Housing is fast approaching and it’s that time of year that we nag you about pneumonia, the biggest cause of dead cattle and lost productivity during the housed period, by far. Over recent years there has certainly been an increase in pneumonia vaccine use but it is still not yet the majority of people vaccinating, which is certainly something we’d like to change.
Vaccination has a key role in preventing losses due to pneumonia and minimising production loss through poor feed conversion.
Obvious cases of clinical pneumonia may be quickly treated but often they have caused irreparable damage to the lungs. The vast majority of infections we will not even see but they cause lung damage and this damage will be reducing the calf’s ability to turn food into flesh, which is exactly what we want them to be doing during housing. A calf can only afford to lose 40% of total lung capacity before it is potentially non-viable and forever stunted, which roughly correlates to two separate bouts of pneumonia (depending on severity). We have the ability to vaccinate for 6/8 common pneumonia pathogens so although not providing full protection, we can cover most bases and try to eliminate the problem on farm, produce the best calves you ever have and reduce that feed bill.
There is subsidised blood sampling, testing last years’ calves, to show what pneumonia pathogens they’ve been exposed to. This gives us a good idea of what is common on your farm to guide vaccine choice. We recommend anyone not already vaccinating to take advantage of this, even if they don’t perceive that they have a problem.
This blood sampling could also tie in nicely with the BVD ‘Stamp it Out’ scheme, which is a national initiative to try to eliminate BVD from England, is also part-subsidised and an excellent way of screening your herd for BVD.
Jon will be running meetings for both Pneumonia and BVD ‘Stamp it Out’ in October, so please come along if you may be interested. Contact the office to book your place on 01491 651479 or firstname.lastname@example.org .