The total UK calf population is 3.3 million and of these 30% get pneumonia (1million) each year; mortality varies from 3-50% (average ~5% or 157,000 calves a year).
Economic studies highlight the cost to national herd estimated of approximately £80 million; there are welfare costs too.
Three Rivers Veterinary Group pneumonia control program:
- Reducing the risk of disease by quality advice regarding housing and environment solutions.
- Good biosecurity and health planning.
- Advice re vaccination programs.
- Reduction of the necessity for on farm treatment
- Reduction in antibiotic usage.
- Achieving high quality farm assurance standards.
Environmental factors involved in calf pneumonia:
- Poor ventilation
- High humidity
- Mixing age groups
The ‘calf factors’ in pneumonia incidence are:
- Poor colostral intake
- Nutritional status
- Concurrent disease
- Lung capacity
The viruses invoved are:
- Para-influenza 3 (PI)
- Respiratory Syncytial virus (RSV)
- Infectious Rhinotracheitis (IBR)
- Bovine Viral Diarrhoea Virus (BVDV)
The bacteria involved are:
- Pasturella multocida
- Histophilus somnus
- Mycoplasma Bovis
How do all these factors work together?
What are the common housing problems?
- Lack of high level outlet for waste air.
- Inadequate inlet areas for fresh air.
- Shared airspace with older animals (who may carry the disease).
- Low heat production from calves at low stocking levels.
- High moisture levels (humidity above 70% is at a critical level for calves).
- Poor design or location of mechanical ventilation.
Good ventilation is vital for the following reasons:
- Removal of excess water vapour.
- Removal of excess heat.
- Removal of micro-organisms, dust and gases.
- Provision of uniform distribution of air.
- Provision of correct air speed for stock.