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Stackyard News Sep 06

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Restricted Pneumonia Management Options Now Put Emphasis On Early Planning

Cattle producers are being urged to plan their pneumonia management protocols early this year because of vaccine limitations and restricted disease treatment options.


“Pneumonia is a very complex disease caused by viruses, bacteria and mycoplasmas. And as it is not possible to eradicate many of the pathogens that cause pneumonia, the risk of a disease outbreak is ever present,” cautions Schering-Plough Animal Health livestock veterinary adviser Andrew Montgomery.

“Vaccination is a sound prevention measure for some production systems, but will not prevent all outbreaks. For example, there is no vaccine available for pneumonia caused by the bacterial pathogens H.somni and P. multocida,” he points out.

“If your unit does suffer from pneumonia problems do get your vet to do some investigation to try and identify the causal pathogens. That will help you decide if vaccination is the best control option,” he advises.

Most farmers tend to rely on antibiotics to get them through pneumonia outbreaks, but Andrew Montgomery suggests it’s worth making sure your antibiotic of choice is effective against all of the major bacterial causes of the disease, including H. somni and P. multocida. “Either check the label, or contact your vet to be absolutely sure,” he says.

Pneumonia management issues are further complicated this coming season by the fact that the range of antibiotics farmers can administer to cattle themselves has now been restricted. Following the deaths of two farmers in the USA after accidental self-injection, the pneumonia treatment containing tilmicosin can now only be injected by a veterinary surgeon.

“The tilmicosin restriction leaves some UK farmers looking for a trusted alternative first line treatment they can use themselves if pneumonia breaks out suddenly,” Andrew Montgomery explains.

“For these farmers our advice is talk to your vet as soon as possible to agree protocols for the coming season. Important issues you may wish to discuss include speed of action, spectrum of bacteria killed and the known resistance to the different antibiotics available. For example, Nuflor reaches active levels within 30 minutes of administration, kills all major pneumonia-causing bacteria and recent studies show no resistance in the common pneumonia bacteria. It is also long acting (up to six days from one subcutaneous injection),” he says.

“Unlike tilmicosin, Nuflor is licensed for Histophilus somni pneumonia. It is also active against Mycoplasma bovis. In summary, Nuflor kills all the five major pneumonia bacteria, and can be used for batch treatment to limit the spread of disease within groups of cattle or calves,” he says.

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