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Beware of Summer Pneumonia

26 June 2019

Generally this time of year (mid-summer) is a time when suckler farmers relax a little. The stress of calving is over and cows and calves are out at grass however the recent spell of warm and wet weather coupled with the significant temperature differentials between day and night has seen a number of farmers across the country reporting cases summer pneumonia amongst calves.

Keeping a watchful eye on calves while out at grass or away at summer grazing to give the best chance of early intervention. The changeable wet and muggy weather with humid temperatures since turn out to grass is no doubt stressful for young calves, with stress being one of the key factors influencing a calf’s immunity and therefore its susceptibility to pneumonia. Be aware that these changeable weather conditions open the door for the primary pathogens that cause summer pneumonia and calves can succumb to the disease quickly.

Keeping a consistent, watchful eye on calves while out at grass or away at summer grazing will give the best chance to pick up on the symptoms early and prevent the disease becoming an issue.

Clinical signs of summer pneumonia to look out for include;

  • Droppy ears
  • Sluggish behaviour – generally not as active
  • Not keeping up with the rest of herd – staying behind or lying away from the rest of the herd
  • Extended neck
  • Rapid, quickened breathing
  • Discharge from the nose

Sarah Balfour

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