Farm Ireland

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Know which viral pneumonia you are dealing with in the herd

Peadar Scanaill

VirAL pneumonia is the biggest single problem in young beef stock once they've moved beyond four to six weeks of age.

Viral pneumonia can affect young and old, and can have devastating losses on any single farm. Three main viruses are found in any pneumonia outbreak, namely:

1. IBR (Infectious Rhino-tracheitis)

2. RSV (Rhino Syncithial Virus)

3. PI3 (Para-influenza type 3 virus)

Stress plays an important role in the onset and spread of these diseases. Good vaccines are available to give excellent protection against an outbreak, but care should be taken at all times to minimise the spread.

IBR requires some special attention in the case of pedigree beef herds. This is because pedigree breeders will wish to sell their stock as breeding animals, and may have young offspring going forward to the performance testing stations.

Blood tests will be taken on those animals to check for IBR status. Any evidence of IBR in those blood tests could exclude the animal for sale, or for export to Northern Ireland or Britain. It will also prevent their entry to the performance test stations as an IBR outbreak will cause such stations to close.

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Therefore, vaccination against IBR should only be done under the direct advice of your vet in such pedigree herds. Any mistakes or misuse of such vaccines can have a long-term devastating financial effect.

• Vaccination against the common viruses that cause virus pneumonia is quite effective by using modern vaccines available here.

• Your own vet can take nasal swabs and blood samples to help decide which vaccine is most required on your farm.

• Antibiotics are of no use to treat a virus. They are only effective against bacteria and their repeated use will lead to multiple-resistant bacteria on your farm. Avoid the use of antibiotics wherever possible. Every effort should be made to minimise their use to those animals that truly need them. Always consult before you use them.

• Keeping animals outdoors and stress-free is hugely helpful in minimising viral pneumonia problems.

• Beware of early hoose problems in young grazing cattle. Hoose pneumonia and viral pneumonia are easily confused. It can be difficult to distinguish between the two even though the treatment and prevention of both is completely different.

Indo Farming