Ring, Ring…Doc my calves have pneumonia? What should I treat them with?

What in the world is pneumonia and are all cases of pneumonia the same? Pneumonia just means in an inflammation of the lung. It gives no indication of what caused the inflammation or how severe it is. Hold on to your coffee, here is a list of possible viruses and bacteria that can cause pneumonia:

  • BVD
  • BRSV
  • IBR
  • PI3
  • Coronavirus
  • Pasteurella
  • Mannheimia
  • Histophilus
  • Mycoplasma
  • Salmonella
  • Alien Invasion

Other than alien invasion, we have diagnosed pneumonia caused by all the other items on the list. When a calf or cows gets a high temperature and breathes hard, we grab a bottle of our favorite antibiotic to treat it. Remember, antibiotics only kill some of the bacteria, the calf has to have a functional immune system to beat the infection. That is why poor body condition, stressed calves response poorly to treatment. Vaccines help the calf fight off infections but they need to be given before the calf is exposed to get good results. The bottom line of this article is that all cases of pneumonia are not the same. We can help you get better pneumonia prevention and treatment results when we know vaccination history, cattle mixing timing, environmental factors, other stressors, and symptoms (including the temperature) of sick calves. If you have pneumonia rates higher than 5%, call us so we can start to unravel the mystery of pneumonia causes and risk factors on your farm.

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