Pneumonia / Pleurisy

General description
  • Pneumonia is infection and inflammation of the lungs. Pleurisy is an infection of the layer around the lungs and lining the chest cavity. Pleurisy often occurs together with pneumonia (pleuropneumonia)
  • Pneumonia is a sporadic disease of adults and lambs, caused by several agents including bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Disease is seen more commonly in lambs.
  • Pneumonia/pleurisy was identified in 1.2% of carcases at meat inspection and is estimated to cost the Australian sheep industry approximately $25 million per year.
  • Combination of multiple factors including infectious agents, weather or environmental conditions and poor sheep immune system.
  • Most outbreaks of pneumonia are 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 in acutely affected sheep.
  • It is important to keep physical stress of a mob affected by pneumonia to a minimum.
  • Management of risk factors for pneumonia (stress, crowding, heat-stress, cold-stress, diet, movement etc) are key controls.
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