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What Is The Best Treatment For Pneumonia In Calves

Calf Solutions Scours & Pneumonia Treatment Concentrate Medicated Caution

What’s the Best Treatment for Pneumonia in Calves

If symptoms persist after feeding the medicated milk replacer for 2 or 3 days, consult a veterinarian. Continue feeding the medicated calf milk replacer for 24 to 48 hours after the remission of disease symptoms.


Withdraw 5 days before slaughter. A withdrawal period has not been established for use in pre-ruminating calves. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. A milk discard time has not been established for use in lactating dairy cattle. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. When used in milk replacers, the treatment claim is limited to bacterial enteritis cause byEscherichia colionly. Use of more than one product containing neomycin or failure to follow withdrawal times may result in illegal drug residues.




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

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.

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.

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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 .

Maximise The Animals Immunity

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  • Ensure the calf receives enough colostrum
  • Vaccination

Vaccinating cattle before they get pneumonia can be a very effective way of controlling disease. The vaccine stimulates the animals immune system to produce antibodies. These antibodies help the animal to fight infection when they encounter it. Bovipast RSP provides protection against both viral and bacterial pneumonia. It provides protection against two viral causes of pneumonia, RSV and PI3 viruses and the bacterium Mannheimia haemolytica. Calves can be vaccinated from two weeks of age. The vaccination program is two shots four weeks apart. A booster dose should be given before the next period of risk. Bovipast contains iron regulated protein antigens. Bacteria need iron to multiply and survive in the lungs. The IRPs in Bovipast reduce the risk of these pasteurella bacteria multiplying. Bovipast can be administered at the same time as Bovilis IBR Marker Live.

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Causes Of Pneumonia In Cattle

It is customary to distinguish the following reasons why young animals develop pneumonia:

  • Unfavorable conditions of detention. If calves sleep on a cold, damp floor without bedding and are in a room that is rarely ventilated, the risk of pneumonia is greatly increased.
  • Stress after weaning early. It is not recommended to wean young calves from breast milk too early.
  • Castration in young bulls.
  • Poor feed quality or eating disorder. Calves in particular often develop pneumonia during the transition from dairy feeding to roughage, as any sudden change in diet weakens the animal’s body.
  • Illiterate transportation. Animals can catch cold during transportation during the cold season.
  • Lack of movement and oxygen deficiency due to infrequent walking. Without movement, the muscles of animals atrophy, as a result of which ventilation of the lungs weakens.
  • Viral and bacterial infections.
  • Overheating in the sun, which causes a violation of thermoregulation.
  • Keeping a large number of animals in cramped circumstances. When a large number of cows and calves are gathered in the same room, there is a rapid accumulation of large amounts of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide in the air, which does not have the best effect on the health of the cattle.
  • 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.

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    Antibiotics For Treatment Of Cattle Respiratory Disease

    W. D. Whittier, DVM, MSVA-MD Regional College of Vet. Med

    Reprinted from VA Tech Livestock Update

    A new antibiotic has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration forthe treatment of cattle for respiratory disease. This brings to three thenumber of new antibiotic compounds approved for respiratory disease in recentyears. The active ingredient of the new product is florfenicol and the newproduct will be marketed commercially as Nuflor®. It is a relative of thedrug chloramphenical which was never approved for use in food animals in the USand which generated considerable concern and regulatory action when it was usedillegally in cattle. The newly approved drug is reported to have a highactivity against the bacteria that commonly infect the lungs of cattle affectedwith Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex .

    Nuflor® is an injectable product that is labeled for intramuscularadministration. The treatment regime involves two injections given at a 48 hourinterval.

    Also approved since 1990 are products containing two other compounds notpreviously approved for cattle. These drugs are ceftiofur contained onNaxcel® and tilmicosin contained in Micotil®. These three drugsgenerally show a higher odds of treatment success probability in laboratorytests against the bacteria of cattle pneumonia than drugs which had beenapproved for respiratory disease treatment previously.

    Naxcel®: No slaughter or milk discard time, little tissue irritation

    Cattle Herd Pneumonia Treatments

    Down On The Farm | Vet Series: Calf Pneumonia

    In my time practicing veterinary medicine, I have treated animals of all ages sick with pneumonia, both on organic and conventional farms. No matter which type of farm is experiencing a pneumonia outbreak, the sickest animal will usually end up having permanent lung damage since it is too far advanced in the disease process due to starting treatment too late. On farms that are not certified organic, the best and most quickly effective treatment will be an antibiotic such as ceftiofur

    Antibiotics can be excellent for bacterial pneumonia, but if an organic animal is given an antibiotic, it is banished from organic production forever . On organic farms, pneumonia treatment relies much more on non-synthetic measures, namely boosting the immune system using plant medicines with strong antibacterial effects and moving the animal to fresh air. However, according to U.S. law, organic farmers cannot withhold prohibited antibiotic treatments just to keep an animal organic. This restriction makes my life as a veterinarian more interesting and challenging, especially when faced with a disease like pneumonia that can easily kill an animal if not quickly and effectively treated.

    If treatment is started soon enough, I have seen countless cases of pneumonia cleared up by using purely biological treatments to work with the animals own immune system.

