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What Causes Pneumonia In Calves

What To Do If The Goat Gets Cold

Preventing pneumonia in calves

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.

Signs Of Pneumonia In Calves To Look Out For

Pneumonia is a respiratory disease that causes inflammation of the lungs. An infection in pre-weaned calves can reduce milk production later in life by 10-15% depending on the severity.

But if you catch it early in the first two-to-three days calves are much more likely to recover fully.

Therefore, knowing the symptoms is key. There are six main signs calves with pneumonia will exhibit. If a calf has three of these you should treat it immediately.

Below, Dr Scott Abbott froofm Dairy Vet Management and director of technical services at breeding company World Wide Sires, talks through the main signs to look out for.

Take the rectal temperature. Higher than 39.5C indicates the calf may be sick.

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.

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Symptoms Of Cattle Pneumonia

  • The main symptoms of this disease are low fever and frequent breathing.
  • Frequent coughing and pain in the ribs.
  • White runny nose is seen.
  • Infected animals often cough.
  • Infected animals make average noises in the chest and reduce eating.
  • The body temperature drops at one stage, the animal falls asleep and eventually dies of shortness of breath.

Early Indicators Of Disease


Reduction in milk intake and reduced feeder visits with milk consumed are two automatic milk feeder metrics to look for on a daily basis as an early indicator of illness. However, if feeding by hand, this is harder to see, and if the volume of milk fed is low, hunger may override the feeling of unwell and reduced milk intake not seen. Aside from feed consumption, we can observe for other early behavioural indicators, such as increased time standing in the milk feeder , increased and longer bouts of laying down, decreased self-grooming, decreased social interaction with pen mates and/or less interest in a novel object or human. These behavioural observations were reported to appear one to two days prior to the onset of clinical symptoms.

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What Are The Causes Of Calf Pneumonia And What To Do To Prevent It

Over two million¹ calves in Ireland every year, but unfortunately far too many fail to reach adulthood because of disease.

The incidence rate of bovine respiratory disease or calf pneumonia, as it is more commonly known, is approximately 20%². It is the most common reason for death and poor performance in calves and young, growing cattle.

Calf pneumonia is the result of a complex interaction between viral and bacterial pathogens, environmental stress factors and the animals own resilience to disease.

Calf pneumonia causes inflammation and damage of the lung tissue and airways compromising lung function. In severe cases, the damage is irreversible and can result in death. However, even mild cases of pneumonia can significantly increase the cost of production.

Calf Pneumonia: When Stealing Opportunity Away Is A Good Thing

Bovine Respiratory Disease is a precipitous cascade in calves, with Ontario based studies reporting a range of 17% to 43% of calves experiencing respiratory disease pre-weaning. Economic and animal welfare impacts of BRD is a serious concern, with lasting effects seen in decreased first lactation milk yield. Developing systems to detect early signs of disease is important to steal opportunity away from bacteria and viruses that cause BRD. Relying solely on the appearance of symptoms of BRD, a proportion of calves will miss diagnoses of respiratory disease.

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Feeding To Strengthen Immunity

Lastly, feeding a consistent and high level of nutrition to calves will support strong growth and enhance immune function. A recent study has shown that a high plane of nutrition pre-weaning had positive lasting effects post-weaning when given a respiratory immune stimulation challenge. By limiting milk intake, the immune system is provided with less energy to mount a defense. Feeding milk with < 10% solids has been shown to be associated with an increased risk to develop respiratory disease. Moreover, failure to wean may exacerbate respiratory illness, in addition to coupling stressful events such as dehorning and social group change. As a multifactorial disease, BRD has multifactorial control points to reduce prevalence with precise attention to details and high value placed on calf care.

Causes Of Pneumonia In Calves

What’s the Best Treatment for Pneumonia in Calves

There are several factors that can cause pneumonia in calves, including the presence of bacteria and viruses, the environment and the immune status of the animal.

The only way to know what is causing disease in your herd is to test. This is particularly useful when you have a disease outbreak and want to find the best response or if you have a closed herd to design future vaccination strategies.

Environmental factors include low environmental temperatures, high humidity, poor ventilation and direct draughts. The relationship between season and outbreaks may also be related to management practices including calving pattern and mixing of different ages of calves.

The quality and quantity of colostrum a calf consumes can affect its ability to fight off disease, as can time of weaning and breed differences. Stresses such as mixing groups, movement and poor housing conditions can also affect immune status.

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Researchers Are Now Focusing On Inflammations Role In Pneumonia Cases In Cattle

University of Guelph research could lead to revolutionary new approaches to preventing pneumonia in beef cattle while reducing the use of antibiotics.

Dr. Jeff Caswell, a professor in the pathobiology department at the Ontario Veterinary College, says the traditional thinking has been that risk factors such as weaning, transportation, inclement weather, castration and viral infections lead to immunosuppression, which leads to pneumonia and other bovine respiratory diseases .

