Plan ahead to combat pneumonia

Pneumonia can strike even the best run cattle units at this time of year, so it is important to have a strategy in place should animals succumb to the threat.

Fast and effective treatment is the key to minimising the losses caused by calf pneumonia as failure to tackle the problem early results in permanent lung damage and significant reductions in an animal’s potential performance and profitability.

Batch treatment to protect in-contact cattle

It is because pneumonia is so infectious and can quickly spread amongst calves that many progressive units around the world now find it beneficial, in certain situations, to protect at-risk cattle with a pre-emptive antibiotic treatment. This may be cattle showing no clinical signs of pneumonia that are sharing accommodation with clinically affected cattle, or incomers to a farm where disease has been a problem previously.

Giving antibiotic to apparently healthy calves that are in-contact with visibly sick pen mates prevents pneumonia from spreading.  Pneumonia can cause damage to the lungs before any clinical signs are evident. 

The bacteria responsible for causing pneumonia are found in the respiratory tract of healthy cattle and stress or a greater pathogen load – such as exposure to sick calves – can easily trigger disease. Pneumonia bacteria numbers can double every 30 minutes and in 24 hours, one bacterium can multiply to billions. Batch treatment kills the bacteria before they have time to multiply, release toxins and cause permanent lung damage.

Please ring the Vets to discuss any problems before treating so that we can decide upon the best course of action for your farm. 

24 Hour Emergency Telephone 01570 422 322

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