Pneumonia

General description 

  • Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs caused by infectious agent, either a virus or bacteria.  

  • Pneumonia in cattle is a complicated disease with multiple factors that can impact its onset. 

  • Pneumonia often occurs following the interaction of stress (i.e. handling, transport) and an infectious agent (bacteria, virus). 

  • Pneumonia is commonly linked to Bovine Respiratory Diseases especially in Feedlot cattle.  

Cause 

  • A combination of factors can cause pneumonia in cattle such as an infectious agent (bacteria, virus, or a combination of both); weather or environmental conditions; animal management; type of cattle; and poor cattle immune system. 

  • Viruses that initiate pneumonia in cattle are infectious bovine rhinotracheitis IBR, bovine respiratory syncytial (BRSV), parainfluenza 3 (P13), bovine virus diarrhoea (BVD), and certain rhino viruses. 

  • Bacteria that are involved in pneumonia in cattle are Mannheimiahemolytica, Pasteurellamultocida, Histophilussomni, Salmonella spp., and Mycoplasma spp. 

Clinical signs 

  • Affected animals may display the following signs: nasal/ocular/oral discharge, depression, lethargy, emaciated body condition, laboured or rapid shallow breathing, coughing, extended head and neck, and droopy ears. 

  • In addition, animals may have decline in weight or growth rate and will have reduced feed intake.  

Diagnosis 

  • Based on history, clinical signs and reports from feedlot and meat works. 

Treatment 

  • Isolate affected animals in a well-ventilated area protected from excessive cold or heat; maintain hydration, andprovide easy access to water and feed. 

  • It is important to keep physical stress of an animal affected by pneumonia to a minimum. 

  • Antibiotic and anti-inflammatory treatment may aid recovery. 

 Prevention 

  • Preventive strategies should be aimed at minimising adverse effects of potential stressors that may increase susceptibility to clinical infection, as well as reducing pathogen exposure and transmission. 
  • To prevent pneumonia in cattle the following should be taken into consideration: 
    • Avoid moving stock in extreme conditions: heat, cold, very dusty  
    • Avoid overcrowding in all situations: grazing, stockyards, transportation. 
    • Avoid immediate and sudden diet changes 
    • Minimise the mixing of herds. 
    • Provide appropriate shelter from extreme conditions. 
    • Ensure continual access to clean water. 
    • Separating affected animals from non-infected. 
  • Alternatively, there are number of measures that can be implemented on farm to prepare cattle for feedlots to help prevent pneumonia including: 
    • yard weaning  
    • introduction to trough feeding and watering  
    • drenching  
    • dehorning  
    • castration  
    • vaccination against a range of diseases such as Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) pathogens (both bacterial and viral). 

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