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Viral Pneumonia in cattle

Friday 28 January 2011, 17:12

Keri Davies Keri Davies Web Producer, The Archers

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A bullock with pus coming from the nose, and overstocking in a cattle shed.

Brookfield's coughing calves raised the fear of viral pneumonia. As vet Oli Hodgkinson writes, this can be a serious worry for livestock farmers.

Pneumonia is estimated to cost the UK cattle industry around £60 million yearly. Affected cattle will show varying degrees of symptoms depending on the severity of the illness. Some will simply have a cough, but as the disease progresses the animals have pus running down their nose and breathing becomes more laboured. Eventually they stop eating, collapse and if left untreated will die.

The majority of outbreaks occur within one month of being housed for winter. This is because it is a very stressful time for cattle. They go from being out in a field to being under one roof with lots of other cattle, often with a mixing of age groups. As in any disease situation the younger animals have a poorer immune system than the older animals and so they are more prone to illness.

There are three common causes of viral pneumonia but none of these will infect humans.

Control of the disease is best achieved by attention to general husbandry:

  • Ventilation of buildings should be improved, allowing the muggy infected air to escape being replaced by clean fresh air.
  • There are many vaccines which can be administered which will help prevent pneumonia. These should be administered prior to a stressful period such as housing or weaning.
  • Reducing the amount of cattle under the same roof will help minimise disease.
  • Keeping the younger animals away from the adults.
  • Keeping the bedding clean and dry will reduce the amount of moisture in the air and so reduce pneumonia.

Pneumonia is treated by a variety of antibiotics as well as pain killers. If left too long then there is damage to the lungs and the animal will not recover 100% and always have stunted growth. As vets we point out to the farmer that prevention is better than cure.

Oli Hodgkinson BVSc, Cert SH&P, MRCVS works at Trefaldwyn Vets, Montgomery, Powys.

  • Pictures, provided by Trefaldwyn Vets, show a bullock with pus coming from the nose, and overstocking in a cattle shed.

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    Comment number 1.

    Mr Davis,

    I don't know you, but when I joined here to complain, please note, NOT to give feedback, I was assured by others that you were an OK kind of guy.

    From observation all I have seen is a techy individual who won't answer questions, even those on his own posted blog. I am also told that you are, now, a member of the script writing team that is producing lamentable offal ( sorry I have no other words as polite as this), and one of your children is/has featured in the cast.

    Now you write about pnemonia in cattle on this your new blog. This whilst giving a reasonable explanation totally contradicts the draft (and daft) theory of pnemonia expoundaed on air.

    I am told you wrote the script for that. Is that true? Do you not see any inconsistancy here?

    I really look forward to your answers along with all the other unanswered questions.

    As a good guy I am sure you can do it. I know you can.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 2.

    Control of the disease is best achieved by attention to general husbandry:

    Ventilation of buildings should be improved, allowing the muggy infected air to escape being replaced by clean fresh air.
    There are many vaccines which can be administered which will help prevent pneumonia. These should be administered prior to a stressful period such as housing or weaning.
    Reducing the amount of cattle under the same roof will help minimise disease.
    Keeping the younger animals away from the adults.
    Keeping the bedding clean and dry will reduce the amount of moisture in the air and so reduce pneumonia.

    I was just wondering which of the above applies to Brookfield and has only developed over the last three weeks, and why Ruth, with all her experience and help from Brian, was unable to put right without David.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 3.

    Ok you've had your 60th anniversary fun CAN WE HAVE OUR CHARACTERS BACK NOW PLEASE
    The present story lines are dull and tedious in a way I thought was not possible for how can an essentially dull and tedious series become more so ?? But the very nature of it's previous tediousness was essentially comforting and reassuring and often humous, the present storyines are just dull and more importantly depressing. The Archers like most dramas relies on the suspension of disbelief but recent events, particularly involving the editors which to make a memorable have all but destroyed mine . All I can here now when I listen is the cinical attempt to manipulate the stirrings to fit some self aggrandising 60 th anniversary ends . Please stop this madness you are in danger of killing the golden goose.

    Still not listening

  • rate this
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    Comment number 4.

    Ps damn the iPhone spell checker

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 5.

    Why is viral pneumonia treated by vets with antibiotics when antibiotics are not effective against viruses? The inappropriate use of antibiotics by doctors is discouraged because it is ineffective, encourages resistance and wastes money. Why has this message not been understood by Vets?

 

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