneumonia.
A primary viral pneumonia may be mild, but secondary bacterial invaders may move in after tissues are damaged by a virus. For instance, a viral infection often destroys the tiny cilia on the lining of the windpipe and bronchi, so foreign material can no longer be moved up out of the airways.
Bacterial pneumonia is generally more apt to kill the calf than is viral infection. Viral pneumonia may be insignificant and run its course without treatment unless a secondary bacterial infection turns it into an outbreak of pneumonia that may go through a group of calves.
Young calves are most susceptible to pneumonia after their temporary immunity begins to wane. Calves that do not get colostrum or not enough have less defense against pathogens. Calves stressed by a hard birth or calves that become chilled immediately after birth may not get up and nurse soon enough, or cant absorb enough maternal antibodies due to stress .
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Summer Pneumonia In The Beef Herd
Professor, SDSU Extension Veterinarian, State Public Health Veterinarian
Respiratory disease in pre-weaned beef calves on pasture can be a concern for cow-calf producers. These outbreaks tend to be unpredictable, occurring in well-managed herds, as well as in less-intensively managed herds. As such, they are frustrating for cattle producers and veterinarians alike.
Preventing And Treating Pneumonia In Cow Herds
Got anything for coughing calves? This question seems to start up again every year around late autumn and early winteror anytime we have freezing nights and above-freezing days.
With all the variable weather of winter, alternating between rain, sharp winds, and chillier temperatures, its wise to keep an eye out for an increase in pneumonia each year. It certainly does seem to be a seasonal illness, ushered in by the changing weather and winds. Germs seem to be waiting on the walls in the barn to jump off and into the calves when the temperatures get above freezing . . . and when there is not much air movement . . . and when the bedding might be a tad soggy or damp. Though any one of these situations wont necessarily make for coughing calves, all three of these triggers acting together will almost certainly cause problems. Once you need to reach for treatments youve already lost the battle to some extent, but treating your animals in time can prevent the situation from turning into a complete train wreck, as coughing animals and full-blown pneumonia is likely to become.
Of course preventing the coughs is best, but its often difficult to do. Certainly dry bedding, fresh air, clean water, and top-notch nutrition are critical. And allowing dairy calves to nurse from their mother cows is as close to Mother Nature as can be foundactually, it is Mother Nature.
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Minimizing Exposure To Infection
Close contact with other animals allows respiratory pathogens to spread easily. Individual housing of dairy calves either indoors or outside is generally linked to improved calf health . There is long-term recognition of the benefit to dairy calf health of outdoor housing in hutches especially for the prevention of diarrhea and respiratory disease .Similarly, keeping age groups separate and group sizes small has been shown to reduce respiratory disease .
Introduction of animals from other herds carries a risk of disease transfer, even in virtually closed herds, where only occasional replacement animals are brought in. Keeping recent purchases separate from the herd for 2-3 weeks to ensure that they are not incubating a respiratory disease is an adequate control measure.
Treating Calf Pneumonia
In the face of an outbreak of enzootic pneumonia in a closed herd or when a chronic problem is recognized, it is important to attempt to identify the causative agents and management and environmental factors in order to target preventive measures in the future. There are a number of investigative techniques that can be used in the face of a pneumonia outbreak. These include:
In all cases antimicrobial treatment should be under veterinary guidance and should be outlined in the farms herd health plan.
Calf Pneumonia and Welfare
Single suckled calves reared in outdoor systems are at lowest risk of pneumonia
Good Practice Based on Current Knowledge