27th August 2020 - Page 20

NOVEMBER 23 2017
NADIS Health Bulletin November 2017
for Northern Ireland
Richard Beattie Autumn Bull Sale
Respiratory Disease in Calves
Respiratory disease in calves is an interaction between:
• Various infectious agents (whether bacterial, viral or both)
• Environment (poorly ventilated buildings, overcrowding)
• Immunity (vaccination status)
Viral Causes
The important viral causes of respiratory disease in calves are:
• Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR)
• Bovine respiratory syncytial virus (BRSV)
• Parainfluenza-3 virus
• Bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVD) may be involved in some herds.
Bacterial Causes
The important bacterial causes of respiratory disease are:
• Mannheimia haemolytica • Pasteurella multocida.
• Haemophilus somni • Mycoplasma bovis
The first two organisms are often still collectively termed “pasteurellae” and
the disease “pasteurellosis”.
Economic implications
Respiratory disease is estimated to cost the UK cattle industry more than
£60 million annually.
• Financial losses result from antibiotic treatment and labour costs
• £50 for mild cases to £800 when the animal dies
• Weight loss during illness can affect a large proportion of the group
Clinical signs
Clinical signs during an outbreak of respiratory disease in a group of calves
can be very variable but the first cattle affected often show the most severe
signs. The clinical signs include:
• Elevated rectal temperature (above 39.6∞C)
• Increased respiratory rate
• Increased respiratory effort
• Frequent coughing
• Muco-purulent ocular/nasal discharge
• Lethargy • Not eating • Lying down more than usual
Elevated rectal temperature is the most reliable clinical feature of
respiratory disease in calves and may detect disease 24 hours before onset
of more severe clinical signs. In an outbreak rectal temperatures should be
taken at least once daily and if feasible twice daily.
Most outbreaks of respiratory disease occur within one
month of housing with autumn-born calves generally more
severely affected
PAPERWORK: Michael Loughran, Cookstown, checking his paperwork watched by Paul, 10,
Michael Jnr, 15, and his dad Francis at the Richard Beattie Lisahally Livestock Mart autumn bull sale.
Disease caused by infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus
Diagnosis of viral infection may involve:
• Ocular and nasal swabs,
• Collection of lung fluid (broncho-alveolar lavage)
• Collection of blood samples two weeks apart.
• Post mortem examination is only useful in cases of sudden death
Antibiotic treatment.
The choice of antibiotic, and possible non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug
treatment is based upon:
• Veterinary advice and knowledge of previous outbreaks of respiratory
disease on the unit.
Recurrence of bacterial infections is common (up to 25 per cent) often
necessitating repeat antibiotic treatments 5-14 days later. This situation is
caused by re-infection of the physically damaged respiratory tract. While
antibiotic treatment of the whole group of calves is practised in some
situations this often results in 2- 4-fold increase in treatment costs because
up 25 to 75% of the calves are injected unnecessarily because they would
not have succumbed to disease.
There are a number of vaccines to control respiratory disease and veterinary
advice should be sought for the most appropriate prevention strategy as part
of your veterinary health plan.
Control of respiratory disease is likely to be best achieved by attention to all
of the following:
• General husbandry practices especially the ventilation system
• Correctly-timed administration of vaccines.
• Reducing stocking density,
• Stressful events such as disbudding, dehorning and castration are best
undertaken before housing or delayed until calves have been housed for
at least six weeks.
