Reduce the pneumonia risk this autumn.

Article from Farmers Guardian by Katie Jones

Recent figures suggest pneumonia is the UK cattle industry’s most expensive disease, costing an estimated £50 million per year in treatment, loss of performance and mortality. 

Autumn is a high risk period for pneumonia on many farms, due to weaning stress and decreasing temperatures, often coupled with housing and diet transitions, according to advice from Poppy Frater, Eblex livestock scientist.


“Research shows when 30 per cent of a group of cattle is showing physical signs of the disease, a further 40 per cent can be suffering lower growth rates and poorer feed conversion efficiency without visible signs of infection.

“Pneumonia causes inflammation of the lung tissue and airways, which may be irreversible in severe cases. It is caused by many interacting factors, rather than a simple introduction of one bacteria or virus into a group of animals.

“Often, calves become infected with a virus first, followed by a secondary bacterial infection. When the virus and/or bacteria gets past the immune defences of the animal, pneumonia develops.”

Miss Frater says management to maximise immune capability by reducing stress and limiting exposure to disease agents, coupled with vaccination when necessary, will reduce risk.

She adds vaccination may be a useful part of a pneumonia prevention strategy, but it is not a stand-alone measure.

“When animals are vaccinated during times of stress, or management is poor, then the vaccine is less likely to prevent disease. A vaccination protocol should be developed in consultation with the farm vet.”




16th October 2013

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