Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) Pneumonia

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
  • Stress
  • Mixing age groups
  • Handling
  • Housing
  • Transport

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?

Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) > Pneumonia

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.