Main points of building design:
• Air enters below the eaves and exits at the ridge (natural or stack effect
whereby spent warm air rises to the ridge out to be replaced by fresh air
drawn in from below the eaves)
• Minimum of 6 air changes per hour on a still day
Air should appear fresh and free of ammonia or slurry smells when you
walk through the shed especially during still winter nights
• The ridge opening should be 300 mm (minimum) with a cap at least 150
mm above
• Buildings should not exceed 20 m width. Multispan buildings should be
• Minimum airspace allowances 10 cubic metres for calves up to 90 kgs
• Upturned corrugated sheeting on roof with a 25 mm gap
• Spaced boarding all round building including gable ends (Netlon
polypropylene mesh also popular)
• Ensure adequate drainage to prevent high humidity. Condensation
on underside of roof and cobwebs over outlets are indicators of poor
Disease caused by bovine respiratory syncytial virus
Bovine virus diarrhoea virus (BVD) may be involved in
some herd outbreaks of respiratory disease
Respiratory disease is also a major animal welfare concern
Visual assessment for
signs of respiratory
disease, such a cough,
nasal discharge
and depression are
unreliable and fail
to detect all diseased
cattle. Elevated rectal
temperature is the most
reliable clinical feature
of respiratory disease
and detects disease
Post mortem examination is only useful in cases of sudden
death (in this case BRSV infection)
Copyright© NADIS 2017
To see the full range of NADIS Livestock health bulletin please visit: www.nadis.org.uk
NADIS is sponsored by AHDB Beef and Lamb, QMS and Merial Animal Health
NADIS seeks to ensure that the information contained within this document is accurate at the time of printing. However, subject to the operation
of law NADIS accepts no liability for loss, damage or injury howsoever caused or suffered directly or indirectly in relation to information
and opinions contained in or omitted from this document.
BVA warns the
effects of Brexit
starting to be felt
NCERTAINTY over the future
licensing and supply of veterinary
medicines for Northern Ireland,
Great Britain and the Republic
of Ireland is a pressing concern
as the UK plans to leave the EU, agreed
Veterinary Ireland and the British Veterinary
Association (BVA) in a Brexit coordination
meeting in Belfast recently.
Currently, European legislation regulates
the way veterinary medicines are authorised,
marketed and used.
Post-Brexit, access to veterinary medicines
could potentially be restricted and, in order
to protect animal and public health, BVA
has been calling on the Government to
guarantee that the UK veterinary profession
has ongoing access to all existing and future
veterinary medicines licensed through the
EU regulatory systems and existing import
certificate mechanisms.
The UK’s exit from the EU veterinary
medicines approval system means the
market for English-language labelling and
data information will shrink, which could
have a knock-on effect for those EU countries,
including the Republic, that heavily rely on
licensing and packaging with the UK.
President, said: “This is a big problem. If
Brexit prompts EU medicine manufacturers
to decide that English-language packaging
and information-leaflets aren’t commercially
viable then what is the Republic of Ireland
going to do – start producing medicines
“It is vital that Brexit negotiations ensure
ongoing access to all existing and new
veterinary medicines licensed through the EU
and other regulatory systems so that it does
not lead to interrupted supply difficulties
for any existing stakeholders. This could
seriously put at risk animal health, welfare
and food safety.”
BVA’s Brexit and the Veterinary Profession
report, which was developed using the
experience and expertise of BVA members,
specialist divisions and representatives
from Northern Ireland and the other
devolved regions of the UK, outlines how
pharmaceutical companies are less likely to
be willing to fund separate applications to
both the European Medicines Agency (EMA)
and the UK.
BVA is recommending that any new
regulatory model should seek to maintain
a link between the licensing system to be
introduced in the UK and the current EU
veterinary medicine approval systems.
BVA Junior Vice President Simon Doherty,
who chaired the meeting, said: “For animal
health and welfare, public health and food
safety and trade, the veterinary profession in
Great Britain and across the island of Ireland
must continue to have access to medicines for
the treatment of animals that meet standards
that ensure safety, quality and efficacy.
“Continued cooperation, like this, with
our colleagues in the Republic of Ireland
is vital to ensure the strong cross-border
relationships, the integrated North-South
structures and daily movements of people,
livestock and pets can continue for the
benefit of animal health and welfare.”
Another priority issue discussed by
Veterinary Ireland, BVA and BVA Northern
Ireland Branch Officers was the Common
Travel Area, which pre-dates the EU and
enables an estimated 30,000 movements of
people, livestock and pets each day.
The veterinary organisations will be
encouraging their respective governments
to consult on how best to ensure trade
and professional services, including the
veterinary practices and services that
straddle the border, can continue post-Brexit
without disruption.
Other Brexit challenges and opportunities
that were discussed included: workforce
and migration, disease eradication and
Veterinary Ireland and BVA committed to
continue their cooperation, particularly
regarding Brexit, both bilaterally and through
joint working and action taken through the
Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE).


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