Poor housing is a prime infection risk
WHEN cows are calving indoors and calves spend the first few weeks of their lives housed there can be problems. The common causes of pneumonia are virus's bacteria, while lungworm is to blame in older calves at pasture. The common viruses I isolate are RSV, PI3, IBR and usually I see secondary bacterial infections compounding the problem.
I would always assess the calves' immunity, look for the agent causing the problem and then carefully assess housing. More strategic control can be achieved by getting or ascertaining the cause of the pneumonia quickly by nasal swabbing .
I'd like to focus on the importance of housing in contributing to pneumonia problems in calves. Where I see herd issues with pneumonia it usually is where ventilation or housing is the main problem.
Obviously you will have infectious agents causing the problem, but we will see much more severe clinical signs and more rapid spread where there is poor housing.
Vaccination for viral pneumonia can play a huge part in controlling disease but will only work best if husbandry is correct as well. Vaccination alone works well if calf housing/nutrition is not contributing to the problem.
It doesn't have to mean building new sheds but maybe altering existing housing set up to reduce the exposure or stress that may be on calves.
Where you have poor ventilation and build up of ammonia and gases in your sheds, this can lead to big problems around respiratory disease.