Calf and heifer pneumonia management tools.
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Steps help prevent calf and heifer pneumonia

September 19, 2013
POSTED BY: Greg Edwards | DVM | Managing Veterinarian | Dairy Technical Services | Zoetis

Is there a missing link in your calf and heifer pneumonia management program? There are several steps for pneumonia management. Having one without the other can compromise overall dairy wellness and future productivity.

  • Step 1 — Feed adequate colostrum. Pneumonia resistance requires strong immunity. This starts with feeding at least 4 quarts of high-quality colostrum within two hours of birth. An excellent colostrum-feeding program is the cornerstone of healthy calf rearing.
  • Step 2 — Vaccinate to help prevent pneumonia. Work with your veterinarian to set up a vaccination program for your young calves. Ask him or her about introducing an intranasal vaccine, such as INFORCE 3 respiratory vaccine, that helps protect against three major viral pathogens that cause pneumonia in dairy calves — bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV), infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR) virus and parainfluenza 3 (PI3) virus. Vaccines are an important part of helping the immune system fight off bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
  • Step 3 — Set up control protocols. Create protocols that facilitate early detection. Work with your veterinarian to set up an antibiotic control protocol to curb pneumonia infections. Calves need a little extra help during high-risk situations, such as seasonal weather changes, overcrowding or moving to group housing.
  • Step 4 — Manage the environment. Limit calves’ exposure to surface and airborne pathogens. Keep hutches and pens clean and freshly bedded. Make sure calves have plenty of fresh outside air.

Don’t let a missing link come between calf and heifer health and your bottom line. Work with your veterinarian to evaluate your calf and heifer management program to ensure you are doing everything to improve the health and lifetime productivity of your calves.

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