January 13, 2017
Calves affected by pneumonia during the first 90 days of life are more likely to experience an increased age at first calving, a higher incidence of dystocia and greater mortality before first calving, according to information from Zoetis.
“Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is far too common on dairies,” said Greg Edwards, managing veterinarian, Dairy Technical Services, Zoetis. “Detecting respiratory disease symptoms early in a calf’s life can help prevent chronic infections and lead to better future lifetime productivity.”
As for producers looking for the right signs to know if a calf has contracted BRD, both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Davis offer scoring systems to help determine whether calves are showing clinical signs of respiratory disease, which could include eye discharge, nasal discharge, ear droop, head tilt, cough, increased breathing rate, elevated temperature, slow or reduced or zero milk intake during feeding, being slow to rise at feeding time and being slow to lie down after eating.
Producers can use either scoring system to record their calves’ symptoms on a daily basis to help determine which animals are sick. Early detection and treatment with an antibiotic approved for use in calves may reduce the risk of treatment failure to help get their health back on track, Zoetis said.
Take the opportunity to head off the disease before it affects long-term wellness by identifying animals at high risk, such as those experiencing:
* Seasonal temperature change;
* Introduction to new animals, and
Research shows that controlling BRD during high-risk times can improve dairy heifer growth and performance.
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