Pneumonia continues to be one of the major causes of economic loss for the cattle industry – an outbreak of pneumonia is believed to cost between £50 and £100 per affected animal.
In the short term, pneumonia leads to decreased production, higher levels or mortality and increased veterinary and labour costs. The long term impact can be as equally damaging, as the inevitable lung damage that occurs in those that do recover will have a negative impact on daily live weight gains – this means a longer finishing time (or an increase in age at first calving for those rearing replacements).
There are many factors that can lead to an outbreak of pneumonia and as such there is no one solution to controlling it.
Ensuring good general health through good husbandry practices and colostrum management is essential. Housing with adequate ventilation is also key. Vaccination is a very useful tool in the management and prevention of calf pneumonia. However there are many different vaccines on the market, and sometimes it can be difficult to know which one to choose. As a general rule, most vaccination courses must be completed in advance of the main risk period (housing).
If you are concerned about pneumonia why not arrange a farm visit with one of the vets to discuss prevention strategies, or to investigate the causes of an outbreak.