However, he and fellow researchers now believe that inflammation in the respiratory tract could be a big contributor and controlling that inflammation might significantly reduce cases of bacterial pneumonia.

In the experiment, a group of male auction calves considered to be at high risk for the disease were given an aerosol that contained killed bacteria to stimulate their immune response. A second control group was given a saline replacement. The researchers found that the calves treated with the killed bacteria developed more severe disease, instead of having more resilience as expected.

In fact, the first group lost 4.3 kilograms while the control group gained 4.3 kilograms, on average, in the first 28 days. Six of the 29 calves that received the killed bacteria died of mycoplasma bovis pneumonia while only one of the 29 control group calves died.

He says the latest research indicates some types of immune responses are suppressed by stress, but others are increased.

Pathogens Causing Calf Pneumonia

A multitude of pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and Mycoplasma spp , are involved in different combinations on different farms . It is often suggested that the viruses and mycoplasmas are the primary infections and the bacteria cause a secondary infection in an animal whose defences have been weakened by the first infection. The most common viruses isolated from enzootic pneumonia cases are:

Mycoplasmal agents are usually considered to be the most common agents causing the chronic form of enzootic pneumonia, even though Mycoplasma bovis has been identified as the causative agent in many acute outbreaks as well.

The most commonly isolated bacterial organisms are:

  • Mannhaeimia spp.
  • Hemophilus subspecies .

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How Does Bovipast Rsp Work

  • Bovipast® RSP is efficacious in the presence of maternally derived antibodies.
  • Bovipast® RSP contains IRP technology .
  • When bacterial pneumonia agents like Mannheimia haemolytica reach the lungs of an animal it needs iron to multiply and grow.
  • IRPs on the surface of bacteria allow absorption of iron.
  • Animals vaccinated with Bovilis Bovipast® RSP produce antibodies that bind to the IRPs and reduce the bacterias ability to absorb iron.

Pneumonia In Calves: What Are The Causes And How To Prevent It

Keep on top of calf pneumonia this autumn 09 October 2017 ...

Pneumonia in calves is the result of a complex interaction between viral and bacterial pathogens, environmental stress factors and the animals own resilience to disease.

Calf pneumonia causes inflammation and damage of the lung tissue and airways compromising lung function. In severe cases, the damage is irreversible and can result in death. However, even mild cases of pneumonia can significantly increase the cost of production.

Environmental factors include low environmental temperatures high humidity poor ventilation and also direct draughts onto calves themselves. The relationship between seasons and outbreaks may also be related to management practices including calving pattern and mixing of different ages of calves.

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Clinical Signs Of Pneumonia In Calves

There are 2 types of pneumonia that affect calves: acute pneumonia and chronic pneumonia.

Symptoms of acute pneumonia that farmers need to look out for include calves off their food, dull demeanour, heads down, nasal discharge, coughing and raised temperatures.

Chronic pneumonia is more gradual, with no distinct ill phase and the animal may appear to still eat well but may have a slight nasal discharge, sometimes with an increased respiratory rate and cough.

In order to minimise the risk of respiratory diseases, farmers should consider a vaccination programme. There is a range of vaccines available covering different infectious agents, with different administration methods and activation times.

Vets can advise on the best vaccination programme which should form part of an active animal health plan. Vaccination alone is not a silver bullet to healthier animals and should be complemented with good biosecurity and high standards of nutrition and management.

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.

Cattle pneumonia

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What Causes Pneumonia In Dairy Calves

Its not just bacteria or a virus its management. Its the way we handle our calves. Calves are born with limited immunity. They must absorb antibodies from colostrum. These antibodies help protect them until their immune system is fully functioning. A strong immune system starts with healthy transition cows and the production of colostrum. As soon as possible after birth, the calf needs 3 to 4 litres of clean, high-quality colostrum. Colostrum and achieving passive transfer are the most important management factors affecting calf health.

What Causes Pneumonia In Calves

Summer Pneumonia in Calves | August 9, 2019

Stressed calves are more susceptible to disease such as pneumonia. How are calves stressed? Weaning, cold and poorly ventilated housing, damp bedding, overstocking and underfeeding are all examples of how stress may be inflicted on a new born calf.The most important types of pneumonia are caused by viral and bacterial agents. The bacterial agents, known as Mannheimia haemolytica, live in the animals upper respiratory tract without causing harm to healthy animals. However, stress or viral infections can weaken the immune system and cause these bacterial agents to multiply rapidly. As these bacteria multiply, they are inhaled into the lungs. In the lungs, there is an interaction between the bacteria and the animals immune system, resulting in tissue damage. Clinical signs of pneumonia will be visible in the calf after this has occurred .

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How Does Calf Pneumonia Affect Calves

A number of factors increase susceptibility to calf pneumonia. This include: stress resulting from management practices sub-optimal nutrition and in young calves, poor immunity as a result of inadequate colostrum intake.

