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Drinking Water and Calf Health?

16 March 2017

My interest in drinking water follows on from the increased level of pneumonia this autumn, presumably due to the wide fluctuations in temperature.  My thought process was –

  • Wide fluctuations in temperature could result in calves needed to drink more water on hot days.
  • If drinking water was not available they could suffer mild dehydration and make them more susceptible to diseases and in particular pneumonia.

It was interesting to be sent an American paper by Hackermann et al (2010 Vet Clin North Am Food Pract 26 215).  This clearly states “It is well known that dehydration causes increased viscosity of the respiratory secretions.  The inner layer of the respiratory air-surface liquid is reduced resulting in increased mucinous material which can allow increased colonisation of bacterial pathogens and accumulation of inhaled particular matter due to reduced mucociliary function.“

This is another reason for ensuring calves always have clean drinking water, particularly with the increasing pressure to reduce the use of antibiotics.

Basil Lowman,


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