Our very first VMC Calf School was a great success earlier this month. We had good attendance and I truly enjoyed interacting with producers in a continuing education setting.

We had quite a few group discussions on different aspects of calf health, but one that stuck with me was our Mycoplasma bovis discussion. Mycoplasma is a tough bug to understand, so I figured I would recap the basics here.

Mycoplasma bovis is a bacteria, but it is unique because it lacks a cell wall. Without a cell wall, it is unaffected by many common antibiotics that target the cell wall, making it difficult to effectively treat.

Mycoplasma bovis is considered a commensal bacteria, which means it naturally occurs within the upper respiratory tract. It only causes trouble once it goes where it does not belong, such as into the lungs, ear canal, udder, or joints. Common symptoms of a Mycoplasma bovis infection include: pneumonia with multiple small abscesses, joint and ear infections, and mastitis in cows.

Prevention for Mycoplasma bovis is similar to other respiratory pathogens. We must find the balance between increasing the immune system in the calf while decreasing the pathogen exposure. Some of these methods include: vaccination, reduction of stressors, reduction of overwhelming load, and proper ventilation management.

We would love to further discuss ways to control and prevent Mycoplasma bovis in your operation, just give us a call!

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