Pneumonia in Weanlings

It is that time of year again when farmers are buying in weanlings or thinking of weaning their own.


Pneumonia in weanlings is caused by three main viruses, namely /BR, RSV and Pi3. When an animal contracts one or more of these viruses their immune system gets a knock, elevated temperatures are seen and a clear nasal discharge. Quiet often with the immune system being lowered a bacterial form of pneumonia sets in with the animal have a yellow nasal discharge, high temperature, dull and panting. If left untreated a lot of animals die and those that survive have lower live weight gains for the rest of their lives.

As always prevention is better than cure. I will try to offer a few simple points that will go a long way to helping reduce the amount of pneumonia in your weanlings this winter.

  • Vaccination is a great way of boosting your animal’s immunity prior to the risk periods. There are a few options available depending on whether you rear your own calves or you buy in. Feel free to drop in or ring to ask which is the best option for you.
  • Don’t wean all your calves together. A good way to wean is to pull a few cows away from the bunch every week over a few weeks and their calves don’t seem to get as stressed with this method.
  • Ensure calves have a low lung worm burden prior to weaning as a clean set of lungs will be less likely to get pneumonia.
  • Meal feeding, however small is great before weaning as the calf will be used to it prior to housing.
  • If dehorning or castrating has to be done do it while the calves are still on their mothers as it will be less stressful on them. Obviously, this only applies to the suckler farmer.
  • Try to house calves in the groups that they were in outdoors as mixing calves leads to stress.
  • House animals in a well ventilated shed free from drafts. Ground drafts are very dangerous so block up any areas under doors beside where animals will be lying. It is also important to block up agitation points to prevent wind blowing down into tanks and coming up under cattle when they lie down.
  • It is all about keeping the cattle as stress free as possible, boosting their immune system, having their worm burden low and their diet right. I hope these few pointers will help in some way to keep your animals healthy this winter.


Call us on 093 36501 if you wish to pre order vaccines and we can have them ready for you to collect/ notify you when they are delivered.

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