Pneumonia / Pleurisy

General description

  • Pneumonia is an infection and inflammation of the lungs.
  • Pleurisy is an infection of the layer around the lungs and lining the chest cavity.


  • Combination of multiple factors including infectious agents, weather or environmental conditions and poor sheep immune system.
  • Most outbreaks of pneumonia occur in young animals during late summer and autumn.

Clinical signs

  • Affected sheep will develop a cough and may have a nasal discharge.
  • A large proportion of the mob may be affected with pneumonia without apparent clinical signs and with few deaths occurring.
  • Signs of pneumonia will subside after 4-6 weeks, however there may be lasting adhesions between the lungs and chest wall which could mean that sheep tire more readily if exerted in later life and that carcases are trimmed or downgraded at slaughter.


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


  • Antibiotic treatment may aid recovery.
  • It is important to keep physical stress of a mob affected by pneumonia to a minimum.

Learn more

Fact Sheet - Pneumonia/Pleurisy