Apparently healthy cattle that are in-contact with pen mates showing signs of pneumonia gain significantly less weight and take longer to finish than animals in completely disease-free housing.
Apparently healthy cattle that are in contact with pen mates showing signs of pneumonia gain significantly less weight and take longer to finish than animals in completely disease-free housing.
New trial work in France involving over 1200 finishing cattle on 71 finishing units has confirmed that as well as treating animals with obvious signs of the disease, it will also pay to treat other cattle in close proximity to the affected stock.
In the study, apparently healthy cattle in a pen with sick animals gained 41g per day less than healthy animals in a group with no disease. These in-contact cattle also took an extra 33 days to reach finishing weight.
“This recent study confirms what other trial work has shown in the US, in that pneumonia infections can quickly damage lungs – even before you see visible disease symptoms. For example, a US trial involving 469 cattle found that 72% of the animals had evidence of lung damage at slaughter, despite only 35% being treated because they had obvious disease symptoms,” points out Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health livestock veterinary adviser Rosemary Booth.
She explains that the bacteria responsible for causing pneumonia are found in the respiratory tract of healthy cattle and stress or a greater pathogen load – such as exposure to sick calves – can easily trigger disease. “In addition, you constantly get re-infections with pneumonia outbreaks, so it’s well worth talking to your vet about the value of treating the whole batch when a number of animals are obviously affected.
“For example, trials with Nuflor have demonstrated the benefit of batch treatment of calves in a pen once at least 20% of the animals exhibit disease symptoms. Nuflor was significantly more efficacious than a control in preventing the spread of pneumonia in healthy calves exposed to infected animals,” she says.
“Pneumonia bacteria numbers can double every 30 minutes and in 24 hours, one bacterium can multiply to billions. Batch treatment kills the bacteria before they have time to multiply, release toxins and cause the permanent lung damage that depresses performance.”
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