As the winter disease season approaches, vets are warning cattle
producers that pneumonia-induced lung damage can severely compromise
animal performance with the potential to reduce growth rates
by up to 295g per day.
Cattle Lungs with Permanent Damage
Lung damage in cattle develops fast when
pneumonia strikes and once it occurs the damage can become permanent
very quickly unless treatment is effective and rapid.
When faced with a pneumonia outbreak, producers should be looking
for a disease treatment approach that delivers fast, visible recovery
from the clinical symptoms of the disease, whilst also preserving
lung function for future productivity.
According to feedlot studies, it is often the pneumonia-induced
lung damage that you can’t see that can really cripple enterprise
profits. “Studies show that nearly 40% of the costs of pneumonia
can be down to hidden growth performance penalties, which include
any permanent lung damage effects,” cautions Schering-Plough
Animal Health livestock veterinary adviser Andrew Montgomery MRCVS.
“Lung damage develops fast when pneumonia strikes and once
it occurs the damage can become permanent very quickly unless treatment
is effective and rapid,” he warns.
Andrew Montgomery points out that lungs are vital organs for life
and for growth, but physiologically cattle are particularly prone
to lung damage.
“For cattle and horses of similar size, horse lungs are
around 43% bigger than bovine ones. Consequently, cattle lungs
have little spare capacity. And as a result of these physiological
differences, inhaled air travels at a much faster speed into cattle
lungs, enabling it to penetrate deep into the lungs. Unfortunately,
when pneumonia strikes viruses and bacteria can quickly and easily
follow the same direct route and once lungs become infected, the
inflammation and bacterial toxins cause damage that can compromise
future animal performance - even if the animal recovers from the
disease,” he says.
In preparation for the peak pneumonia season, Andrew Montgomery
is urging farmers to talk to their vet about the latest advances
in lung protection therapy.
“Anti-inflammatory drug treatment alongside fast, effective
and proven antibiotic therapy is now the gold standard pneumonia
treatment protocol. Not only does it help prevent permanent lung
damage, it also enables better delivery of the antibiotic to the
infected areas of the lung. Inflammation causes blood vessels to
constrict, but by keeping the bloodflow open with an anti-inflammatory,
more of the antibiotic can reach the sites of bacterial infection
to boost recovery rate - even if these sites are deep into the
lungs,” he points out.
“With headage payments gone farmers are now aiming to finish
cattle younger and faster. They simply can’t afford the growth
setbacks and lost productivity associated with pneumonia-induced
permanent lung damage,” Andrew Montgomery stresses.
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