Viruses are often the initial invader. They cause lung damage that soon allows secondary-bacterial infections to take hold.

  • A temperature of greater that 39.5º Celcius
  • Increased breathing rate and effort
  • Coughing
  • A nasal discharge which is initially clear and watery, but becomes thick and pus-like as the disease progresses.

During the early stages of infection, calf pneumonia can be difficult to detect. An elevated temperature is the first sign of disease and typically occurs 12-72 hours before detectable clinical signs appear3.

How Can We Maximise Calf Health

A combination of good calving management, hygiene, colostrum feeding, and preventative disease control reaps rewards when rearing calves.

  • Calving pens: Dry, clean, well bedded pens are a necessity. The cleanliness of the cow entering the calving pen is also a priority to reduce the disease challenge to the new born calf. Good lighting in this area allows for early identification of problem cows or calves. Having cows fit but not fat at calving time is important.
  • Removing calves: Remove calves from the calving pen and their dam as soon as possible after birth.
  • Colostrum feeding: Aim to feed 8.5% of the calves body weight in colostrum within one hour of birth . The calves ability to absorb the protective antibodies within colostrum is maximal at this time. The colostrum and the feeding utensils used must be clean. Colostrum milked from the cow within the first hour after calving has the highest level of protective antibodies which protect the calf from disease.
  • Vaccination protocol: Discussing with your vet a calf health vaccination plan for the spring is a really good idea. They will be best able to advise you on what disease you should vaccinate against or management changes that must be made to help your calves thrive over the coming months

References1. Mannheimia haemolytica A1 and A62. Anon 2018. DAFM Animal Identification and Movement Statistics Report 20173. Bovine Respiratory Syncytial virus and Parainfluenza3 virus

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Interstitial Pneumonia In Feedlot Cattle

Gross patterns of interstitial pneumonia in feedlot cattle include that of acute diffuse distribution but more frequently interstitial pneumonia is in caudal lobes combined with bronchopneumonia cranially . In addition, interstitial pneumonia may occur in a patchy distribution, with pneumonic lobules separated by prominently pale, bulging, overinflated lobules or groups of lobules ., Lesions of bronchopneumonia have been reported in 32% to 96% of fatal cases of feedlot AIP. Death due to AIP usually occurs from 21 to 73 days after onset of preceding respiratory illness, such as bronchopneumonia., ,

Infectious Agents Viruses Bacteria And Parasites

What are the causes of calf pneumonia and what to do to ...

Direct damage can be caused by certain infectious organisms such as BRSV, Mannheimia haemolytica, IBR virus, Pasteurella multocida and Histophilus somni. Parasites can also contribute to significant disease and can lead to secondary infections with bacteria etc.Other agents predispose to damage such as PI3 virus, BVD virus, Mycoplasma dispar, Mycoplasma bovis and other viruses.

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The Aetiology Of Bovine Pneumonia

This disease is multi-factorial including the following causes:

1. Stress is a major predisposing factor to Pneumonia outbreaks. Stress can arise from:

Passage through martsWeaning, castration, dehorning

2. Infectious agents

Mannheimia haemolytica and Pasteurella multocida are frequently isolated from the lungs of sick cattle. These pathogens are associated with a high mortality rate.

Other pathogens that may also be responsible for disease including:

Respiratory viruses:- RSV, PI3, BoHV-1 , BVD, Bovine coronavirusOther bacteria e.g. Histophilus somni, Mycoplasma spp.

Parasites e.g. lungworm may also contribute to disease. For further information on lungworm infection please click here.

Our UK colleagues have also produced a dedicated website with further information:

3. Management

The environment in which animals are kept, nutrition and management of animals may all contribute to increases in pneumonia incidence on individual farms.

Summer Pneumonia In Calves A Concern

  • Summer pneumonia can affect calves as early as 3 to 4 weeks old to 3 to 5 months of age.

Dead or sick calves are a scenario that is reported every year in a number of beef herds in the northern Plains.

A list of all possible causes for this case can be very confusing to producers, says Gerald Stokka, North Dakota State University Extension veterinarian and livestock stewardship specialist. However, depressed, feverish calves with an increased respiratory rate most likely will fit the diagnosis of summer pneumonia.

The common question generated by this diagnosis is: Why would nursing beef calves in the pasture with little stress in their lives come down with respiratory disease or pneumonia?

What is Summer Pneumonia?

Summer pneumonia is respiratory disease/pneumonia that occurs in beef calves nursing their dams. The age range of calves affected can be as early as 3 to 4 weeks and from 3 to 5 months of age.

Calves are born with little to no immunity and are dependent on receiving a passive transfer of immunity from their dam through colostrum. This passively acquired immunity declines through time, and unless the calf develops active immunity through vaccination or exposure to infectious agents, they eventually will become susceptible to pathogens that can cause respiratory disease.

This is why some calves are susceptible at a very young age and other calves become susceptible later, Stokka says.

Conditions Leading to Summer Pneumonia

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