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    What Treats E Coli In Calves

    Treatment goals for all calves with diarrhea are accomplished by the parenteral administration of antimicrobials with a predominantly Gram-negative spectrum of activity, short-term administration of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents such as flunixin meglumine or meloxicam, and continued milk feeding.

    Enzootic Pneumonia In Calves

    Duchy College calves in the calf shed. There should be enough space in the calf pen to allow calves to groom themselves, lie down and stretch their limbs and rise without any difficulty.

    Enzootic pneumonia in young calves can be chronic and be present with very few clinical signs apart from a dry cough and slightly increased respiratory rate. The acute form of the disease usually manifests itself in an outbreak involving several calves going down with the disease within a 48-hour period. Fever, dullness, inappetance and coughing, often combined with nasal discharge, are the most common symptoms.

    There are very little data available on the prevalence of enzootic pneumonia in UK cattle herds, as recording of calf diseases is seldom carried out. Respiratory diseases are, however, considered the second most important cause of death and ill -thrift in calves. The condition is farm related, with some farms suffering serious losses due to calf pneumonia, while on others the disease is either very mild or non-existent. Sporadic outbreaks can, however, be experienced by farms that normally see very little respiratory disease in calves.

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    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

    Maintenance Of Disease Resistance

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    Antibodies within good quality colostrum will boost the calfs immune system and make them more resistant to infection

    Passive immunity is the transfer of antibodies from one individual to another and can be in the form of maternal antibodies in utero crossing the placenta, or lactationally in the colostrum. In order to provide the calf with passive immunity protection before its own immune system is fully functional, the calf needs to receive adequate amounts of colostrum containing a sufficient quantity of antibodies . An amount of 3-4 liters of colostrum that contains 50-150 g/liter of Immunoglobulin IgG within the first 24 hours of life has been recommended .

    While the transfer of maternal immunity is important, it does not protect the calf well against respiratory pathogens after two to three months of age because the concentration of maternal serum antibodies is low and the calfs own immune system is still not fully functional . The highest incidence of respiratory disease occurs in many herds during this period, and prevention should concentrate on reducing stress at this time.

    A further factor limiting immune protection against respiratory diseases is that some of the pathogens are immunosuppressive . Mycoplasma bovis, RSV and BVD belong to this category and, when endemic in a herd, can reduce the calves ability to fight off disease. Eradication of M. bovis from a dairy herd has been shown to improve calf health .

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    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 defenses 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 .

    Opinion: Pneumonia Has Serious And Long

    Dr. Robert TremblayVeterinarian

    Calf pneumonia is one of the most common diseases of young dairy calves. We know that it has both short-term and long- term impacts on calves that get sick. It also costs farmers and the dairy industry in a variety of ways cost of drugs to treat calves, treatment labour costs. There are also costs from calves that die from the pneumonia but even calves that survive may not do as well in the herd. Over the past few years, it has become increasingly obvious that having pneumonia as a calf impacts even first lactation milk production. Sickness, especially preventable sickness, could also be seen as a welfare issue for calves too.

    Recently, veterinary researchers reviewed the research on impacts of calf pneumonia. They looked at research published in English up until February 2020. To be included, the research needed to be on calves during their first year of life. They ended up finding 27 studies that fit their criteria 20 were from Canada or the United States and 7 were from Europe.

    The review looked at as much evidence as possible on pneumonia having an impact on death losses or on removal from the herd before first calving. Removal could be because animals either died, were culled or were sold. The researchers also wanted to look at the evidence of pneumonia impact on growth or on milk production in a heifers first lactation.

    Dr. Robert Tremblay is a veterinarian for Boehringer-Ingelheim and lives near Guelph.

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    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:

  • Minimizing exposure of infection
  • Pneumonia: How To Defeat A Calf Killer


    Cleaning bedding and ventilation will reduce the risk of pneumonia in calves

    We know more than ever about the causes, symptoms and treatments of pneumonia in calves. So why, after scour, does it continue to be the second biggest cause of calf mortality on our farms ?

    There are no easy answers or magic solutions.

    In my opinion, pneumonia continues to be an issue because too often we don’t deal with all the contributing factors.

    Also in a future where our choices of antibiotics will inevitably be more limited we must look at management at reducing risk and focus very much on prevention.

    So what drops the immunity of calves to make them more susceptible?

    • Not enough, poor quality or timing of colostrum leaving natural immunity low
    • Under-nutrition for prolonged periods
    • Poor housing prolonged cold leading to dropped immunity levels.
    • Calf scour or other diseases reduce immunity.
    • Calves left outdoors during extreme changes in weather.
    • And the following factors increase the exposure of viruses and bacteria that cause pneumonia in our calves?
    • Calves sharing airspace with older animals who may be shedding viruses to more vulnerable young calves.
    • Overcrowding causes stress which lowers immunity and also allows close contact between animals to spread disease
    • Poor housing ventilation can play a huge role in contributing to pneumonia.
    • Any sort of stress particularly for long periods releases cortisol which lowers immunity and inhibits the body’s ability to fight off disease.


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