Higher pneumonia risk in mild weather
MILD January weather could see pneumonia cases persist, so continue to watch calves and treat them promptly, advises Andrew Cobner of Penbode Vet Group, Holsworthy, Devon.
Without the traditional cold snap in January pneumonia could rise above an acceptable level. "Every time a calf is affected there is some lung damage, some of which is permanent," he says.
Most producers accept a level of disease, and even the best naturally ventilated building has high humidity in mild, wet conditions. Normally, cold weather in January helps pneumonia incidence decrease, explains Mr Cobner.
There is no one solution to solving a pneumonia problem. He advises looking at individual buildings with your vet and improving ventilation by removing roof ridges and increasing space boarding where needed.
Stocking density is also important. It is often set for a whole winter, but should be reduced when possible, he adds.
"Stock can be vaccinated against some types of pneumonia, but when buildings are overstocked you will often be disappointed with results." Animals can still succumb to other strains of pneumonia.
He also advises avoiding disbudding, castration and weaning concurrently, as it can stress calves, increasing susceptibility to disease. *